Before we move on to tonight’s tilt between the Devils and Crunch at the War Memorial at Oncenter, let’s recap what happened Sunday afternoon in Albany. And you may want to get comfortable…
First period was virtually all Devils, as they scored 3 times and outshot their opponents 17-5. Nathan Perkovich saw his first action of the weekend and capitalized on the opportunity by scoring twice. Newly crowned AHL Player of the Week Chad Wiseman added a beautiful breakaway goal, his 6th goal in 4 games. Then came the second period and things started to get interesting…or should I say, chippy. Timo Pielmeier came out of the bullpen for the Crunch to relieve starter J.P. Levasseur. Early on the gong show started…Olivier Magnan was called for high sticking, but former Phantom Patrick Maroon decides to shove him from behind. Ding ding ding here comes Round 1. I gave Maroon the win by takedown. Three minutes later Round 2 breaks out by the benches, Chris Murray vs. Mat Clark. We’ll give it an even. Right after that, noted goal scorer Brian McGrattan gets Syracuse on the board. Things stayed quiet then Round 3 breaks out in the corner between Sean Zimmerman and David McIntyre. Sadly it was on the other side of the rink from my vantage point, can’t declare a real winner there. Peace was restored for the remainder of the period, one that saw the Crunch take over and outshoot the Devils 14-3, but Mike McKenna only let the one goal slip by.
Then came the third period…that’s when the fun truly began. Pierre Luc Leblond scored his 5th early on to restore the 3 goal lead. Then John Kurtz made the “mistake” of throwing Louis Robitaille down in the corner. What happened? You guessed it, Round 4 by the benches. Have to give Kurtz the win by turtle on that one. 3 minutes later came Round 5 and The Main Event: Leblond vs. McGrattan. The longest bout of the day between two veteran fighters, calling it even. 2 seconds later came Round 6, Harry Young vs. Leigh Salters, another even bout. Things stayed rather quiet till less than 2 minutes left in the game, Sean Zimmerman knocked a Devil down, Leblond skated over for a “friendly chat” and pushed him. Leigh Salters came out of nowhere and knocked Leblond down…smooth move genius. Off goes Round 7 between Leblond and Salters, I would say Leblond dominated that one. Finally with 7 seconds left in the game, Round 8 for good measure, Young vs. Maroon. Another even bout. Oh by the way a hockey game did take place in between all the UFC-like activities…the Devils held on for a 4-1 victory.
Now we can finally move on today’s gong show…I mean rematch:
Season: This is meeting #7 of 8 between the two teams, with the series even at 3 wins apiece. They have one more matchup, on March 25th in Central New York.
Standings: The Crunch stand in 7th place in the East Division, with a 24-34-3-4 record and 55 points. They are 5 points behind 6th place Albany and 1 point ahead of 8th place Adirondack. The Devils start the day with a 28-34-1-3 record and 60 points, 15 points behind 5th place Binghamton.
Game time: 7 PM. I will be following along from home…