It was a quiet week here in Albany…well, game wise anyway. One game, but a few roster moves since last week. Let’s take a look at last night’s fun…
1/14 vs. Syracuse: 3-2 L (SO)
The Devils played their first home game in 2 weeks (and the first in 2012), hosting the Crunch for the second time this season (and third matchup overall). The atmosphere last night was something we haven’t seen here in quite awhile…thanks to GE Kids in Free Night, a Albany Devil record crowd was in house, over 6200 in the stands. And there were a few special furry guests in the building to celebrate Devil Dawg’s birthday: N.J. Devil (New Jersey’s mascot…obviously), Southpaw from the Valleycats (local baseball…and my summer distraction), and Finz (Worcester’s mascot). The Devils were plagued by another slow first period start, only registering 2 shots on goal. But Keith Kinkaid held the Crunch in check, stopping all 9 shots he faced. Second period things started picking up on both sides. Nathan Perkovich opened the scoring about 7 minutes into the period, only to have the Crunch’s John Kurtz answer with a goal of his own barely 40 seconds later. Brandon McMillan gave the Crunch a 2-1 advantage about a minute and a half later. Perkovich retied the game with his second goal of the night with 3 and a half minutes left in the period (Mike Banwell assisted on both goals, by the way). Nothing across during the third period, mostly in large part to Kinkaid coming up big with several acrobatic saves, or during overtime as well. Then came the bonus round…when the Crunch finally found a way to get the puck past Kinkaid. Four out of five Crunch shooters scored, while only 3 Devils (Mike Sislo, Jacob Josefson, Joe Whitney) scored on Crunch netminder Marco Cousineau, giving the Crunch a 3-2 shootout win. Despite the loss, I felt the team did very well…perfect penalty kill (4 for 4), another night of outshooting their opponent (35-31), and Kinkaid had another solid outing despite taking the loss.
-Two roster moves this week: Tim Sestito cleared waivers on Tuesday and was reassigned to Albany, along with forward Jacob Josefson, who is on the comeback trail after suffering a broken clavicle on October 21st. Sestito played in 18 games and didn’t register a point. I believe Josefson is just down for conditioning for at least the next week, but it could vary depending on New Jersey’s needs (Travis Zajac is back on injured reserve and Adam Henrique missed yesterday due to a slight injury, leaving only 3 healthy centers on the roster).
-Injury front: no changes from last week, Jay Leach, Matt Corrente and Steve Bernier remain out. Chad Wiseman may return to the lineup shortly from a lower body injury and some paternity leave time…he returned home to Canada while the team was in Norfolk for the birth of his first child, a baby boy.
A very busy week ahead, 4 games on tap. The homestand continues Monday afternoon with a special holiday game against Adirondack (and the resumption of the Sestito…I mean Time Warner Cable Cup), followed by a visit from Norfolk on Wednesday night. Two road games to close out the week, but the Devils won’t be going far: Friday night it’s up the Northway to Glens Falls to face the Phantoms, then Saturday a trip east on the Mass Pike to Springfield to square off against the Falcons. Three out of four divisional matchups coming, and with 5 points separating all 5 teams in the division, it’s a critical week to gain some standings ground.