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
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.