I must say it was not a bad week here for the Devils. Two games against former East Division rivals produced two very good wins, one against a team they have never defeated before. Let’s recap the week:
12/19 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 2-1 W
The week began with a rare Monday night tilt against the Penguins in northeast Pennsylvania, a team the Devils had yet to beat since the franchise started out in Lowell 6 years ago. I wasn’t around to listen to this one due to family reasons…but our friends at Chirps From Center Ice were. You can find the postgame recap here. To quick summarize it: Mike Hoeffel scored his first 2 goals of the season and Jeff Frazee turned aside 25 shots despite being banged up. It was the first win for a Devils affiliate against the Penguins since the River Rats days, going back to late in the 2004-05 season (that nugget of info per The Citizens Voice).
12/21 vs. Binghamton: 3-0 W
To round out the week, the Devils hosted the front end of a home and home against the defending Calder Cup champs. The story here had to be Keith Kinkaid, who after not getting in the lineup for a couple of games came out and was outstanding in net, stopping everything the B-Sens shot at him. Other than a one punch fight between the Sens’ Mark Borowiecki and the Devils’ Mike Banwell, and a late battle between former River Rat Tim Conboy and Stephane Veilleux, not much action during the first period. The Devils took the game over during the second, scoring twice (goals by Joe Sova and Vladimir Zharkov) on former teammate Mike McKenna. Kinkaid shut the B-Sens down after that, earning his second shutout of the season and stopping 36 shots. Nick Palmieri added an empty netter late in the 3rd period to seal the win. Combined with a regulation loss by Adirondack in Connecticut, the Devils leap frogged over their Northway rivals into second place in the Northeast Division, just five points behind the Whale for the top spot.
-The only roster move this week was newly acquired goaltender Timo Pielmeier being summoned from Elmira to back up Keith Kinkaid on Wednesday. As mentioned earlier, Jeff Frazee was injured Monday night when a Penguin player crashed his net. He did manage to finish the game and earn the win.
-Injury updates: Matt Corrente returned to the lineup Wednesday after sitting out about a month. Jay Leach is back out after re-aggravating a lower body injury. The splint is off of Dan Kelly’s broken nose, but he then came down with strep throat, no timetable for his return. Nathan Perkovich is now out, joining Steve Bernier and his broken thumb on the sidelines.
-Myles Stoesz finished his 4 game suspension and was eligible to play Wednesday, but was a healthy scratch. His eye is still healing, as I got to see it kind of up close Sunday at the annual season ticket holder holiday skate.
After 3 days off to enjoy Christmas with their families, the boys are right back to work on Monday to start a 4 game week. Monday night is a rematch with the Senators, this time in the Southern Tier. Tuesday night it’s off to Hartford to take on the first place Whale. Friday night comes the one home game of the week, they host Manchester. Finally to end the calendar year it’s off to Glens Falls for a Time Warner Cable Cup matchup with the Phantoms.
Finally…Merry Christmas everyone! For a gift I present the greatest Christmas hockey video EVER…enjoy!