Tag Archives: Game Recap

Week 3 Recap: Greetings from the Penthouse!

An undefeated week in the books…and currently first in the Eastern Conference, with a brief few minutes as first in the league.  Offense galore, a few fisticuffs, and some good plays all mixed in.  It’s a happy recap this week!

10/21 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 4-0 W

A rare Tuesday night start, as the Devils welcomed the Penguins to Albany for the first time since 2012 (both home matchups were in Atlantic City last season).  After a chippy first period that saw more fights (2) than goals (0), Albany would get on the board in the second.  Mike Sislo would score on an early power play for a 1-0 advantage.  He would come through again later in the period, on another man advantage, to double the lead.  Things would remain quiet till late in the third, when a Tim Sestito empty netter would seal the win, then the main event broke out as two fights went off simultaneously, costing one Devil a game (more on that in a minute).  Reid Boucher would add his first goal of the season just after everything settled down, just for good measure.  Keith Kinkaid would stop all 22 Penguin shots in picking up his first shutout of the season and 10th of his career, tying for the Albany/Lowell Devil franchise lead with Jeff Frazee.  Four Devils would each contribute one assist.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Kelly Zajac-Mike Sislo-Reid Boucher

Rod Pelley-Tim Sestito-Steve Bernier

Darcy Zajac-Ben Thomson-Cam Janssen

Extras: Chris McKelvie, Stefan Matteau, Ben Johnson, Graham Black, David Wohlberg, Myles Bell

Defense Pairings:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Seth Helgeson/Peter Harrold

Extras: Reece Scarlett, Joe Faust

Wednesday: For his role in a late third period fight and earning an instigator minor as a result, Darcy Zajac was suspended one game by the AHL and sat out Friday night’s game in Hartford.

Friday: The first of the extra players has found a home, as forward Myles Bell was reassigned to Evansville of the ECHL.  He had yet to crack the lineup, but did appear during the preseason.  The Devils remain the only team in the AHL without an official ECHL affiliation.

10/24 at Hartford: 7-3 W

It was back east to Connecticut on Friday evening as the Devils started a home and home set with the Wolfpack.  Ben Johnson and David Wohlberg would make their season debuts, filling in for Cam Janssen (injured) and Darcy Zajac (suspended).  Rookie Ben Thomson would score his first as a professional (originally credited to Dan Kelly; he would get the primary assist later) 5 minutes in for a 1-0 lead.  Marek Hrivik would quickly tie the game with a shorthanded tally.  Paul Thompson would break the tie with his league leading 7th goal (also originally credited to Kelly, who would still get a primary assist out of it), only to see Chris Bourque re-tie it over a minute later.  Joe Whitney would finally get into the goal column in the second with a power play goal to break the tie yet again.  Third period would see the Devils near completely take over the game.  Thomson would score his second of the game to double the lead.  Scott Timmins would follow just over five minutes later for a 5-2 lead.  With Corbin McPherson serving a double minor, J.T. Miller would bring Hartford back to within two with a power play goal of his own.  But during the same penalty Mike Sislo would score his third shorthanded for a 6-3 lead, chasing Wolfpack goaltender Jason Missiaen (already following Lundquist’s lead, I see) in favor of rookie Mackenzie Skapski.  Sislo would score his second on an empty netter late to finish off the 7-3 win and give the Wolfpack their first regulation loss.  Keith Kinkaid stopped 27 of 30 shots in picking up his third win.  Four Devils had one assist each, while Kelly and Hrabarenka each finished a +4.  Peter Harrold, Timmins and Thompson were all at +3.

Highlights:

Lines:

Paul Thompson-Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins

Kelly Zajac-Reid Boucher-Mike Sislo

Steve Bernier-Tim Sestito-Ben Johnson

David Wohlberg-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Extras: Stefan Matteau, Cam Janssen, Chris McKelvie, Darcy Zajac, Graham Black

Defense Pairings:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Corbin McPherson/Brandon Burlon

Seth Helgeson/Peter Harrold

Extras: Reece Scarlett, Joe Faust

10/25 vs. Hartford: 5-2 W

It was back on home ice to finish off the two game series with the Wolfpack.  Scott Wedgewood would get the nod between the pipes, while Jason Missiaen would get a second chance at redemption after being pulled the night before.  Chris McKelvie would make his season debut, while Darcy Zajac returned after serving his sentence.  Unlike the night before, it was Hartford who got going first.  The other Bourque, Ryan, would get the visitors on the board midway through the first.  Joe Whitney would score his second of the season late in the period to tie it up.  But just as quickly, Conor Allen would give Hartford the lead right back.  The Devils would take over in the second and never look back.  Darcy Zajac would score his first of the season on a beautiful shorthanded break from center ice to tie the game at 2.  Just over a minute later, Scott Timmins would score his third to give the home team the lead.  Raman Hrabarenka would score on a power play early in the third for a 4-2 lead.  Rod Pelley would score an empty netter with less than a minute remaining to cap Albany’s fourth win in a row.  Wedgewood had a strong day in net, stopping 26 of 28 shots in picking up his second win (and a #2 star of the game).  Brandon Burlon contributed two helpers.

Highlights:

Lines:

Rod Pelley-Tim Sestito-Steve Bernier

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Kelly Zajac-Reid Boucher-Mike Sislo

Darcy Zajac-Ben Thomson-Chris McKelvie

Extras: Stefan Matteau, Cam Janssen, Graham Black, David Wohlberg, Ben Johnson

Defense Pairings:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Peter Harrold

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extras: Reece Scarlett, Joe Faust

Pop Quiz: With Tuesday’s blanking of the Penguins, Keith Kinkaid tied a franchise record with his 10th career shutout.  He also owns the Albany AHL mark, going back to the River Rats days.  Who is second on the list?  Stay tuned for the answer.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

I had a few nominees to choose from.  Unfortunately no video has surfaced yet of any of them.  You disappoint me, Internet.

My Player of the Week:

Lot of great individual performances this week, but I’m giving the nod to Mike Sislo and his four goals (in three different situations) in two games.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (7)

Assists: Joe Whitney (6)

Points: 3 tied with 8

+/-: Raman Hrabarenka (+8)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (27)

Wins: Keith Kinkaid (3)

GAA: Keith Kinkaid (1.95)

Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.933)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 1 game played, 0 points, 0 PIM, 5 SOG

Injury Report: Cam Janssen (indefinitely, upper body, possibly shoulder), Stefan Matteau (lower body; no word on timetable)

This Week’s Schedule:

The homestand continues with three more games on tap.  Wednesday Springfield visits for the first time this season.  Saturday sees a return visit from Bridgeport.  The weekend finishes with a Sunday afternoon visit from Portland.

Pop Quiz Answer: Peter Sidorkiewicz had 8 shutouts during his River Rats career, all coming over a three season stretch between 1995-96 and 1997-98 (he appeared in 15 games during the Rats inaugural 1993-94 season without recording a shutout).

 

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Week 2 Recap: A Sound Split

A little of everything this week for the Devils…seesaw battles on both sides, a sour ending, but then an exciting finish for a 1-0-0-1 record.

10/17 at Bridgeport: 5-4 L (SO)

Friday the Devils traveled south to start a weekend home and home series against an opponent they will be seeing quite a bit of during the first half of the season, the Sound Tigers.  And things got started in a hurry, as Steve Bernier scored just 21 seconds into the game for a quick 1-0 lead.  Johan Sundstrom would tie the game up just as the period was coming to a close.  Scott Timmins would take the lead back just 1:34 into the second period with his first goal of the season.  Bridgeport would answer with a power play goal by Anders Lee 34 seconds later.  Raman Hrabarenka would steal the lead back again with his first of the year 15 seconds later.  Of course the Sound Tigers would answer again with another tying goal 6 minutes later.  Hrabarenka would respond again with his second of the day on a power play late in the second for a 4-3 Devils game.  But in the third, Griffin Reinhart, in his first game with Bridgeport since being sent down by the Islanders, would tie the game again with his first goal.  It was on to overtime and the first chance to see the new OT rules in actual game action.  Both teams started out 4 on 4, but just before the whistle to signal the start of 3 on 3 action, Paul Thompson would get called for goaltender interference, creating a 4-on-3 advantage for Bridgeport.  The Devils survived the kill and made it to the new 3 round shootout.  Mike Sislo would score in the first round, but Reid Boucher and Thompson were both denied.  Keith Kinkaid would only stop 1 of 3 Sound Tiger shooters to give the hosts the extra point, something that looked improbable during regulation.  The Devils blew leads of 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, and 4-3, survived overtime, but could not come up big in the shootout (sound familiar?).  Kinkaid finished with 29 saves (against 33 shots).  Five Devils would contribute assists.

Sound Tigers TV has the highlight reel.

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Kelly Zajac-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Tim Sestito-Steve Bernier

Ben Thomson-Darcy Zajac-Cam Janssen

Extra: Rod Pelley, Chris McKelvie, Ben Johnson, Graham Black, David Wohlberg

Defense Pairings:

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Brandon Burlon/Peter Harrold

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Extra: Reece Scarlett, Joe Faust

10/18 vs. Bridgeport: 3-2 W

For the first time since round 1 of the playoffs back in late April, it was back on home ice as the Devils tried to put the defeat the night before behind them.  Scooter Vaughan would give Bridgeport the lead with under 6 minutes to go in the first period.  But like the night before, the home team would respond shortly thereafter.  Paul Thompson would score his fifth 2 minutes later to tie things up at 1.  John Persson would give the Sound Tigers the 2-1 lead early in the third, but less than two minutes later, a Ben Thomson shot deflected into the Bridgeport net to tie the game at 2.  Who actually got credit for the goal?  Cam Janssen, who much like his stint in New Jersey last season, just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  It was his first AHL goal since March 2013.  As the end of regulation neared, Joe Whitney was sent to the box on a very questionable cross checking call, causing the Devils to be shorthanded through the end of the third.  But Thompson would come to the rescue, stealing the puck, broke away shorthanded, and scored his second of the night with just 44 seconds remaining in regulation to give Albany the win in their 2014-15 home debut.  Scott Wedgewood played well in his first start of the season, picking up the win and stopping 24 of 26 shots.  Four Devils each had an assist.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Rod Pelley-Tim Sestito-Steve Bernier

Reid Boucher-Mike Sislo-Kelly Zajac

Cam Janssen-Darcy Zajac-Ben Thomson

Extra: Stefan Matteau, Chris McKelvie, Ben Johnson, Graham Black, David Wohlberg, Myles Bell

Defense Pairings:

Raman Hrabarenka/Dan Kelly

Peter Harrold/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Brandon Burlon, Joe Faust

Pop Quiz: Who was the last A-Devil to win a game with an overtime goal?  Stay tuned for the answer.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

You could say Ben Thomson had a memorable pro debut Friday night…

My Player of the Week:

Seriously, where would this team be without Paul Thompson right now?  I had said the first day of training camp that him, Joe Whitney, and Scott Timmins on one line was a good idea.  Honorable mention to Raman Hrabarenka for a 2 goal, 2 assist week.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (6)

Assists: Joe Whitney (4)

Points: Paul Thompson (7)

+/-: Seth Helgeson (+4)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (17)

Wins: Keith Kinkaid/Scott Wedgewood (1)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (2.00)

Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.926)

This Week’s Schedule:

Three games on tap this week.  Tuesday night the Devils host Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Penguins first visit to the Capital Region since the 2012-13 season (both home games last season were in Atlantic City).  Friday and Saturday is a home and home–and the first 2 of 10 matchups–against Hartford, Friday night in Connecticut and back on home ice Saturday afternoon.

Pop Quiz Answer: Joe Whitney was the last A-Devil to win a game in overtime.  It happened way back on January 6, 2012, in Norfolk against the Admirals.

 

 

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Week 1 Recap: Holy First Impressions!

Now this is how you start a season!

10/11 at Adirondack: 5-1 W

Chapter 3 of the Albany-Adirondack rivalry (well, not so much as the early Rats-Wings days of the mid 90s) kicked off Saturday night in Glens Falls as the Devils opened the season against the Flames, coming off a rough loss in Rochester the night before to start their first season in the North Country.  The newest Devil, Paul Thompson, scored the first goal of the season 7 minutes into the first for a 1-0 lead.  And he was just getting started.  Thompson scored a power play tally early in the second period to double the lead.  Brett Kulak would cut the Devils lead down to 1 with a power play goal of his own.  But in the third, Thompson would not only complete the hat trick, he would add a fourth goal for good measure just 3:47 apart to put the game away for the visitors.  Stefan Matteau would add his first goal of the year with just over 4 minutes to go to seal the win.  Keith Kinkaid earned his first win in net, stopping 34 of 35 shots.  Joe Whitney would assist on 3 of Thompson’s goals, while four other Devils contributed assists.

Highlights:

Lines:

I was not on hand for the game, but from what I could see in the highlights and box score this is what I was able to piece together (those on hand can correct me):

Paul Thompson-Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins

Reid Boucher-Graham Black-Mike Sislo

Rod Pelley-Stefan Matteau-Steve Bernier

Tim Sestito-Darcy Zajac-Cam Janssen

Extra: Chris McKelvie, Kelly Zajac, David Wohlberg, Ben Thomson, Ben Johnson

Defense Pairings:

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Peter Harrold

Extra: Reece Scarlett, Joe Faust

Pop Quiz: Who was the last A-Devil before Paul Thompson to score 4 goals in a game?  Answer at the end of this post.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

No gloves dropped or faces punched last night.

My Player of the Week:

Scoring 4 goals in your debut makes it a slam dunk decision.  Who else but Paul Thompson?

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (4)

Assists: Joe Whitney (3)

Points: Paul Thompson (4)

+/-: Paul Thompson (+3)

Penalty Minutes: 3 tied with 2

Wins: Keith Kinkaid (1)

GAA: Keith Kinkaid (1.00)

Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.971)

Notes:

-For the second straight season, Rod Pelley is the captain.  Tim Sestito and Mike Sislo sported the A’s.  Not sure if the assistant captains are all games or if there is a rotating home/away assignment.

This Week’s Schedule:

A home and home series with Bridgeport awaits.  Friday night the Devils make their first of 5 visits to southern Connecticut.  Saturday it’s back on home ice for the first time since the playoff run at the end of April.

And the Photo Gallery returns next Sunday!

Pop Quiz Answer: Prior to last night, Bobby Butler was the last A-Devil to score four goals in a game, accomplishing the feat on December 12, 2012, in a 6-3 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Times Union Center.

 

 

 

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14/15 Preseason Recap

After opening camp on Monday, the Devils had two chances to prepare for the season, both on the road in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.  With a cast of mostly last year’s regulars and a few new faces, it went well, as they finished 1-1.  And there may be more faces to come, making for some tough decisions before the season begins on the 11th.

Wednesday 10/1 at Hartford (Cromwell, CT): 3-1 L

The first test came on Wednesday night against division rival Hartford, a team Albany will be seeing 10 times during the regular season.  Maxime Clermont got the start in net, and all but 5 of last season’s regulars made the trip.  The game remained scoreless till late in the second period, when a Paul Thompson penalty shot put the visitors ahead 1-0.  But not even 20 seconds later, Andrew Yogan would tie things up.  After a chippy start to the third (4 fights broke out in the first 5 minutes of the period),  Michael St. Croix would break the tie for the hosts midway through for a 2-1 advantage.  Nick Crawford would add an empty netter late to seal the win.  Clermont played well despite the loss, stopping 19 of 21 shots.

Lines (from what I was able to tell):

David Wohlberg-Kelly Zajac-Myles Bell

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Mike Sislo-Ben Thomson-Graham Black

Darcy Zajac-Alexandre Carrier-Tom Hartnett

Defense:

Reece Scarlett/Renat Mamashev

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Joe Faust

Saturday: Before the last preseason games for both Albany and the parent Devils, New Jersey announced that goaltender Keith Kinkaid, defenseman Seth Helgeson, and forwards Reid Boucher and Stefan Matteau were sent down.  Tuesday afternoon is the deadline for NHL rosters to be set, so there are more on their way.

10/4 at Lehigh Valley: 2-1 W

It was off to Allentown for the final tuneup, as the Devils paid a visit to their former North Country rivals the Phantoms.  Scott Wedgewood got the start in net, with a near similar lineup in front of him.  Raman Hrabarenka scored late in the first on a power play to give Albany a 1-0 lead.  Graham Black would add a power play goal of his own early in the third for a 2-0 advantage.  Kevin Goumas would break up Wedgewood’s shutout bid halfway through the period to cut the lead in half.  But the Devils would hang on the rest of the way to earn the win.  Wedgewood stopped 28 of 29 shots, while Brandon Burlon (after surviving a fight with Lehigh Valley’s Zack Stortini in the first) would pick up 2 assists.

Going by Phantoms radio, I wasn’t able to put together lines or defense pairings.  But here’s who did get in:

Forwards: Myles Bell, Graham Black, Alexandre Carrier, Tom Hartnett, Rod Pelley, Tim Sestito, Mike Sislo, Ben Thomson, Paul Thompson, Joe Whitney, David Wohlberg, Darcy Zajac

Defense: Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust, Renat Mamashev, Corbin McPherson, Reece Scarlett

I have a brief album of photos from Wednesday’s game over on the Facebook page.  The regular photo gallery entries will return in two weeks.

This Week’s Schedule:

All that’s left is the final round of cuts from New Jersey, who gets sent to the ECHL (no official affiliate, so it’s wait and see as to where anyone will go), and the annual kick off party on Wednesday evening (where I get my season ticket package).  Then Saturday things start for real in Glens Falls.

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Playoffs Recap, Week 2: The Final Act

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.  Sadly this week, that came true for Albany, who saw their first round series with the IceCaps go off the tracks once they reached Canada, only managing one goal in their final two games.  On with the final recap of the season:

Game 3: St. John’s 1, Albany 0

The series shifted to Newfoundland on Wednesday night, where a sold out whiteout was in effect.   The Icecaps dominated in shots during the first period, outshooting the Devils 17-6.  But Keith Kinkaid was up to the challenge, making quite a few big stops early on.  But off a Darcy Zajac turnover, Kael Mouillerat would breakaway and score with 2:10 left in the period for a 1-0 lead.  And that goal would stand up for goaltender Michael Hutchinson, as he only had to stop 8 Devil shots in the second period.  Third period Albany would outshoot St. John’s 10-5, but with still nothing getting past Hutchinson, it was too little too late.  Hutchinson would stop all 24 Albany shots, and the Devils found themselves in a 2-1 series hole.  Kinkaid was outstanding in net, stopping 34 of 35 shots.  The penalty kill was a little busy thanks to 3 minors in a span of 8 minutes from Jon Merrill, among others, but managed to go 6 for 6.

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Scott Timmins-Harri Pesonen

Mattias Tedenby-Kelly Zajac-Stefan Matteau

Darcy Zajac-Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley

Extra: Cam Janssen, Mike Hoeffel, David Wohlberg, Cam Janssen, Graham Black, Ben Johnson

Defense Pairings:

Jon Merrill/Alexander Urbom

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Eric Gelinas/Adam Larsson

Extra: Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Reece Scarlett, Dan Kelly (inj.)

Game 4: St. John’s 4, Albany 1

Throw in all the must win cliches you want and they all would describe the Devils situation going into Friday night’s Game 4.  Unlike the night before, Albany outshot the hosts 12-6 in the first period.  But it was former River Rat killer Andrew Gordon (who was a key cog in sweeping the River Rats in their last ever playoff series while with Hershey) who got the IceCaps on the board 3:47 into the first.  He would then add a shorthanded goal 8 minutes into the second for a 2-0 lead.  Jon Merrill would answer less than 2 minutes later with a goal of his own, cutting the lead to 2-1.  But that was all the offense the Devils could muster.  Gordon would singlehandedly put the nail in the proverbial coffin by completing the hat trick on a power play late in the second for a 3-1 advantage.   John Albert would add a goal to make it a 3 goal lead.  And Michael Hutchinson took care of the rest, stopping 39 of 40 Devil shots on the night, and in turn ending the Devils season with a 3-1 series win.  Keith Kinkaid stopped 29 of 33 shots, but had no help offensively over the last two games.  Eric Gelinas was the only Devil to finish above even in plus/minus, but he was forced to leave in the second due to injury.

Lines:

Stefan Matteau-Kelly Zajac-Mattias Tedenby

Harri Pesonen-Scott Timmins-Reid Boucher

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac

Mike Sislo-Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito

Extra: Cam Janssen, David Wohlberg, Mike Hoeffel, Ben Johnson, Graham Black

Defense Pairings:

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Jon Merrill/Alexander Urbom

Eric Gelinas/Adam Larsson

Extra: Dan Kelly (inj), Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Reece Scarlett

Around the League:

Upset specials all over the Eastern Conference, as all 3 division champions are out. The top 4 seeds in the West all advance.

East: (1) Manchester eliminated by (8) Norfolk 3-1

(2) Springfield eliminated by (7) Providence 3-2

(3) Binghamton eliminated by (6) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3-1

West: (1) Texas sweeps (8) Oklahoma City 3-0

(2) Chicago eliminates (7) Rochester 3-2

(3) Toronto sweeps (6) Milwaukee 3-0

(4) Grand Rapids eliminates (5) Abbotsford 3-1

The second round gets underway tomorrow in St. John’s.  To think, if Albany had made it out of the first round, they would have been the top seed remaining in the East and have home ice.  Oh what could have been…

Playoff Stat Leaders:

Goals: Six tied with 1

Assists: Kelly Zajac (2)

Points: 4 tied with 2

+/-: 3 tied with +1

Penalty Minutes: Jon Merrill (10)

Keith Kinkaid final stats: 1-3, 2.26 GAA, .932 Save Percentage

Orlando Update:

Unfortunately for the Solar Bears, they saw their season come to an end Tuesday night on home ice against Cincinnati, falling in Game 6 2-1 and losing their first round series 4 games to 2.  Maxime Clermont did not play in the final game due to injury.  He finishes his season with a combined 11-12-2 record and a 3.35 GAA , and 1-2 with a 2.03 GAA and one shutout in 3 appearances in the postseason.

What’s Next?

The season may be over, but I have some unfinished business: the other two parts of my season review.  Look for those later this week.

I will also be bringing back the Free Agent Tracker in July and recapping this year’s NHL Draft class.

And keeping up to date with signings, schedule hints, and any other newsworthy items as the summer goes on.

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Playoffs Recap, Week 1: Heartbreak and a Split

For the first time in 4 years, I finally got to experience playoff hockey without having to drive 2+ hours away and live vicariously through other teams.

And if the last two days are any indication, I want to do this for, oh, three more rounds, if possible.

Looking back at the beginning of a very intense first two games between the Devils and St. John’s, which ended in a split as the best of five shifts way north this week:

Game 1: St. John’s 2, Albany 1

The series began Friday night on home ice, but it was the visitors who drew the first strike.  Eric O’Dell would put the IceCaps up 1-0 4:29 into the first period.  Albany would respond early in the second on a power play goal by Joe Whitney to tie things up at 1.  It then turned into an offensive struggle as both teams locked in defensively and the intensity grew as the game carried into the third.  And not to mention quite a few questionable calls from the referees (which is standard for Chris Brown, but more so now in the postseason).  Just as all 6500 in the building were expecting the battle to carry over into overtime, Keith Kinkaid would misplay the puck by the net and Ben Chiarot would score with just 23.1 seconds left in the third period, giving St. John’s the win and a 1-0 series lead.  Kinkaid stopped 30 of 32 shots in the loss.  Jon Merrill and Mike Sislo had the lone assists.

Lines:

Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac-David Wohlberg

Scott Timmins-Reid Boucher-Harri Pesonen

Joe Whitney-Mike Sislo-Tim Sestito

Kelly Zajac-Mattias Tedenby-Stefan Matteau

Extra: Chris McKelvie, Cam Janssen, Mike Hoeffel, Ben Johnson, Graham Black

Defense Pairings:

Dan Kelly/Adam Larsson

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Eric Gelinas/Jon Merrill

Extra: Alexander Urbom, Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Reece Scarlett

Game 2: Albany 4, St. John’s 2

It was a quick turnaround for the Devils in Game 2, as they faced a virtual must win situation.  Much like in Game 1, it was the IceCaps who got the early lead, this time from Brenden Kichton 10 minutes into the first period.  But Reid Boucher would answer a minute later with his first postseason goal to tie the game at 1.  Stefan Matteau would then give Albany their first lead of the series with a power play goal late in the period for a 2-1 advantage.  Kichton would tie the game at 2 on a power play goal early in the second.  But less than 3 minutes later Mattias Tedenby would give the Devils the lead for good with a power play goal of his own.  Scott Timmins would add an insurance power play marker halfway through the third to seal the win for Albany, and in the process tying the series up at 1 apiece.  Keith Kinkaid got the start again and stopped 30 of 32 shots (that sounds like a pattern) and picked up #1 star honors.  Kelly Zajac added two assists.  And the power play finished at 3-for-9 (and there could have been more power play opportunities but the refs missed a few yet again).

Lines:

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Mattias Tedenby-Kelly Zajac

Scott Timmins-Harri Pesonen-Reid Boucher

Extra: Cam Janssen, Mike Hoeffel, David Wohlberg, Ben Johnson, Graham Black

Defense Pairings:

Adam Larsson/Eric Gelinas

Alexander Urbom/Jon Merrill

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Brandon Burlon, Dan Kelly, Raman Hrabarenka, Reece Scarlett

Around the League:

So how are the rest of the conference quarterfinals going?  Here’s a quick update:

East: (1) Manchester-(8) Norfolk: tied at 1

(2) Springfield-(7) Providence: Springfield leads 2-1

(3) Binghamton-(6) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: tied at 1

West: (1) Texas-(8) Oklahoma City: Texas leads 2-0

(2) Chicago-(7) Rochester: tied at 1

(3) Toronto-(6) Milwaukee: Toronto leads 2-0

(4) Grand Rapids-(5) Abbotsford: Grand Rapids leads 2-0

We could have our first team heading to the semifinals as early as Tuesday.

Orlando Update:

The Solar Bears are not done yet.  After falling 3-0 in their Kelly Cup Eastern Conference quarterfinal series vs. Cincinnati, they have won their last two to send the series back to Florida for Game 6 on Tuesday night.  Maxime Clermont played a huge role in extending the series by shutting out the Cyclones 2-0 on Friday evening, stopping all 25 shots.  He did not play in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win.

This Week’s Schedule:

The series shifts 1600 miles to the northeast to Newfoundland.  Game 3 comes on Wednesday night at the always sold out Mile One Centre, with a 6 PM EST start (reminder: NST is 1 and a half hours ahead).  Game 4 follows on Friday evening, and if needed Game 5 on Saturday.  I will not be around for Game 3 due to work, but will have tweets for Game 4 and if needed, Game 5.

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Not Done Yet.

Hard to believe that we have reached the end of the regular season in the AHL.

But the good news for the Devils is…it’s not over yet.

For the first time since 2010, a Albany/Devil team will be playing in the postseason for a chance at the Calder Cup.  And it was a clean sweep for the second straight week to boot.  Here we go with another happy recap of the week:

Tuesday: Per the AHL transactions, Curtis Gedig was released from his amateur tryout contract.  He joined Albany on April 4th, but never appeared in a game.

Wednesday: It appears the Devils will be looking for another ECHL team to assign players next season, as Elmira became the new affiliate for Buffalo and Rochester.

4/16 at Portland: 3-2 W (SO)

The last road game of the regular season saw the Devils in Lewiston, taking on the Pirates with a playoff berth awaiting them with a win.  After a scoreless first, Portland struck early in the second period–23 seconds in–on a Greg Carey goal.  Reid Boucher would answer with his 22nd about 6 minutes later.  Dan Kelly would put Albany ahead late in the period with his 3rd.  But Portland would tie it up with just under 13 minutes left in the third on a power play goal by Lucas Lessio.  The game would carry over into overtime, where Albany would manage the only two shots on goal.  It was on to the 15th shootout of the season, where Mattias Tedenby and Boucher missed in the first two rounds, and Jordan Szwarz would connect in the 2nd to put Portland up 1-0.  In the third round, Keith Kinkaid would stop Andy Miele, then Stefan Matteau would score to tie it up.  Kinkaid stopped Brandon Yip in the 4th round, then Mike Sislo, in his first appearance since March 30th, would connect for a 2-1 lead.  All Kinkaid had to do was stop Carey in the 5th…and he was successful, officially clinching a playoff spot for the Devils, the first since the River Rats in 2010 when Carolina was the parent club.  Kinkaid stopped 20 of 22 saves in regulation/overtime in picking up the win.  Kelly Zajac added two assists.

Note: I was not around to watch online, so no idea how lines/defensive pairings went.

4/19 vs. Springfield: 5-2 W

One game to go, and it was all about the positioning, as the Devils played host to the Falcons.  Win and they finish no lower than 6th.  Lose, and possibly slip into the 8th spot.  David Wohlberg made sure the second scenario wasn’t a possibility, as he scored just seven seconds into the game on former Devil goaltender Mike McKenna for a 1-0 lead.  Scott Timmins would add his 13th goal 8 minutes later for a two goal lead.  Joe Whitney and Brandon Burlon would score 1:18 apart in the second for a 4-0 Devil lead, chasing McKenna in favor of rookie Anton Forsberg.  And the goaltender switch seemed to help Springfield at first, as they would cut the lead in half on goals by Jake Hansen and Darryl Boyce in the third.  But then they would pull Forsberg rather early, and Harri Pesonen would take advantage and score his 15th to put the Devils back up by 3.  Scott Wedgewood would stop 20 of 22 in getting the win, the Devils fifth in a row to close out the regular season.  Ben Johnson would notch his first professional point via an assist on Pesonen’s goal.  Four other Devils each had assists as well.  And all this was despite having half the regulars/NHL callups out of the lineup resting.

Lines:

Darcy Zajac-Stefan Matteau-David Wohlberg

Mike Sislo-Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito

Reid Boucher-Scott Timmins-Harri Pesonen

Cam Janssen-Ben Johnson-Graham Black

Extra: Chris McKelvie, Mike Hoeffel, Rod Pelley, Mattias Tedenby, Kelly Zajac

Defense Pairings:

Brandon Burlon/Dan Kelly

Alexander Urbom/Reece Scarlett

Raman Hrabarenka/Eric Gelinas

Extra: Seth Helgeson, Adam Larsson, Jon Merrill, Corbin McPherson, Joe Faust

Conference Standings:

When the smoke finally cleared on Saturday night, the final results:

1. Manchester–105 points (won Atlantic Division)

2. Springfield–100 (won Northeast Division)

3. Binghamton–96 (won East Division)

4. St. John’s–99

5. ALBANY–93

6. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton–92

7. Providence–91

8. Norfolk–90

That means, Albany will be taking on St. John’s in the first round.  More info on that to come.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

No gloves dropped or faces punched this week.

My Player of the Week:

You know what?  For such a great run in the regular season, let’s reward everyone!  And I really couldn’t pick just one who stood out in both games this week.

Team Leaders:

I’ll have final stats in Part 1 of the Season in Review, details to come on that.

Orlando Update:

The Solar Bears dropped Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup to Cincinnati 4-2 in Florida.  Maxime Clermont drew the start and stopped 22 of 26 in the loss.  Game 2 is Sunday evening, then it’s off to Ohio for Games 3-5 on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

This Week’s Schedule:

Hot off the presses, the first round schedule is out: The series opens in Albany on Friday evening, followed by Game 2 on Saturday.  Games 3-5 will be played in St. John’s on Wednesday, April 30th, Friday, May 2nd, and Saturday, May 3rd (Friday and Saturday if needed).

As far as coverage goes for me blogwise: Monday I will have Part 1 of the Season Review, with all final regular season stats.  No individual pregamers, since it’s the same opponent.  I will have a full stat pack for the series by Friday afternoon, the plan is for a noontime release.  I will do the same for any rounds the Devils make after that.  There will be a recap of Games 1 and 2 next Sunday, and a photo gallery as well.

Twitter wise: I will definitely be on hand for Game 1.  Saturday may be a little tricky, as I am going to Yankee Stadium (yay free tickets in the terrace level!) for a 1 PM game.  I plan on coming straight to the arena when I get home, which if all goes well I’ll miss mostly the first period.  Game 3 I won’t be around due to work obligations, but Games 4 and 5 I will do if they are needed.

With that all said…time to start the journey to the Cup!

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