Happy October! Finally things are starting to pick up. Before looking ahead to the end of the week and the start of the season (as I am writing this, there are exactly 6 days, 7 hours, and 58 minutes to the home opener on Saturday), let’s take a look at how the Devils 3 preseason tuneups went this week…and it’s looking pretty good.
Game 1, Tuesday September 27th: 3-1 W at Connecticut
The Devils started things off with a victory over the Whale at Trinity College outside Hartford. Beforehand they received help from the parent club, having Chad Wiseman, Matt Anderson, Stephen Gionta, Steve Zalewski and Keith Kinkaid come down for the night. Wiseman contributed a goal and an assist, while Kinkaid got the win in net making 30 saves. Nathan Perkovich and Darcy Zajac also scored.
Game 2, Friday September 30th: 2-2 at Portland
Friday night the Devils hit the road to West Springfield, MA and Olympia Ice Center for a game against the Pirates, a team they will not face during the regular season. The game had to be stopped after 2 periods tied at 2 due to the Zamboni breaking down (per friends of mine who traveled out there for the game; if not for an early Saturday wakeup call for work I would have gone myself). Mike Sislo and Joseph Whitney each contributed a goal, while rookie goaltender Maxime Clermont (working without a backup; heaven forbid if he got injured or pulled a Justin Pogge and got ejected) had 15 saves.
Game 3, Saturday October 1st: 3-1 W at Adirondack
For the final tuneup, Albany headed up the Northway (as we all will be doing several times this season) to the Glens Falls Civic Center to pay the Phantoms a visit. Before the game, New Jersey made more cuts, officially reassigning Matt Anderson, Chad Wiseman, Jeff Frazee, Steve Zalewski and Stephen Gionta to Albany. All but Gionta (recovering from a hit by the Islanders’ Ryan Strome in Friday’s night win for New Jersey) made the trip and came up big. Zalewski and Anderson each scored a goal, Whitney notched a goal and an assist, and Frazee was very strong in net, making 36 saves in the win. It was my first look at this year’s team, and if this past week is any indication, things may actually be looking good here this season.
Looking ahead to this week’s events: Tuesday night is the 2nd annual Fan Fest at the TU Center with the team (and I’ll actually be able to attend this year!), a few more cuts to come down from New Jersey which could be as early as tomorrow from what I’ve been reading (New Jersey wrapped up their preseason schedule last night with a win over Philadelphia…franchise sweep!), at least Kinkaid comes down and a few more forwards. Then Saturday night it begins for real…the home opener against the revamped and loaded up Springfield Falcons, followed by an afternoon tilt next Sunday against Bridgeport. I’ll probably have a post out with the final roster (and maybe a Fan Fest summary), then first preview on Saturday.