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Week 11 Primer

Devils Quick Hits:

-Albany begins the week with a record of 12-9-1-4, good for 29 points and 4th place in the Northeast Division (and 8th in the Eastern Conference).

-After appearing in Monday night’s shootout loss to the Islanders and coming close to getting his first NHL goal, Tim Sestito was reassigned to Albany on Tuesday with the return of Patrik Elias to the lineup for Wednesday’s home game against Ottawa.

-Mark Fraser was officially signed to a 1 year 2 way contract by New Jersey and was placed on waivers.  He cleared on Friday and will stay on the Albany roster.

-Before leaving for Pennsylvania Thursday, a few more roster tweaks: Myles Bell was reassigned to Evansville after appearing in 2 games.  With Jacob Josefson possibly out for New Jersey’s two weekend home games, Sestito was once again recalled (there goes the E-Z Pass bill), and defenseman Adam Larsson was assigned to Albany on a conditioning stint (and we may be using that term loosely after his extended “conditioning” stint here last season).  Larsson has been out since December 2nd after falling victim to the NHL mumps epidemic.  In 17 games he has 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists).

12/19, Game #27 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

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

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Tied at 1.

Standings:

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 16-9-1-2, 35 points, 1st place in East Division

Penguins Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Derrick Pouliot, 19 points (6 G, 13 A); Jean-Sebastien Dea, 17 points (8 G, 9 A); Jayson Megna, 13 points (9 G, 4 A)

Jeff Zatkoff, 9-5-1, 1.89 GAA; Matt Murray, 5-4-2, 1.99 GAA; Eric Hartzell, 2-0-0, 2.92 GAA

Notes:

-The Penguins are currently missing 6 regulars due to injuries and illness in Pittsburgh decimating the parent club.

-Wilkes-Barre is coming off a near perfect 3 for 3 weekend, with a shootout loss to Lehigh Valley the only blemish.

-Since the Devils move to Albany in 2010, the franchise has only won twice on Wilkes-Barre’s home ice, the last victory coming on November 8, 2013.

Listen: AHL Live, WILK 103.1 FM

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @nafsnep, @WBSPenguins

12/20, Game #28 at Syracuse

Where: Onondaga County War Memorial at OnCenter, Syracuse, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Crunch leads 1-0.

Standings:

Syracuse: 17-7-3-0, 37 points, tied for 1st place in Northeast Division

Crunch Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Yanni Gourde, 24 points (12 G, 12 A); Jonathan Marchessault, 22 points (8 G, 14 A); Tanner Richard, 17 points (4 G, 13 A)

Kristers Gudlevskis, 9-4-0, 2.95 GAA

Notes:

-The Crunch are riding a 7 game winning streak heading into the pre-Christmas weekend, pulling into a tie with Springfield for the division lead.  After defeating Rochester on Wednesday night, they will travel to Hartford on Friday before hosting the Devils on Saturday.

-Syracuse recently lost starting goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to callup after Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop got injured.  Former RPI goaltender Allen York has been summoned from the ECHL to back up Kristers Gudlevskis.

-Good news for local Time Warner subscribers: the game will be televised locally on TWCS, Channel 50 in the Albany area.

Listen: AHL Live, ESPN Radio Syracuse

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @SyracuseCrunch, @syrhockey, @Allovimo

 

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Week 10 Recap: Breakthrough on the Boardwalk!

A quiet week saw the Devils earn 2 out of 4 points in two very close games.  But the Devils finally did something that an Albany team hasn’t done since 2012: win in overtime.

12/11 at Hartford: 3-2 L

The Devils started the week with a rare Thursday night game, traveling to the capital of Connecticut for the third time already this season to face the Wolfpack.  Scott Clemmensen, just back down from New Jersey, drew the start, his first game action since a shootout loss to Calgary on November 22nd.  Albany found themselves down early as Chris Bourque and Justin Vaive (on a power play) scored less than three minutes apart during the first for a 2-0 advantage.  Reid Boucher, just back from playing in New Jersey’s loss to Chicago on Tuesday, scored his fifth to cut the lead in half.  Bourque would strike again midway through the second, scoring his 2nd of the night on a power play to restore the 2 goal lead.  If you recall, the Devils faced a similar deficit the last time the two teams faced each other, back on November 26th in the Capital Region.  That night, Joe Whitney scored twice in the third to tie the game up and send it to overtime.  Well, that didn’t quite happen this time around.  Rod Pelley got the Devils to within one goal midway through the third with just his second goal of the season.  Albany pulled Clemmensen late, but got stuck with a two man disadvantage late in the period, and could not get the tying goal.  Clemmensen stopped 30 of 33 shots in his return, while three Devils each had assists.  The game also marked the AHL debut of Myles Bell, who skated on the third line and had just one shot on goal.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Graham Black-Stefan Matteau

Myles Bell-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Ben Johnson-Darcy Zajac-David Wohlberg

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Chris McKelvie, Scott Timmins, Cam Janssen, Alexandre Carrier

Defense Pairings:

Brandon Burlon/Joe Faust

Mark Fraser/Eric Baier

Corbin McPherson/Mike Keenan

Extra: Dan Kelly, Reece Scarlett, Raman Hrabarenka

12/14 vs. Lehigh Valley: 4-3 W (OT)

The second and final trip to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall came on Sunday afternoon, as the Devils faced off against their former North Country rivals for the second time in 16 days.  Tim Sestito got the “home” team on the board (and I use the term loosely since I saw a lot of orange and black in the crowd) midway through the first with his fifth goal of the season.  And as the game progressed it looked like it was the only goal Scott Wedgewood was going to need, as through the first two periods he had stopped all 22 Phantom shots.  But Lehigh Valley rallied in the third, as Taylor Leier and Zack Stortini (yes, that Zack Stortini) scored 3:03 apart to put the Phantoms ahead 2-1.  Joe Whitney would answer with his 9th goal on a power play to re-tie the game at 2.  But 27 seconds later Andrew Gordon would give the Phantoms the lead right back.  But it was Whitney to the rescue again, as he would re-tie the game again with his 10th with just under 6 minutes to go in regulation.  It was on to the dreaded overtime, where I was ready to just say give Lehigh Valley the point now and be done with it.  But not on this day.  For the first time in almost 3 years, the Devils finally got an overtime winning goal, as Sestito’s second of the game just trickled past Phantoms goaltender Rob Zepp with 4:10 to go in OT for the win.  Despite a nerve wracking third, Wedgewood stopped 29 of 32 shots and picked up win #4 of the season.  Paul Thompson and Reid Boucher each had 2 assists, while two others had one assist each.  The game marked the returns of both Dan Kelly and Reece Scarlett to the lineup, and the AHL debut of Alexandre Carrier, who skated on the fourth line and finished a -1.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

Stefan Matteau-Graham Black-Reid Boucher

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Myles Bell

David Wohlberg-Darcy Zajac-Alexandre Carrier

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Chris McKelvie, Scott Timmins, Ben Johnson, Cam Janssen

Defense Pairings:

Corbin McPherson/Brandon Burlon

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Mark Fraser/Joe Faust

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Eric Baier, Mike Keenan

Monday: A swap of forwards between Albany and New Jersey, as Sestito was rewarded for his two goal game with his first recall of the season and Mike Sislo was sent down to make room for Travis Zajac’s return from the mumps.  Sislo appeared in 6 games since being recalled on December 4th, with no points.

Pop Quiz: Who was the winning goaltender the last time the Devils won a game in OT?  Stick around till the end for the answer.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

Ben Thomson making his second appearance in this spot:

My Player of the Week:

Splitting it between the heroes of Sunday’s win on the Boardwalk, Joe Whitney and Tim Sestito, and an honorable mention to both Reid Boucher and Mark Fraser for getting on the scoresheet in both games this week.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (11)

Assists: Scott Timmins (13)

Points: Joe Whitney (22)

+/-: Paul Thompson (+10)

Penalty Minutes: Darcy Zajac (53)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (4)

GAA: Scott Clemmensen (2.33)

Save Percentage: Scott Clemmensen (.918)

ECHL Update:

Maxime Clermont (Orlando): 9 GP, 5-3-0, 3.76 GAA, .873 Save Percentage

Injury Update:

No new updates on when the following may return: Kelly Zajac, Chris McKelvie, Scott Timmins, Cam Janssen, or Raman Hrabarenka.  After missing nearly two weeks Dan Kelly and Reece Scarlett are finally back on ice.

This Week’s Schedule:

Two weekend games, all on the road, await before the Christmas break.  Friday night the Devils head to Wilkes-Barre to take on the Penguins, then head north on Interstate 81 on Saturday night for their first visit to Syracuse of the season to face the Crunch.

Pop Quiz Answer: Before Sunday, the last Devils goaltender to get the win in overtime?  It was Jeff Frazee, who stopped 28 of 32 Norfolk shots in a 5-4 win on January 6, 2012, in Virginia.

 

 

 

 

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Week 10 Primer

Devils Quick Hits:

-Albany begins the week with a record of 11-8-1-4 and 27 points.  They are in a 3 way tie in the Northeast Division with Hartford and Bridgeport, and 4 points behind second place Syracuse.

-A few roster changes heading into the week.  Yes there will be a pop quiz on this later.

On Tuesday, another goaltending flip, as Keith Kinkaid was recalled and Scott Clemmensen was sent down.  Kinkaid finally received his first NHL start on Tuesday night in Newark against Chicago, and played well, stopping 37 shots.  But it was an all too familiar result: a 3-2 shootout loss.

Also on Tuesday, Reid Boucher was recalled for the second time after Patrik Elias was placed on IR.  He played on the second line Tuesday night with Adam Henrique and Michael Ryder.  He was returned to Albany on Wednesday with Mike Cammalleri and Dainius Zubrus presumably ready to return to the lineup Thursday night as the parent Devils start a road swing in Philadelphia.

With Scott Timmins and Cam Janssen out injured, Myles Bell and Alexandre Carrier have been recalled from their respective ECHL teams.

And if you were hoping for a glimpse of Damien Brunner in an A-Devil uniform, well, you’ll be disappointed.  Earlier today New Jersey placed him on unconditional waivers.

12/11, Game #25 at Hartford

Where: XL Center, Hartford, CT.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Tied at 2.

Standings:

Hartford: 12-9-2-1, 27 points, tied for 3rd place in Northeast Division

Wolfpack Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Chris Bourque, 22 points (9 G, 13 A); Danny Kristo, 16 points (8 G, 8 A); Oscar Lindberg, 15 points (8 G, 7 A)

Cedrick Desjardins, 5-3-1-1, 2.76 GAA; Mackenzie Skapski, 6-4-1-1, 2.51 GAA

Notes:

-Much like the Devils, Hartford is also coming off a 1-2 3 in 3 weekend, with its only win coming Sunday afternoon on home ice against Binghamton.

-The Wolfpack came very close to stopping Springfield’s 10 game winning streak on Saturday, but ended up becoming victim #11 and losing 1-0 in a shootout.

-Leading scorer Chris Bourque starts the week in the top 20 in the AHL in points, in a tie with 7 other players.

Listen: AHL Live, Fox Sports 1410 Hartford

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @WolfPackAHL

12/14, Game #26 vs. Lehigh Valley

Where: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ.

When: 3:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 1-0.

Standings:

Lehigh Valley: 10-9-2-1, 23 points, 4th place in East Division

Phantoms Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Brandon Manning, 17 points (6 G, 11 A); Nick Cousins, 13 points (4 G, 9 A); 2 tied with 12 points

Rob Zepp, 7-4-3, 2.57 GAA; Anthony Stolarz, 3-5-0-1, 2.84 GAA

Notes:

-The Phantoms are also coming off a 1-2 3 in 3 weekend, losing to the Penguins in Wilkes-Barre and splitting a home and home with Bridgeport.

-Lehigh Valley begins a second straight 3 in 3 weekend in Binghamton on Friday, then return to home ice on Saturday against the Penguins.

-This is the last trip to Boardwalk Hall for the Devils for the season.  There is one more home game in New Jersey, in January at The Rock.

Listen: AHL Live, Sports Radio 1470 AM

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @LVPhantoms

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Week 9 Primer

Devils Quick Hits:

-Albany begins the December slate with a record of 10-6-1-4, good for 25 points.  They are in a 3 way tie for second in the Northeast Division with Syracuse and Bridgeport (and stand 5th in the Eastern Conference).

-Before Thursday’s game in Toronto, New Jersey recalled Mike Sislo for the second time this season, after injuries and illness knocked Patrik Elias and Jaromir Jagr out of the lineup.  He played in New Jersey’s 5-3 win, skating on a line with Tuomo Ruutu and Jacob Josefson.

-The depleted defense received some much needed help, getting Peter Harrold back from New Jersey and signing Mike Keenan to a PTO.  Harrold appeared in 4 games since being recalled on November 17th, scoring once.  Keenan arrives from Orlando of the ECHL, where in 21 games he registered 6 assists and was a +1.  He does have AHL experience, having played parts of the last two seasons with Bridgeport.

12/5, Game #22 at Providence

Where: Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, RI.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: First meeting of 2.  Future matchup: December 30th at Albany

Standings:

Providence: 9-10-2-0, 20 points, tied for 4th place in Atlantic Division

Bruins Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Alexander Khokhlachev, 18 points (5 G, 13 A); 2 tied with 13 points

Jeremy Smith, 5-5-1, 2.07 GAA; Malcolm Subban, 4-4-1, 2.84 GAA

Notes:

-The Bruins are in the midst of a 5 game winless streak, going 0-4-1-0 since a victory over Hartford on November 21st at home.  They are coming off a 1 point 3 in 3 weekend, losing in overtime to Portland and dropping road contests to Worcester and Bridgeport.

-Local ties: Former River Rats captain Kevin Dean, a member of the 1995 Calder Cup Champions, is entering his fifth season as an assistant coach.  Before that, he spent all four years as an assistant in Lowell under Kurt Kleinendorst and John MacLean.

Listen: AHL Live

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @AHLBruins

12/6, Game #23 vs. Portland

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 5:00 PM.

Season Series: Portland leads 2-1.

Standings:

Portland: 12-9-0-0, 24 points, 2nd place in Atlantic Division

Pirates Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Alexandre Bolduc, 18 points (8 G, 10 A); Brendan Shinnimin, 14 points (4 G, 10 A); Jordan Martinook, 13 points (4 G, 9 A)

Mike McKenna, 7-7-0, 2.08 GAA; Louis Domingue, 5-2-0, 2.29 GAA

Notes:

-The Pirates have won their last four in a row, including a sweep of Norfolk in Virginia and a rescheduled win over Worcester on Tuesday after last week’s snowstorm postponed the original date.

-Portland comes into Albany in the midst of their own 3 in 3 weekend, hosting Manchester on Friday and finishing the weekend in Providence on Sunday afternoon.

-If you plan on attending, it’s the annual Teddy Bear Toss.  Instead of waiting for the first goal to be scored like most teams, it will all happen during intermission.

Listen: AHL Live, WLOB-AM

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @PortlandPirates

12/7, Game #24 vs. Adirondack

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 3:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 1-0.

Standings:

Adirondack: 12-9-1-0, 25 points, 2nd place in North Division

Flames Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Ben Hanowski, 13 points (10 G, 3 A); 2 tied with 12 points

Brad Thiessen, 3-4-0, 2.63 GAA; Joni Ortio, 9-5-1, 3.23 GAA

Notes:

-The Flames start the week with a 3 game losing streak, including a loss at home against Hamilton on Tuesday, after a 9 game winning streak during the month of November.  They host Texas on Friday and go southwest to Binghamton on Saturday before heading to the Capital Region on Sunday.

-Schedule quirk #1: This is the only visit to Albany this season for Adirondack.

-Schedule quirk #2: This is the last home game in Albany for the Devils until after Christmas.  Siena men’s college basketball and Disney On Ice take over the Times Union Center for most of the month.

Listen: AHL Live, WCQL 95.9 FM

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @AHLFlames, @dianacnearhos

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Week 7 Recap: Wake-Up Call

It may have only been a 2 out of 6 point weekend, but finally the team from October has shown up!  But it took hitting rock bottom to get there.

11/21 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 5-1 L

A busy weekend began Friday night on home ice, as the Devils hosted the Penguins for the second time in a month.  Keith Kinkaid drew his first start since November 2nd and his first game action since relieving Cory Schneider in Detroit on November 7th.  And the rust showed a little early in the first period, as Dominik Uher (after a video review) and Scott Wilson scored 18 seconds apart for a quick 2-0 lead.  It didn’t get any better in the second, as Josh Archibald scored just 55 seconds into the second period to up the lead to 3.  Brian Dumoulin would add to the rout less than 2 minutes later to make it 4-0.  That would signal the end of Kinkaid’s night between the pipes, as Scott Wedgewood would take over from there.  He went a perfect 7 for 7, but the Devils could not produce any offensive chances to get on the board, only managing 3 shots for the entire period.  Jayson Megna would make it a 5-0 lead early in the third, adding to the insult.  Joe Whitney managed to break up Jeff Zatkoff’s shutout bid by scoring his 5th with 13 minutes to go.  The rest of the game was spent getting frustrated, chippy, physical…however you want to describe it.  Two fights and a 10 car pileup by the Pens bench over a span of 10 minutes resulted in four 10 minute misconducts, 2 on each side.  And no real offensive threat from the home team, resulting in their second straight loss.  Kinkaid stopped just 7 of 11 shots in 22:36, while Wedgewood finished with 11 saves on 12 shots.  Albany just managed 15 shots on goal, a season low.  Reece Scarlett was the only other Devil to register a point with the lone assist on Whitney’s goal.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Reid Boucher-Scott Timmins

Mike Sislo-Stefan Matteau-Tim Sestito

Chris McKelvie-David Wohlberg-Rod Pelley

Darcy Zajac-Ben Thomson-Ben Johnson

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Cam Janssen (both inj), Paul Thompson (susp), Graham Black

Defense Pairings:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Joe Faust

Reece Scarlett/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Mark Fraser (susp)

11/22 at Binghamton: 7-0 L

It was due west to the Southern Tier on Saturday night for the first of just four matchups of the season against the Senators, who were coming off a penalty filled win in overtime against Manchester the night before.  Scott Wedgewood drew the start and…he may have wished he hadn’t.  Much like the night before, Binghamton got a quick 2-0 lead in the first via goals from Derek Grant and Garrett Thompson just 56 seconds apart.  Things would go from bad to worse in the second period…while Albany could not get any offense going against Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond, the B-Sens poured it on.  Patrick Mullen scored on the first Devil penalty kill of the game for a 3-0 lead.  Chris Wideman would add his 10th goal halfway through the period for a 4-0 lead.  Carter Camper would finish the period off with the 5th goal, chasing Wedgewood out of the net after two periods and seeing Keith Kinkaid in a familiar situation…relieving the starter going into the third.  And the bleeding continued despite the switch.  Grant would score his second of the night to make it 6.  And finally, the extra point by J.G. Pageau with 56 seconds remaining would finish off the most lopsided loss of the season, and in franchise history going back to the Lowell days.  Wedgewood finished with 19 saves on 24 shots, and Kinkaid had 8 saves on 10 shots in relief.  In trying really, really, really hard to find ANYTHING good about this game…a season low 6 penalty minutes.  And double the shots from the night before, 31.  But if you really want to point fingers at what made this happen, look no further than the boxscore…when you have one of your better defensive players in Raman Hrabarenka finish at a -5, you know it was bad.

Highlights: (WARNING: Watch at your own risk.)

Lines:

Scott Timmins-Joe Whitney-Reid Boucher

Stefan Matteau-Mike Sislo-Tim Sestito

Chris McKelvie-Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley

Darcy Zajac-Ben Johnson-Graham Black

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Cam Janssen, Paul Thompson, David Wohlberg

Defense Pairings:

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Raman Hrabarenka/Joe Faust

Extra: Mark Fraser

Sunday: With Dan Kelly and Reece Scarlett both getting hurt in Saturday’s loss and one more game left for Fraser to serve, the Devils called on a sort of familiar name to fill the defensive void, bringing in defenseman Eric Baier on a PTO.  He had appeared in 13 games for Albany during the 2011-12 season.  In 16 games with Orlando so far this season, he has 8 points (4 G, 4 A) and a +9 rating while serving as the team captain.

11/23 vs. Bridgeport: 5-2 W

One last home game to close out the weekend, and it was a familiar foe…for the sixth time on the season and the third time on home ice, it was the Sound Tigers coming in for a visit.  The good news was the return of Paul Thompson to the lineup after he served his two game suspension.  But Scott Timmins, along with Kelly and Scarlett, were out, making for a 13 forward/5 defenseman lineup taking the ice.  I’m not sure what happened after the previous night in Binghamton, whether it was in the locker room or on the bus ride home, but the team that came out Sunday was the one I’ve been looking for the past three weeks.  Thompson made his lineup return a successful one, scoring on a power play midway through the first period for a 1-0 Devil lead, the first since the 14th.  Johan Sundstrom would tie the game up just before the first ended.  But second period was all Devils, as they broke out for four goals.  Brandon Burlon scored his first of the season four minutes in to break the tie.  Raman Hrabarenka would add his fourth just over 90 seconds later for a 3-1 lead.  Just over two minutes later, the new guy, Eric Baier, would get into the act by scoring his first AHL goal since the 2012-13 season (playing for Charlotte) to make it 4-1.  Finally, Ben Johnson would score his first as a professional in a shorthanded situation late in the period for a 5-1 advantage.  The Sound Tigers tried to make a comeback in the third, outshooting the Devils 14-7 and getting their second goal, but Keith Kinkaid and the depleted defense took care of the rest, breaking a 3 game losing streak and finishing the first 3 in 3 weekend on a high note.  Kinkaid rebounded nicely from a disastrous Friday start and stopped 26 of 28 shots, earning #1 star honors.  Five other Devils added assists, including the first professional point for Joe Faust.

Highlights:

Lines:

Well, with a 13 forward lineup, there was a lot of patented Maclean Line Shuffler going on.  Here’s what I could catch:

Rod Pelley-Reid Boucher-Chris McKelvie

Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson-Joe Whitney

Stefan Matteau-Mike Sislo-Graham Black

Ben Thomson-Darcy Zajac-Ben Johnson (David Wohlberg or Johnson 13th forward)

Also seen: Zajac-Wohlberg-Thomson; Johnson-Zajac-Thomson; Zajac-Sislo-Matteau; McKelvie-Black-Wohlberg; Pelley-McKelvie-Johnson

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Scott Timmins, Cam Janssen (all inj)

Defense Pairings:

Again with 5 defensemen, a lot of moving around:

Brandon Burlon/Raman Hrabarenka

Corbin McPherson/Eric Baier

Burlon/Joe Faust

Hrabarenka/Baier

Hrabarenka/Faust

Pop Quiz: The 7-0 loss in Binghamton was the most lopsided loss in the history of the franchise, going back to the Lowell years.  But it’s not the worst in the overall Albany AHL history.  What is the largest margin of defeat for an Albany AHL team?  The answer coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

No video from Friday’s festivities has surfaced.  Oh well.

My Player of the Week:

For managing to pull off multi point weeks despite the struggles of the weekend, Joe Whitney and Paul Thompson split the award.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (10)

Assists: 2 tied with 9

Points: Paul Thompson (16)

+/-: Paul Thompson (+11)

Penalty Minutes: Darcy Zajac (42)

Wins: Keith Kinkaid (5)

GAA: Keith Kinkaid (2.54)

Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.911)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 13 GP, 9 points (7 G, 2 A), +1, 2 PIM

Maxime Clermont (Orlando): 7 GP, 5-2-0, 3.56 GAA, .884 Save Pct.

Injury Report:

Kelly Zajac (upper body, indefinitely); Cam Janssen (upper body, indefinitely); Dan Kelly (lower body, unknown); Reece Scarlett (lower body, unknown); Scott Timmins (lower body, unknown); Rod Pelley (injured during Sunday’s game)

This Week’s Schedule:

A home laden schedule, but with an exception.  Wednesday Hartford comes to visit for the second time in a month.  Black Friday will be spent in the other home, Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, as the Devils face Lehigh Valley for the first time.  Finally on Saturday afternoon, the only appearance of the season by Utica.

Pop Quiz Answer: The most lopsided loss in Albany AHL history?  You have to go back to March 22, 1996.  The River Rats dropped a 10-1 decision to the old Carolina Monarchs in Greensboro, NC.  Bonus: the most lopsided shutout loss was back on March 25, 2001, when the Rats lost to Quebec 8-0.

 

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Week 5 Recap: At a Disadvantage

After a 1 point out of 6 week…I want the team from October back.

11/5 at Hartford: 3-1 L

It was an early start to this week’s action as Albany traveled east to Hartford for a special school day morning special against the Wolfpack.  And early on it appeared the visitors were the ones who had their morning coffee.  Paul Thompson scored his league leading 9th goal just 45 seconds after the puck dropped for a fast 1-0 lead.  Joey Crabb would score unassisted two minutes later to tie things up at 1.  The Devils would outshoot their hosts 14-3 in the first.  A quiet second saw no goals but the Wolfpack gave Scott Clemmensen, in his first start since returning to Albany, a little work, as Hartford outshot the Devils 10-5.  Third period saw the Devils special teams emulate their parent club.  Ryan Haggerty and Oscar Lindberg would score back to back power play goals within 1:39 to pull away with the win, the Devils third straight defeat.  Clemmensen would finish with 16 saves, while Dan Kelly and Raman Hrabarenka would have the lone assists.

Highlights via AHL Live can be found here.

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Paul Thompson-Scott Timmins

Mike Sislo-Graham Black-Reid Boucher

Tim Sestito-Stefan Matteau-Ben Thomson

Rod Pelley-Chris McKelvie-Darcy Zajac

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Ben Johnson, Cam Janssen, David Wohlberg

Defense Pairings:

Seth Helgeson/Peter Harrold

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Mark Fraser, Reece Scarlett, Joe Faust

Thursday: With Adam Henrique sidelined due to an injury in Tuesday’s home loss to the Blues, Mike Sislo was recalled for the midwest swing through St. Louis and Detroit.

Saturday: Sislo was sent back to Albany after New Jersey returned from the road.  He did manage to get his first NHL point, an assist on Marek Zidlicky’s third period goal in a 4-3 loss to St. Louis on Thursday.

11/8 at Bridgeport: 7-2 L

It was south to Bridgeport, for the start of a two game set against the Sound Tigers.  Scott Wedgewood drew the start and…things went downhill from there.  Joe Whitney gets call for tripping just 54 seconds into the game, and Harry Zolnierczyk connects on the ensuing power play 1:02 later for a 1-0 lead.  Later in the period, David Wohlberg sits for a slashing call.  Alan Quine connects on that ensuing power play 1:55 later for a 2-0 lead.  Detect a pattern yet?  Things started out looking a little better in the second, as Peter Harrold would score on a power play to cut the lead in half.  Then Corbin McPherson sits for tripping…and 1:57 later Mike Halmo connects for a 3-1 lead.  Just 26 seconds later, John Persson would add an even strength goal for a 4-1 lead.  Exit Wedgewood, hello Scott Clemmensen.  A few minutes later, Rod Pelley would take a boarding call.  You can guess what happened next…44 seconds later Colin McDonald scores for a 5-1 lead.  Chris McKelvie would score his first of the season late in the period to cut the deficit to 5-2.  Third period…more of the same.  McPherson sits for holding at 1:41, 39 seconds later Kael Mouillerat scores for a 6-2 lead.  To top it off, Darcy Zajac takes a slashing call at 13:53.  Twenty-four seconds later…you guessed it, the 7th goal, the second of the night for Zolnierczyk.  To scare us further, the Devils got stuck with a 5 on 3 late and finished the game shorthanded…and they FINALLY managed to kill that.  So if you’re keeping score…that’s 6 PP goals for the Sound Tigers, which broke a franchise record.  And everyone complains about New Jersey’s PK…

Anyway…Wedgewood finished with 8 saves on 12 shots before making way for Clemmensen, who stopped 17 of 20.  Seth Helgeson, Scott Timmins, and Raman Hrabarenka each had a helper.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Stefan Matteau-Graham Black-Reid Boucher

David Wohlberg-Tim Sestito-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Cam Janssen, Mike Sislo, Ben Johnson

Defense Pairings:

Raman Hrabarenka/Peter Harrold

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Extra: Dan Kelly, Mark Fraser, Joe Faust

11/9 at Bridgeport: 4-3 L (SO)

About 17 and a half hours later, it was time for the rematch and a shot at redemption.  The fragile special teams got a very early test when Darcy Zajac was sent to the box just 21 seconds into the game.  But the penalty kill came through, and was tested yet again when Mark Fraser (in his first game since signing a PTO a week earlier) was called for a trip.  Second test passed.  But on a turnover, Scooter Vaughan would break away and score on Scott Clemmensen for a 1-0 lead.  It took till late in the second period for the Devils to finally rally, as Mike Sislo scored on a power play in his first game back since returning from New Jersey to tie the game at 1.  On another power play early in the third, Tim Sestito gave the Devils their first lead since early Wednesday morning.  Alan Quine would retie the game on…wait for it…a power play goal.  (Okay, okay, I’ll leave it alone now.  It was the only one for Bridgeport on the day.)  Harry Zolnierczyk would give the Sound Tigers the lead back, but Graham Black would tie it up again with a power play goal, the third for the Devils on the day.  A seven minute overtime session produced a very good chance by Scott Timmins early, but no goals.  It was on to the shootout, which needed five rounds after Paul Thompson and Kael Mouillerat scored in the second round.  Sislo, Joe Whitney, and Black were unable to come up with the second goal (Stefan Matteau was shut out in round 1), and Clemmensen was unable to stop C.J. Stretch, giving the Sound Tigers the extra point.  Clemmensen finished with 31 saves on 34 shots through 67 minutes.  Matteau added two assists.  Joe Faust finally saw his first professional game action, meaning every Devil on the roster has got into at least one game.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Paul Thompson-Scott Timmins

Stefan Matteau-Graham Black-Mike Sislo

Tim Sestito-Ben Johnson-Ben Thomson

Rod Pelley-Chris McKelvie-Darcy Zajac

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Cam Janssen, Reid Boucher, David Wohlberg

Defense Pairings:

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Peter Harrold/Joe Faust

Mark Fraser/Raman Hrabarenka

Extra: Brandon Burlon, Dan Kelly, Reece Scarlett

Pop Quiz: Before Wednesday, when was the last time Scott Clemmensen appeared in an Albany uniform?  The answer coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

Dance lessons courtesy of Seth Helgeson:

Bonus: I never thought I’d see the day where I saw Sislo and fight in the same boxscore line.

My Player of the Week:

Um…well…there weren’t any breakout performances this week.  So for the 4 players with a multi point week, I salute you.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (9)

Assists: 3 tied with 8

Points: Paul Thompson/Scott Timmins (12)

+/-: Paul Thompson/Raman Hrabarenka (+8)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly/Corbin McPherson (31)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (2)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (3.18)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.879)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 6 GP, 7 points (6 G, 1 A), +3, 0 PIM

Maxime Clermont (Orlando): 1 GP, 0-1-0, 5.10 GAA, .833 Save Pct.

Injury Report: Kelly Zajac and Cam Janssen remain out.  I am curious about Dan Kelly’s status since he did not make the trip to Bridgeport.

This Week’s Schedule:

Three games coming up this week, and good news, no Bridgeport!  Wednesday the Devils return home to face Syracuse for the first time this season.  Then it’s off to Maine Friday and Saturday for a two game stint against Portland.

Pop Quiz Answer: The last time anyone saw Scott Clemmensen in an Albany uniform? January 29, 2006.  He was in goal for the River Rats in a 5-4 loss against…the Wolfpack in Hartford.  Talk about coming full circle.

 

 

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Week 4 Recap: Back to Earth

It was inevitable…after an amazing October, November got started on a rough note.  Three out of a possible six points, but still a standings point in 8 of the first 9 games is not bad.

10/29 vs. Springfield: 4-2 W

Albany got an early start to the week thanks to a schedule change, hosting the Falcons on Wednesday (the game’s original date was December 2nd, but got moved up due to a concert date at the TU Center).  The visitors took a very quick 1-0 lead on a Ryan Craig goal just 1:10 in.  Craig would add a second goal on a power play 6 minutes later.  Graham Black, back in the lineup for the first time since opening weekend in Adirondack, would score his first as a professional on a deflection late in the period to cut the deficit in half.  Mike Sislo would tie the game at 2 midway through the second with his fifth goal.  On a delayed penalty late in the second, Scott Timmins would extend his season long point streak to seven games with his fourth, putting Albany ahead for good.  Black would add his second goal on a power play midway through the third for insurance.  With the win, the Devils remained the only team in the league without a regulation loss and extended their win streak to 5.  Keith Kinkaid settled down after a shaky first period and stopped 30 of 32 shots in picking up his fourth win.  Stefan Matteau returned to the lineup after missing a week due to injury and contributed two assists.  Four other Devils each had a helper.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Stefan Matteau-Mike Sislo-Graham Black

Tim Sestito-Chris McKelvie-Steve Bernier

Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac-Ben Thomson

Extra: Cam Janssen, Kelly Zajac (both inj), Ben Johnson, David Wohlberg

Defense Pairings:

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Peter Harrold

Extra: Reece Scarlett, Joe Faust

11/1 vs. Bridgeport: 4-1 L

The homestand continued as the calendar turned over to November, and Albany saw a familiar foe come in, facing Bridgeport for the third time in 8 games.  Paul Thompson would add to his league leading goal total, notching his 8th on a 5-on-3 power play midway through the first period (and with the assist, Scott Timmins extended his point streak to 8 games) for a 1-0 lead.  Bridgeport tied the game up halfway through the second on a lucky (or in Scott Wedgewood’s case, unlucky) bounce and a kick into the Albany net (goal credited to C. J. Stretch for those keeping score).  The visitors would essentially put the game away late in the period, scoring twice in 2:28 (the second on a 5-on-3 power play) to take a 3-1 lead.  Bridgeport would add a power play/empty net goal late in the third to seal the victory, the first regulation loss for Albany on the season (it had to happen sometime, unfortunately).  Wedgewood stopped 22 of 25 shots in the loss.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Rod Pelley-Tim Sestito-Steve Bernier

Stefan Matteau-Mike Sislo-Graham Black

Darcy Zajac-Ben Thomson-Chris McKelvie

Extra: Cam Janssen, Kelly Zajac, Ben Johnson, David Wohlberg

Defense Pairings:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Peter Harrold

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Reece Scarlett, Joe Faust

11/2 vs. Portland: 2-1 L (OT)

It was a very quick turnaround for Albany, as they hosted former Devil Mike McKenna and Portland for the first time this season.  And it was a very quick start out of the gate, as Joe Whitney scored his third of the year just 1:28 in for a 1-0 lead.  With the assist, Scott Timmins’s point streak hit 9 games.  A 20-25 minute delay due to ice conditions near the Zamboni entrance of the arena (or, the Devils Shoot Twice net) ended the first a little early, extending the second period.  The Pirates would tie the game up midway through the second on a power play goal by Dylan Reese.  After a penalty filled third period (nothing physical…or a typical Chris Brown called game) with nothing across, it was on to overtime, the second time for Albany this season.  The Devils had two very good chances early on–Mike Sislo just narrowly missed getting the puck across the line and Timmins had a great shot go wide.  But the Pirates would prevail 2:58 in, as Lucas Lessio scored the game winner to give Portland the win and the extra point.  Keith Kinkaid stopped 21 of 23 shots, while Paul Thompson had the other assist.

Highlights:

Lines:

Stefan Matteau-Mike Sislo-Graham Black

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac-Chris McKelvie

Tim Sestito-Ben Johnson-Steve Bernier

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Cam Janssen, David Wohlberg, Ben Thomson

Defense Pairings:

Seth Helgeson/Peter Harrold

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka (resting?), Joe Faust

Pop Quiz: With Wednesday’s win, the Devils extended their streak of games without a regulation loss to 7.  When was the last time an Albany AHL franchise started a season with an unbeaten streak that long?  The answer is coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

So when did Brandon Burlon become a fighter?

My Player of the Week:

Splitting it between two players this week…Scott Timmins for being a constant presence on the scoresheet (he has registered at least one point in all 9 games thus far), and an honorable mention to rookie Graham Black for his first two goal game as a professional.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (8)

Assists: Scott Timmins (7)

Points: Paul Thompson/Scott Timmins (11)

+/-: Raman Hrabarenka (+9)

Penalty Minutes:  Dan Kelly (29)

Wins: Keith Kinkaid (4)

GAA: Keith Kinkaid (1.95)

Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.931)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 3 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 0 PIM

Injury Report: Cam Janssen (shoulder; indefinitely), Kelly Zajac (upper body; unknown timetable)

BREAKING: Just as I was finishing this up, the Devils throw me a curveball.  They have signed defenseman Mark Fraser to a professional tryout contract.  There are already two extra defensemen as it is, why throw in a third?  I get the feeling something is going on in New Jersey that has yet to play out.

This marks Fraser’s third stint in Albany, with the first coming in a 4 game stint in a River Rats uniform near the end of the 2005-06 season (the last season before Lowell) and 5 games with the A-Devils during the 2010-11 season.  He split last season between Edmonton and Toronto, appearing in 42 games and registering 2 points.

This Week’s Schedule:

The Devils hit the road this week for three games, all in Connecticut.  Wednesday morning (yes, morning) they make their second visit of the season to Hartford to take on the Wolfpack.  Then it’s back to Bridgeport for a two game set, Saturday evening and a quick turnaround on Sunday afternoon.

Pop Quiz Answer: The 1994-95 Albany River Rats started the season with 4 wins and 3 ties (remember those?) before taking a 6-2 loss to Binghamton on October 21, 1994 at the then named Knickerbocker Arena.  Oh by the way…this team went on to win the Calder Cup the following May.  A positive sign for this year’s group?  We shall see.

 

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