Tag Archives: Road Trip

Week 15 Recap: Shutout to Soul Crushing

The Devil week started out very promising, then…everything came crashing down, so to speak.  A 3 point out of 6 week, depending on the schedule and/or the opponent, can either be positive or…so much more.  The latter would fit this week.

1/13 vs. Rochester: 4-0 W

Seth Helgeson

Seth Helgeson

The week began with a visit from Rochester…and former Calder Cup winning goaltender Robin Lehner, down from Buffalo on a conditioning stint.  And it was the most unlikeliest of players who got the home team on the board first…on a deflection in front, what looked like a goal from Corey Tropp was actually credited to Pierre-Luc Leblond, who scored his first in over a calendar year for the 1-0 lead.  Matt Lorito would double the lead with his 9th late in the second period.  Then Albany would put the game away in the third, as Brian O’Neill (3rd) and Reid Boucher (14th on a power play) would score 6:17 apart.  And Scott Wedgewood would take care of the rest, as he stopped all 19 Amerk shots to pick up his first shutout of the season and his fifth straight win, and Albany picked up their 11th straight win on home ice.  Mike Sislo added two assists, while O’Neill and three other Devils each had helpers.

Celebrating 11 in a row!

Celebrating 11 in a row!

The Lineup:

Brian O’Neill-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Corey Tropp-Graham Black-Reid Boucher

Chris McKelvie-Ryan Kujawinski-Blake Pietila

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Raman Hrabarenka/Corbin McPherson

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Brandon Burlon, Blake Coleman, Max Novak

Power Play: 1 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 9.  Shots on Goal: 39.  Shots Allowed: 19.

Highlights:

Thursday: Good news for Albany’s roster crunch, as Paul Thompson was sent down to make room for Tuomo Ruutu’s return from injured reserve.  In his first NHL stint, he appeared in 3 games without getting a point.

Friday: More roster maneuvering: Jim O’Brien and Marc Andre Gragnani were sent down, but in their place Reid Boucher and Brian O’Neill were recalled, joining the parent club in Arizona.  O’Brien and Gragnani appeared in 4 games each, but with no points.

1/15 at Providence: 5-2 L

With a depleted forward corps, it was due east to Providence to take on the Bruins, who came into the night with a 9 game home winning streak of their own.  Seth Helgeson would get the visitors on the board first with his second goal of the season in the first.  Chris Casto would tie things up during the second.  Early in the third, Noel Acciari’s 5th goal early in the third would put the Bruins ahead 2-1, but 27 seconds later Matt Lorito’s 10th goal of the season would quickly re-tie the game.  Then late in the period Providence would shift it into high gear…on the Devils second too many men call of the game, Alexander Khokhlachev would score on the ensuing power play to break the tie.  Just over a minute later, he would assist on a Brandon DeFazio goal for a 2 goal cushion.  And to finish it off, an empty netter by Seth Griffith with one minute remaining, handing the Devils their first regulation loss of 2016, snapping their point streak at 8.  Yann Danis stopped 34 of 38 shots.  Lorito and three other Devils each had assists.

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Corey Tropp

Ryan Kujawinski-Graham Black-Paul Thompson

Chris McKelvie-Blake Pietila-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Raman Hrabarenka/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Brandon Burlon, Blake Coleman, Jim O’Brien, Marc Andre Gragnani

Power Play: 0 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 15.  Shots on Goal: 33.  Shots Allowed: 39.

Highlights: Video here via AHL Live.

1/16 at Utica: 1-0 L (OT)

Raman Hrabarenka

Raman Hrabarenka

To finish off the week, it was back to Utica for the second time in 17 days, as the Devils looked to extend their all time winning streak against the Comets.  And from the beginning, it appeared Utica did not want to see that happen.  It took Albany a majority of the first period to even get one shot on goal, while the Comets peppered Scott Wedgewood with 17 of them.  But no one was able to score.  In the second period, more of the same…Devils did manage to get six shots while Wedgewood stopped all 10 he saw in the middle 20.  A repeat of the same in the third…only six more Devil shots (when they actually could manage to get in the offensive zone that is), while Wedgewood was practically standing on his head in stopping all 13 Comet chances.  Even with a 3 on 3 overtime, early on neither side could break through.  But finally, with 1:55 standing between the Devils and their possible first shootout of the season…heartbreak for Wedgewood, as the Comets 44th shot of the game off the stick of Carter Bancks made it in, earning Utica the OT win and breaking the winless curse after 10 all time meetings.  Wedgewood deserved so much better in stopping a career high 43 shots, but the rest of the team had nothing to show for it.  The Devils actually had more penalty minutes (18) than shots (14), but special teams did manage to kill off all 6 Utica power plays.

Marc Andre Gragnani

Marc Andre Gragnani

The Lineup:

Jim O’Brien-Ryan Kujawinski-Corey Tropp

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Max Novak-Graham Black-Blake Pietila

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Chris McKelvie

Dan Kelly/Corbin McPherson

Marc Andre Gragnani/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Brandon Burlon, Blake Coleman, Reece Scarlett, Pierre Luc Leblond

Power Play: 0 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 6 for 6.  Penalty Minutes: 18.  Shots on Goal: 14.  Shots Allowed: 44.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

Scott Wedgewood is the obvious choice this week…63 saves on 64 shots over two games, including his first shutout of the season and seemingly being the only player to show up Saturday night.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (16)

Assists: Matt Lorito (23)

Points: Matt Lorito (33)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+20)

Penalty Minutes: 2 tied with 60

Wins: Yann Danis (16)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.53)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.944)

The Vault:

Before he was a Devil…Chris McKelvie was a fighting Whale.

Up North with the Thunder:

A good week for Adirondack as they picked up back to back shutout victories over Norfolk on Tuesday and Reading on Saturday.  Greg Wolfe picked up an assist in Tuesday’s 1-0 win.  Ken Appleby stopped all 36 Royal shots on Saturday to pick up his 13th win and 3rd shutout of the season.  Joe Faust scored his second goal of the season on a power play while Wolfe added another assist.  The Thunder hit the road for four of their next five, starting in Elmira on Sunday afternoon before heading to Reading on Monday.  After a home game Friday with Manchester, they then head to New Hampshire for an additional two game set with the Monarchs on Saturday and Sunday.

This Week’s Schedule:

Good news for Albany…it’s the beginning of a 5 game homestand.  On Wednesday Hartford finally makes their first visit of the season.  Then St. John’s comes in for a two game set on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

Also coming up this week…the halfway point of the schedule. Look for a first half numbers wrapup on Thursday.

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The Weekly Primer, Issue 15

Quick Hits:

The Devils begin the week with a 22-8-4-0 mark, 48 points and a .706 percentage.  They remain in second place in the North Division, 12 points and .083 percentage points behind first place Toronto.

It was quite the week for Mike Sislo: Monday and Wednesday, he was playing in New Jersey.  Thursday, he was named an AHL All Star.  Friday, he was reassigned to Albany and scored twice, adding an assist for good measure.  Saturday, another goal and two assists.  All of that was worthy enough for AHL Player of the Week honors on Monday, the first Devil to win the award this season.

Injury front: It appears Blake Coleman (shoulder) is done for longer than expected, as he tweeted Tuesday he is having surgery.

Wednesday, 1/13 vs. Rochester

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Tied at 1.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 17-16-2-1, 37 points, .514 pct, 6th place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: 2 players tied with 23 points; Nathan  Lieuwen, 9-6-1, 2.97 GAA; Andrey Makarov, 6-7-2, 3.09 GAA; Robin Lehner, 1-1-0, 3.04 GAA

Notes: Robin Lehner, on a conditioning assignment from Buffalo, is expected to make his third start tonight; the Amerks finished 2-1 over a 3 in 3 last weekend, defeating Hershey and Binghamton before losing to Syracuse at home Sunday afternoon; team captain Cal O’ Reilly is Rochester’s lone All Star representative; the Amerks will face the Senators in a home and home series this weekend before hosting Syracuse Monday afternoon.

Listen: AHL Live, Fox Sports 1280

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @AmerksHockey

Friday, 1/15 at Providence

Where: Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, RI.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Devils lead 2-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 16-15-5-1, 38 points, .514 pct, 5th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: 2 tied with 31 points; Malcolm Subban, 10-8-3, 2.65 GAA; Zane McIntyre, 6-6-3, 2.93 GAA

Notes: The Bruins have won their last 9 on home ice, dating back to December 4th against Portland; Providence is riding an overall 4 game winning streak into the weekend; the team is just .1% ahead of Albany for the overall power play lead (24.6%); forward Seth Griffith, the AHL Player of the Month for December, is the lone Bruin going to the AHL All Star Classic.

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @AHLBruins

Saturday, 1/16 at Utica

Where: Utica Memorial Auditorium, Utica, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 3-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 16-15-3-2, 37 points, .514 pct, 5th place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Hunter Shinkaruk, 27 points (15 G, 12 A); 2 tied with 19 points; Richard Bachman, 6-6-2, 2.54 GAA; Joe Cannata, 9-8-2, 2.67 GAA

Notes: The Comets have dropped six straight, its only standings point coming on December 30th, an overtime loss in Albany; they will host Toronto on Wednesday and travel west to Syracuse on Friday; forward Hunter Shinkaruk is the lone All Star representative; the Devils are 9-0 all time against the Comets.

Listen: AHL Live, WKLL 94.9 FM

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @UticaComets, @CometsInGame

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Week 13 Recap: New Year, Same Dominance

The calendar may have turned over to a new year, but it’s the same story for the Devils…another perfect week in the books!

12/30 vs. Utica: 3-2 W (OT)

Rod Pelley

Rod Pelley

For the last home game of 2015, the Devils played host to the Comets, who came into the night on a 8 game road winning streak…meanwhile Albany had won their last seven in a row on home ice, so…something had to give.

Reece Scarlett would get the hosts on the board early in the first period with his first goal of the season.  But the Comets would tie it up later in the period on a power play goal by Blair Jones, a rare misstep for the #1 penalty kill in the league.  But the Devils would take the lead back early in the second on Jim O’Brien’s 5th of the season.  Things would calm down offensively after that (but things would get physical on quite a few occasions), and going into the third, Albany appeared to be back to their old defensive selves, only allowing the Comets one third period shot through most of the last twenty minutes.  But on their second shot…it would find its way from the stick of Hunter Shinkaruk to behind Yann Danis and into the net, tying the game at 2 with 5:24 remaining in regulation.  The game would go into overtime (earning Utica its first ever point against Albany in 8 tries), and O’Brien would send everyone home happy just 58 seconds into the extra frame with his second goal of the evening.

Danis would pick up win #15 with another outstanding effort, stopping 24 of 26 shots and picking up #2 star honors.  And it was yet another balanced offensive attack, as five different Devils would contribute assists.

Jim O'Brien

Jim O’Brien

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Joe Blandisi-Corey Tropp

Paul Thompson-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Chris McKelvie-Graham Black-Reid Boucher

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Seth Helgeson, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Blake Pietila, Ryan Kujawinski, Raman Hrabarenka

Power Play: 0 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 13.  Shots on Goal: 26.  Shots Allowed: 26.

Highlights:

12/31 at Utica: 4-1 W

Scott Wedgewood

Scott Wedgewood

To finish off the 2015 calendar year, the Devils headed west on the Thruway to finish off a home and home with the Comets.  Utica got off to the early 1-0 lead on their third power play of the first (yes, third…it was that kind of start) period, but Jim O’Brien would tie things up shortly thereafter with his third goal in two days.  Second period the Devils would take over the contest and not look back…Reid Boucher would break the tie with 4 and a half minutes left in the second with his 11th goal of the season.  Graham Black’s second of the year would provide a much needed insurance cushion with 7 and a half minutes to go in the third, then finally Paul Thompson would put the exclamation point on a third straight win with an empty netter.  The win also extended the Devils all time winning streak against Utica to 9 games.  Scott Wedgewood drew the starting assignment and played well, stopping 24 of 25 shots in picking up his third win.  Thompson and 4 other Devils would each have helpers.  The game also marked the return of Raman Hrabarenka to the lineup for the first time since he was hurt November 13th in Providence.

Brian O'Neill

Brian O’Neill

The Lineup:

Paul Thompson-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Matt Lorito-Joe Blandisi-Corey Tropp

Chris McKelvie-Graham Black-Reid Boucher

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Reece Scarlett/Raman Hrabarenka

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Seth Helgeson, Blake Coleman, Marc Andre Gragnani, Blake Pietila, Ryan Kujawinski, Max Novak

Highlights:

1/2 at Hartford: 4-3 W

Typical Devils-Rangers.

Typical Devils-Rangers.

The Devils started off the 2016 portion of the schedule with their second trip east of the season to Hartford to take on the Wolfpack.  Albany found themselves in a 2-0 hole midway through the first period after Pierre-Luc Leblond was called for a double minor due to a high stick.  Chad Nehring and Ryan Bourque would score 1:21 apart, showing a rare misstep for the penalty killing corps.  But it didn’t take long for the Devils to begin their rally…Matt Lorito would score on the power play three minutes later to cut the lead in half.  Reid Boucher would tie it up late in the second period with his 12th goal of the season.  It looked like Albany would put the game away during the first half of the third period after Corey Tropp (on a power play) and Lorito would score within 3:23 of each other for a 4-2 advantage…but the Wolfpack would cut the lead to one goal with 7:17 to go in regulation.  After a flurry of activity and a late Devil power play, Albany would hold on for a come from behind 4th straight win.  Scott Wedgewood survived a shaky first period and picked up his third straight win, stopping 30 of 33 shots.  Joe Blandisi would add two assists, while Boucher and 5 others each had helpers.  After finishing the first period down 19-5 in shots, the Devils would outshoot Hartford 26-14 over the final forty minutes.

A 4th straight happy celebration...

A 4th straight happy celebration…

The Lineup:

Paul Thompson-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Matt Lorito-Joe Blandisi-Corey Tropp

Chris McKelvie-Graham Black-Reid Boucher

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Seth Helgeson, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Blake Pietila, Ryan Kujawinski, Raman Hrabarenka

Power Play: 2 for 5.  Penalty Kill: 1 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 32.  Shots Allowed: 33.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

There were several quality candidates for this week’s honor but…Jim O’Brien and his 3 goal/4 point week get the nod.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Reid Boucher (12)

Assists: Matt Lorito (18)

Points: Matt Lorito (25)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+17)

Penalty Minutes: Pierre-Luc Leblond (58)

Wins: Yann Danis (15)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.87)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.926)

The Vault:

Early in the 2009-10 season, Martin Brodeur’s backup would beat the Bruins 2-1.  Here’s his postgame interview:

Up North with the Thunder:

It’s been an up and down week for the boys in Adirondack, as they went 2-2 over a busy week.  Tuesday they dropped a 3-1 decision to Greenville at home, then defeated Reading in a shootout on New Years Eve.  They started off 2016 by being shut out 5-0 to the Royals in Pennsylvania on Saturday before returning the favor Sunday afternoon 3-2.  Ken Appleby went 1-1, winning the shootout on Thursday (26/27 saves) and taking the loss on Saturday (26/31).  He is now 11-7-1-1 with a 2.41 GAA and a .916 save percentage.  Joe Faust and Alexandre Carrier appeared in all 4 games and were both scoreless (Carrier did have a fighting major on Sunday), while Ben Johnson appeared in just two games before sitting out the road trip in Reading.  Greg Wolfe notched a goal and an assist in 4 appearances.  On tap this week: the start of a 5 game homestand, as Adirondack hosts Manchester on Wednesday and a two game set against South Carolina Friday and Saturday night.

This Week’s Schedule:

It’s the first 3 in 3 weekend of 2016, but it’s a relatively easy one travel wise.  Friday night Albany hosts the Crunch for the third time in a month.  Saturday afternoon Lehigh Valley comes in for their only visit of the season.  Then it’s back east to Hartford on Sunday afternoon to take on the Wolfpack for the second time in 8 days.

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The Weekly Primer, Issue 13

Quick Hits:

-The Devils begin the week with a 17-8-3-0 mark, good for 37 points and a .661 percentage.  They remain in second place in the North Division, tied in points with St. John’s (but with two less games) and 13 points behind first place Toronto (who have 4 games in hand).

-With Binghamton defeating Lehigh Valley in a shootout on Tuesday night at home, Albany is the last AHL team standing that has yet to reach the bonus round this season.  And with that I probably just jinxed it.

-Injury report: Blake Coleman (shoulder), Raman Hrabarenka (lower), Seth Helgeson (shoulder), and Max Novak (hand) remain out.  Blake Pietila and Ryan Kujawinski are day to day.

-Just in to the newsroom: Mike Sislo was recalled to New Jersey after Jacob Josefson was placed on injured reserve.

Wednesday & Thursday, 12/30 & 12/31 vs. Utica

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY (Wednesday); Utica Memorial Auditorium, Utica, NY (Thursday)

When: 7:00 PM (Wednesday); 5:00 PM (Thursday)

Season Series: Albany leads 1-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 16-10-2-2, 36 points, .600 percentage, 4th place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Hunter Shinkaruk, 24 points (12 G, 12 A); Alexandre Grenier, 18 points (6 G, 12 A); Brendan Gaunce, 17 points (9 G, 8 A); Richard Bachman, 6-4-1, 2.19 GAA; Clay Witt, 0-1-0, 6.00 GAA

Notes: Utica returned from the Christmas break with a pair of wins over Rochester and Syracuse; the Comets have 4 regulars, including 3 defensemen, on recall to Vancouver, prompting them to sign AHL vet Danny Syvret to a PTO on December 18th; Utica is 7-0-0-1 in their last 8 road contests; the Comets have sold out every home game so far this season; Albany has yet to lose to Utica since the Comets joined the league prior to the 2013-14 season (7-0).

Listen: AHL Live, WKLL 94.9 FM

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @UticaComets, @CometsInGame, @CometsArmy

Saturday, 1/2 @ Hartford

Where: XL Center, Hartford, CT.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 1-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 14-16-2-0, 30 points, .469 pct, 6th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Chad Nehring, 20 points (10 G, 10 A); Jayson Megna, 17 points (7 G, 10 A); Brian Gibbons, 16 points (5 G, 11 A); Magnus Hellberg, 8-9-2, 2.71 GAA; Mackenzie Skapski, 2-6-0, 3.51 GAA; Jeff Malcolm, 4-1-0, 1.86 GAA

Notes: Hartford is on a modest 2 game winning streak after a shutout win in Rochester Sunday and a win over Portland at home Tuesday; the matchup marks the beginning of a 5 game homestand for the Wolfpack, which ends with a second visit from the Devils on January 10th; 31 players have appeared in at least one game for Hartford so far this season; the Wolfpack are last in the league in power play (10.4 percent).

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @wolfpackahl

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Week 10 Recap: No Crazy Eights

As the old saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” Alas, the wonderful winning streak the Devils put together could not pass seven.

12/11 vs. Syracuse: 3-1 W

Jim O'Brien returns...

Jim O’Brien returns…

The homestand wrapped up on Friday night, as Albany welcomed the Crunch for the second time in 5 days.  After a relatively drama free first period (except for near the end), the Devils got on the board in a big way in the second.  Jim O’Brien, in his first game back since Halloween, managed to score twice in a span of :28 for a 2-0 Albany lead.  Then, a rare misstep by the Devils special teams, ranked #1 in the entire league…just 15 seconds after Seth Helgeson took a seat in the penalty box, the Crunch would cut the lead in half on a Jeff Tambellini goal.  But Albany would shut things down after that, only allowing 3 shots in the third period and Brandon Burlon would add an insurance goal, sealing the Devils 7th straight win, a new Albany/Lowell franchise record.  Scott Wedgewood finally made his season debut and hardly had to break a sweat, stopping 17 of 18 shots and picking up the win.  Corey Tropp added three primary assists, while Reid Boucher added two helpers.

...and Graham Black too.

…and Graham Black too.

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Max Novak-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Jim O’Brien-Corey Tropp

Blake Pietila-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Marc Andre Gragnani

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Blake Coleman, Paul Thompson, Chris McKelvie, Reece Scarlett, Raman Hrabarenka, Greg Wolfe

Power Play:  0 for 3. Penalty Kill 2 for 3. Penalty Minutes: 13.  Shots on Goal: 27. Shots Allowed: 18.

Scott Wedgewood your post game interview.

Scott Wedgewood your post game interview.

Highlights:

12/12 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 4-0 L

Ben Thomson

Ben Thomson

It was off to northeast Pennsylvania on Saturday, as the Devils made their only visit of the season to Wilkes-Barre Township to take on the Penguins, who earlier in the day saw a change of coaches: former Albany captain Jay Leach was making his debut behind the bench as an interim coach after Mike Sullivan was promoted to Pittsburgh.  And unlike the last few games, the Devils found themselves in an early hole after a Kevin Porter goal with 2:59 to go in the first (and also buried under a ton of stuffed animals thanks to a Teddy Bear Toss).  It didn’t get any easier when Tom Kostopoulos would double the lead just seconds into the second period.  A PL3 bout and a called off goal could have shifted momentum in the Devils direction, but not to be.  Porter would score his second of the game with 4:13 to go in the second for a 3-0 lead.  After the Pens had a goal waved off for the second time, they managed to solve the top penalty kill in the league and took a commanding 4-0 lead.  Despite Albany’s best efforts, they were unable to solve Penguin goaltender Tristan Jarry, and the win streak came to a screeching halt at 7 games.  It was also the first time all season the Devils were shutout.  Yann Danis picked up the loss in net, stopping 23 of 27 shots.

Matt Lorito & Max Novak

Matt Lorito & Max Novak

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Max Novak-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Jim O’Brien-Corey Tropp

Blake Pietila-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Marc Andre Gragnani

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Blake Coleman, Paul Thompson, Chris McKelvie, Reece Scarlett, Raman Hrabarenka, Greg Wolfe

Power Play: 0 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 1 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 22.  Shots Allowed: 27.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

Scoring 2 goals in a span of :28?  A nice comeback appearance for Jim O’Brien.  Honorable mention to Corey Tropp for his 3 assist performance.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (13)

Assists: Matt Lorito (17)

Points: Mike Sislo (22)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+15)

Penalty Minutes: Pierre-Luc Leblond (42)

Wins: Yann Danis (14)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.00)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.944)

The Vault:

So…how many Devils can say they were once the #1 play on Sportscenter in college?  Max Novak holds that bragging right. (You’ll just have to watch through to the end.)

Up North with the Thunder:

A slow start to the weekend for the boys in Adirondack, as they dropped back to back games on home ice.  Friday night Ken Appleby suffered a 6-1 loss at the hands of Norfolk, only lasting 2 and a half periods before being pulled.  He stopped 15 of 20 Admiral shots in defeat.  Saturday Appleby suffered a 4-3 overtime loss to the Monarchs, stopping 36 of 40 shots.  Alexandre Carrier scored his second goal of the season on a power play late in the second period.  After traveling to Manchester Sunday afternoon, the Thunder return home on Wednesday to take on Elmira before traveling south to Norfolk on Friday and Saturday.

This Week’s Schedule:

The week before Christmas is going to be a very long one.  Tuesday and Wednesday the Devils travel all the way north to Newfoundland to take on the IceCaps for a pair.  Then it’s back to the U.S. mainland and western New York for their first visit to Rochester in three seasons on Saturday before starting a near week long break for the holiday.

Also Saturday: I get my third callup to New Jersey of the season.

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The Weekly Primer, Issue 10

Quick Hits:

Albany begins the weekend with a record of 15-4-3-0, good for 33 points and a .750 percentage.  They sit in second place in the North Division, .021 behind first place Toronto.

With Scott Wedgewood ready to return to the lineup, Albany officially released goaltender Doug Carr from his PTO on Monday.  He finished with a 1-2-0 record, 2.34 GAA, and a .897 save percentage during his 2+ month stay.  He didn’t stay unemployed for long, signing a contract with Manchester (ECHL) on Tuesday.

Congratulations go out to Joseph Blandisi, who was recalled by New Jersey Thursday and all signs point to him making his NHL debut on Friday at The Rock against Detroit.

As far as the injury front goes…all but Blake Coleman (upper) and Raman Hrabarenka (lower) will be available to play this weekend.  Considering the long travel itinerary the boys are about to take on…this is great news.

Friday, 12/11 vs. Syracuse

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 2-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 10-9-2-1, 23 points, .523 pct, 5th place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: 2 tied with 14 points; Andrei Vasilevskiy, 2-0-0, 1.00 GAA; Adam Wilcox, 2-3-3, 3.20 GAA

Notes: This is the second visit in 5 days for the Crunch to the Capital Region; Syracuse is on a slide, dropping their last three games and falling behind Utica in the division; Tampa Bay swapped goaltenders with the Crunch on Thursday, calling up Kristers Gudlevskis and sending down Andrei Vasilevskiy for the second time this season; this wraps up Albany’s four game homestand, their last game locally until December 26th.

Listen: AHL Live, ESPN Radio Syracuse

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @SyracuseCrunch

Saturday, 12/12 @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre, PA.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Wilkes-Barre leads 1-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 17-5-0-0, 34 points, .773 pct, 1st place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Conor Sheary, 22 points (6 G, 16 A); Dominik Simon, 21 points (9 G, 12 A); Scott Wilson, 19 points (11 G, 8 A); Matt Murray, 11-4-0, 1.95 GAA; Tristan Jarry, 6-1-0, 1.96 GAA

Notes: The Penguins broke a rare 3 game losing streak with a 6-2 win on Wednesday at home against Syracuse; they travel to Lehigh Valley on Friday before returning home on Saturday; Matt Murray ranks 5th among AHL goaltenders with a 1.95 GAA, 4th in save percentage (.935), and tied for second in shutouts (3).

Listen: AHL Live,  WILK 103.1 FM

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @nafsnep, @WBSPenguins

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Week 8 Recap: Painfully Perfect Holiday

A very good end to the month of November for the Devils, as they swept the Thanksgiving week’s 3 game slate.  However, it may have come at a price…and some historical humiliation.

11/25 vs. Bridgeport: 3-1 W

The Captain.

The Captain.

Before Thanksgiving began, the Devils first had a Wednesday night matchup against Bridgeport (and of course, Joe Whitney returns for the second time).  It was all Devils from the beginning, as they outshot the visitors 16-6 in the first period.  Rod Pelley (his 1st) and Blake Coleman (his 3rd) would score 1:28 apart during the period for a quick 2-0 lead.  Ryan Strome, on just the Sound Tigers’ 8th shot of the game, would cut the lead in half in the second.  The Devils would only manage 2 shots in the third, but made the most of it, as Coleman would score his second of the game 6:58 into the third to put the game away.  Yann Danis barely had to break a sweat in picking up his 9th win, stopping 18 of 19 shots.  Paul Thompson added two assists, while three others had helpers.  And the Devils had a season low 4 penalty minutes, all in the third period.

Yann Danis

Yann Danis

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Joe Blandisi-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Blake Coleman-Paul Thompson

Ben Thomson-Blake Pietila-Corey Tropp

Pierre-Luc Leblond-Rod Pelley-Max Novak

Dan Kelly/Marc Andre Gragnani

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Doug Carr

Out: Scott Wedgewood, Jim O’Brien, Chris McKelvie, Graham Black, Ryan Kujawinski, Reece Scarlett, Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

Power Play: 0 for 3. Penalty Kill: 2 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 4.  Shots on Goal: 30.  Shots Allowed: 19.

Highlights:

Friday: With both Joseph Blandisi and Blake Pietila getting hurt during Wednesday’s victory, Alexandre Carrier was summoned from Adirondack and signed to a PTO.  In 12 games with the Thunder, he has 1 goal and 3 assists, along with 27 penalty minutes.

11/27 vs. Binghamton: 4-0 W

Matt Lorito

Matt Lorito

The homestand came to an end on Black Friday, as the Devils hosted the Senators for the second time in a month.  And on this night, it was all Devils from the very beginning.  Mike Sislo scored his team leading 11th goal 3 minutes into the game for a 1-0 lead.  Corey Tropp would add his 4th on the power play late in the period to double the lead.  And Binghamton?  They had more fights (2) than shots on goal (1).  Things continued to fall Albany’s way in the second, as Reid Boucher and Brandon Burlon would score 2:19 apart midway through the period for a commanding 4-0 lead, chasing Senator starter Matt O’Connor from the net in favor of Scott Greenham.  The Devils would outshoot Binghamton 18-4 for the period, bringing the totals to 29-5 after 40 minutes.  No goals in the third, but things got ugly early on as former Devil Mark Fraser boarded Blake Coleman, injuring the rookie’s shoulder and giving Albany a 5 minute power play opportunity, which they were unable to capitalize on.  Not that it mattered much anyway…the way Binghamton was not shooting, Yann Danis could have played beer vendor and still have no problems.  His third shutout of the season was probably the easiest one he has ever had…he only had to stop six shots.  That’s right…Binghamton had just 6 shots on goal the entire night, a new team record.  Matt Lorito and Paul Thompson each added two assists.

Corbin McPherson

Corbin McPherson

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Corey Tropp

Reid Boucher-Blake Coleman-Paul Thompson

Max Novak-Ryan Kujawinski-Ben Thomson

Pierre-Luc Leblond-Rod Pelley-Alexandre Carrier

Dan Kelly/Marc Andre Gragnani

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Doug Carr

Out: Scott Wedgewood, Joe Blandisi, Jim O’Brien, Chris McKelvie, Blake Pietila, Graham Black, Reece Scarlett, Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

Power Play: 1 for 6.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 23.  Shots on Goal: 32.  Shots Allowed: 6.

Highlights:

Saturday: Another day, another Devil injury, another call to the north.  With Blake Coleman being added to the walking wounded, Thunder forward Greg Wolfe was signed to a PTO.  The Michigan native has 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) in 13 games.

 11/28 at Springfield: 4-3 W

Greg Wolfe

Greg Wolfe

To finish the week, the Devils traveled east to Springfield for the second time in 13 days to play the Falcons for the third time in that same timespan.  Unlike the night before, Albany actually had work for Yann Danis to do in the net.  The Devils penalty kill, which is tops in the league, actually had a misstep in the first, as the Falcons’ Greg Carey would give the hosts an early lead.  But that lead lasted all of 1:47 as Corey Tropp would tie the game up with his 5th.  Reid Boucher would score on the power play late in the period for a 2-1 advantage.  As for the shots on goal?  Let’s just say it took 12:05 for the Devils to allow 7 shots…something that never happened in 60 minutes the evening before.

Both teams would trade goals during the second, as Domenic Monardo would re-tie the game up at 2 midway through the period.  Then the Devils took the lead back, thanks to the new guy…Greg Wolfe scored his first AHL goal in his Devil debut to put Albany back up by one.  But the Falcons would tie it up yet again early in the third, as Monardo scored his second of the game.  But Paul Thompson would come through in the clutch, as he scored on a power play nearly midway through to put Albany back up for good.  Danis had more of a workload on this night, but still picked up win #11, stopping 19 of 22 shots.  Ryan Kujawinski added two assists, while 5 different Devils each had helpers.

The view from behind the bench...

The view from behind the bench…

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Corey Tropp

Reid Boucher-Max Novak-Paul Thompson

Pierre Luc Leblond-Rod Pelley-Alexandre Carrier

Greg Wolfe-Ryan Kujawinski-Ben Thomson

Dan Kelly/Marc Andre Gragnani

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Doug Carr

Out: Scott Wedgewood, Joe Blandisi, Blake Coleman, Jim O’Brien, Chris McKelvie, Blake Pietila, Graham Black, Reece Scarlett, Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

Power Play: 2 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 1 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 37.  Shots Allowed: 22.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

This was a very hard decision to make this week, as I could have gone a few different ways.  Thirteen different Devils got on the scoresheet this week, while the defense averaged just under 16 shots allowed per game for the week.  So…we’ll have to let Paul Thompson (1 G/4 A), Reid Boucher (2 G/2 A), and Yann Danis (3-0, 1 shutout) share the title.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (11)

Assists: Matt Lorito (15)

Points: Matt Lorito (19)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+15)

Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (39)

Wins: Yann Danis (11)

GAA: Yann Danis (1.86)

Save Percentage: Yann Danis (.925)

The Vault:

This week we’re going back to April 2011, when Marc Andre Gragnani picked the right time to score his first NHL goal while a member of the Sabres.

Up North with the Thunder:

Another good week for Adirondack, as they went 2-0-0-1 and held on to first place in the East Division, just one point ahead of Manchester.  Ken Appleby picked up a 2-1 win over Elmira at home on Wednesday, stopping 32 of 33 shots.  He would suffer a shootout loss in Elmira on Saturday, stopping 33 of 37 in regulation/overtime, then only giving up one goal in the shootout round while the Thunder came up empty.  He sat out a 2-0 Thunder win over Greenville on Sunday afternoon.  Appleby is now 9-2-0-1 with a 1.99 GAA and a .932 save percentage.

Adirondack has a home and home series with Brampton on Thursday (road) and Friday (home).

This Week’s Schedule:

After the brief trip east on Saturday, the Devils kick off December with a four game homestand, with three games coming this week.  On Wednesday, St. John’s makes their first trip to the Capital Region of the season.  Saturday afternoon Rochester comes calling for the first time in quite a few years.  Then on Sunday, Syracuse makes the first of two visits in 5 days.

 

 

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