Game #64: Albany vs. Hershey

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY. Time: 4:00 PM.

Season Series:

Hershey leads 2-1.

Standings:

Albany: 27-25-6-5, 65 points, 4th place in Northeast Division, tied for 10th in Eastern Conference

Hershey: 33-20-4-6, 76 points, 3rd place in East Division, 5th place in Eastern Conference

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Joe Whitney, 36 points (13 G, 23 A); Steve Zalewski, 35 points (16 G, 19 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 33 points (12 G, 21 A)

Hershey: Chris Bourque, 79 points (25 G, 54 A); Jacob Micflikier, 56 points (21 G, 35 A); Ryan Potulny, 50 points (23 G, 27 A)

Goaltending:

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 10-15-2, 2.73 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 15-16-3, 2.75 GAA

Hershey: Braden Holtby, 20-15-2, 2.61 GAA; Dany Sabourin, 13-9-4, 2.96 GAA

Miscellaneous:

Adam Henrique bobblehead giveaway (first 2000); Post game skate and autograph session on the concourse

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); 1460 AM The Ticket (Hershey)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @TheHersheyBears, @ScottStuccio (Hershey)

Game #63: Albany at Hershey

Location: Giant Center, Hershey, PA. Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series:

Tied at 1.

Standings:

Albany: 27-25-6-4, 64 points, tied for 3rd place in Northeast Division, tied for 9th in Eastern Conference

Hershey: 32-20-4-6, 74 points, 3rd place in East Division, 5th place in Eastern Conference

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Steve Zalewski, 35 points (16 G, 19 A); Joe Whitney, 35 points (12 G, 23 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 33 points (12 G, 21 A)

Hershey: Chris Bourque, 79 points (25 G, 54 A); Jacob Micflikier, 56 points (21 G, 35 A); Ryan Potulny, 48 points (23 G, 25 A)

Goaltending:

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 10-15-2, 2.73 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 15-16-2, 2.78 GAA

Hershey: Braden Holtby, 20-15-2, 2.61 GAA; Dany Sabourin, 12-9-4, 3.01 GAA

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); 1460 AM The Ticket (Hershey)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @TheHersheyBears, @timleone (Hershey)

Game #62: Albany at Binghamton

Location: Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, Binghamton, NY. Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series:

Binghamton leads 4-3.

Standings:

Albany: 27-24-6-4, 64 points, 3rd place in Northeast Division, 8th place in Eastern Conference

Binghamton: 24-34-2-2, 52 points, 5th place in East Division, 15th place in Eastern Conference

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Joe Whitney, 35 points (12 G, 23 A); Steve Zalewski, 34 points (16 G, 18 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 33 points (12 G, 21 A)

Binghamton: Mike Hoffman, 42 points (17 G, 25 A); Corey Locke, 41 points (10 G, 31 A); Andre Petersson, 35 points (17 G, 18 A)

Goaltending:

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 10-14-2, 2.68 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 15-16-2, 2.78 GAA

Binghamton: Mike McKenna, 13-17-1, 2.89 GAA; Robin Lehner, 9-18-1, 3.38 GAA

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); WBBI 107.5 FM (Binghamton)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @BSens_Hockey, @PSBSensInGame, @PSBJoyOnTheSens (Binghamton)

And The Awards Go To…(2012 Edition)

A little early this year (thanks to the AHL schedule makers) but earlier tonight was the annual Booster Club Awards Banquet. There were statistical awards, fan voted awards, and a couple from the Bowlathon as well. Let’s get right to the list of winners, shall we? Following along with my program:

Bowlathon Awards:

Player’s High Game: J.S. Berube (with a 211; Keith Kinkaid tried to rig it by giving himself a 300 but it didn’t work)
Best Effort (lowest score): Vladimir Zharkov (no word on what the actual score was)

Acknowledgement of Achievements:

Goal Scoring Leader: Steve Zalewski (16)
Assist Leader: Joe Whitney (22)
Game Winning Goal Leader: Tim Sestito (4)
Short Handed Goals: Vladimir Zharkov (2) (Steve Bernier also with 2)
Power Play Goals: Steve Zalewski (7) (Eric Gelinas also with 7)
Hat Tricks: Stephane Veilleux (January 18), Joe Whitney (January 21)
First AHL Goals: Mike Sislo, Eric Gelinas, Brandon Burlon
First AHL Shutout: Keith Kinkaid

Player Awards:

3rd Star of the Year: Steve Zalewski
2nd Star of the Year: Nathan Perkovich
1st Star of the Year: Keith Kinkaid
(based on how many times a player received a star of the game)

Offensive Player of the Year: Joe Whitney
Defensive Player of the Year: Dan Kelly
Most Electrifying Player: Joe Whitney
Unsung Hero: Nathan Perkovich
Fan Favorite: Stephen Gionta
(voted on by members of the Booster Club)

Most Improved Player: Alexander Urbom
John Cunniff Memorial Award: Tim Sestito
(voted on by the coaching staff)

Thanks to the Booster Club for a fun dinner out and to my Table 6 mates, Joe Whitney and Brandon Burlon.

Bonus: Photo Gallery! (all photos by me)

Joe Whitney's hat trick hat
Stephen Gionta addressing the crowd
Nathan Perkovich showing off the hardware

A Downward Trend

Another 3 in 3 weekend in the books for the Devils. And it wasn’t an exactly pretty weekend, as the team only notched 1 out of a possible 6 points, and almost lost a playoff position in the process. Time to take a look back:

3/9 at Syracuse: 2-1 L (SO)

The weekend began with the first of two trips to Syracuse to take on the Crunch, a rematch from Sunday afternoon’s one goal defeat. It was a good matchup of rookie goaltenders, Keith Kinkaid for Albany and Iiro Tarkki for Syracuse. The Crunch dominated play during the first period, but Kinkaid was up to the challenge, stopping all 11 Syracuse shots while Albany could only muster 3 on Tarkki. Peter Holland broke the scoreless tie halfway through the second period with a shot just over Kinkaid’s shoulder and in. The Devils started to wake up during the second, but could not get any offense going against Tarkki, who stopped all 15 shots in the second. It appeared that Tarkki would win a 1-0 goaltending duel (much like the one he and Jeff Frazee had back in November with Frazee winning that one, also 1-0), but with Kinkaid pulled for an extra attacker, Steve Zalewski finally got one past Tarkki to tie the game with just 35.7 seconds left. Nothing else across after that or into overtime, despite the Crunch having a late 4 on 3 opportunity. In the shootout, Mattias Tedenby and Matt Anderson (in his first game action since mid January) connected, but Kinkaid only managed to stop 1 out of 4 Crunch chances to give Syracuse the shootout win. Other than that, Kinkaid played extremely well, stopping 37 of 38 Crunch shots during regulation and OT.

3/10 at Adirondack: 4-3 L

Saturday it was back up north to Glens Falls for the latest Time Warner Cable Cup installment. And the Devils got things started in a hurry. Matt Anderson put the visitors on the board just 1:52 in for a quick 1-0 lead. But the Phantoms then took over, quickly taking the lead in a 1:27 span (the second goal on a power play) five minutes later. Later in the period the chippiness started…oh by the way it’s Faith and Family Night at the Civic Center. Second period came more Phantom goals and more chippiness. But there was also a penalty shot awarded to Matt Corrente, who could not get it past Adirondack goalie Michael Leighton. Shane Harper and Oliver Lauridsen added goals 27 seconds apart later in the second to pad the lead to 4-1, before another line brawl to end the period (did I mention it’s Faith and Family Night? No?). Third period the Devils started to rally, but it started a little too late. Nathan Perkovich cut the deficit to 2 with 4 and a half minutes remaining. Then with Jeff Frazee pulled, Steve Zalewski got the Devils to within 1, but there was only 15 seconds left in regulation, and the tying goal never came. Frazee managed to stop 28 of 32 Phantom shots in a losing cause.

3/11 at Syracuse: 4-1 L

Less than 24 hours later, it was back down the Thruway to Syracuse for the third matchup in 7 days against Syracuse. It was a rematch of Friday night’s goalies, Keith Kinkaid and Iiro Tarkki, but the result was anything but a goaltending duel. Mathieu Carle and Luca Caputi scored 35 seconds apart for a quick 2-0 Crunch lead (so quick the Crunch peanut gallery had to wait to tell Kinkaid he sucked…poor kid, he thought RPI was bad enough). Then the Devils started letting out some frustrations (of course a Sestito is in the middle of it all…someone had to step in with Tom out why not the big little bro?), but in the first fight they managed to escape with a power play chance. Peter Harrold capitalized on that chance and scored to cut the lead to 2-1. Then the fun continued with a near full on wrestling match at center ice (it was almost like the old River Rat-Crunch days all over again), and a later slashing minor to another Devil gave the Crunch a 5 on 3 advantage. Syracuse took advantage and made it a 3-1 lead after one period. Second period was all Crunch despite Albany outshooting them 13-10. Nick Schaus and Dan Sexton both scored on Kinkaid to make it a 5-1 lead. No scoring during the third, but one more fight for good measure (Nathan Perkovich took on John Kurtz) to end a frustrating weekend. Kinkaid stopped 32 of 37 shots in the loss.

Notes:

No transactions this week (probably will be few and far between with the Clear Day rosters in effect; still on the ATO watch), but two Devils came back from injury on Friday night: as mentioned earlier, Matt Anderson returned after sitting out since mid January, along with Tim Sestito, who had been out since late February. Jay Leach, Chad Wiseman, Alexander Urbom, Myles Stoesz, and Mike Banwell remain out.

Looking Ahead:

The schedule is not getting any easier for the Devils this week, as yet another 3 in 3 weekend looms. Friday night it’s one last visit to Binghamton to play the Senators (a building the Devils have yet to record a win in this season). Saturday night they travel down Interstate 81 to take on Hershey for the first time since November. The two teams then rematch in Albany on Sunday afternoon. And on Tuesday night is the annual Booster Club Awards Banquet, I will likely have the list of winners up after the dinner or sometime on Wednesday. Points will be at a premium this weekend, as the Devils now sit in 8th in the conference, just one point ahead of both Worcester and Adirondack. And with only 15 games left in the regular season (it ends one month from Thursday already), it’s getting late already.

Game #61: Albany at Syracuse

Location: Onondaga County War Memorial, Syracuse, NY. Time: 3:00 PM.

Season Series:

Syracuse leads 5-3.

Standings:

Albany: 27-23-6-4, 64 points, 3rd place in Northeast Division, 8th place in Eastern Conference

Syracuse: 25-27-4-4, 58 points, 4th place in East Division, 14th place in Eastern Conference

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Joe Whitney, 35 points (12 G, 23 A); Steve Zalewski, 34 points (16 G, 18 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 33 points (12 G, 21 A)

Syracuse: Patrick Maroon, 62 points (27 G, 35 A); Kyle Palmieri, 54 points (32 G, 22 A); Peter Holland, 47 points (21 G, 26 A)

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); The Score 1260 AM (Syracuse)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @SyracuseCrunch, @PSCrunchHockey (Syracuse)

Game #60: Albany at Adirondack

Location: Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls, NY. Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series:

Adirondack leads 4-3.

Standings:

Albany: 27-22-6-4, 64 points, 3rd place in Northeast Division, 7th place in Eastern Conference

Adirondack: 28-28-2-1, 59 points, 4th place in Northeast Division, tied for 11th in Eastern Conference

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Joe Whitney, 35 points (12 G, 23 A); Steve Zalewski, 33 points (15 G, 18 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 33 points (12 G, 21 A)

Adirondack: Jason Akeson, 44 points (10 G, 34 A); Matthew Ford, 38 points (19 G, 19 A); Denis Hamel, 34 points (17 G, 17 A)

Goaltending:

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 10-13-2, 2.63 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 15-15-2, 2.71 GAA

Adirondack: Michael Leighton, 19-21-0, 2.70 GAA; Jason Bacashihua, 8-9-1, 2.82 GAA

Miscellaneous:

Time Warner Cable Cup Game #8.

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); WNYQ 101.7 FM (Adirondack)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @PhantomsHockey, @PSPhantoms (Adirondack)

Game #59: Albany at Syracuse

Location: Onondaga County War Memorial, Syracuse, NY. Time: 7:30 PM.

Season Series:

Syracuse leads 4-3.

Standings:

Albany: 27-22-6-3, 63 points, 3rd place in Northeast Division, 7th place in Eastern Conference

Syracuse: 24-26-4-4, 56 points, 4th place in East Division, 14th place in Eastern Conference

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Joe Whitney, 34 points (13 G, 21 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 33 points (12 G, 21 A); Steve Zalewski, 32 points (14 G, 18 A)

Syracuse: Patrick Maroon, 58 points (26 G, 32 A); Kyle Palmieri, 53 points (32 G, 21 A); Peter Holland, 42 points (18 G, 24 A)

Goaltending:

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 10-13-2, 2.63 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 15-15-1, 2.77 GAA

Syracuse: Iiro Tarkki, 13-15-4, 2.67 GAA; Antero Niittymaki, 4-7-0, 3.36 GAA

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); The Score 1260 AM (Syracuse)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @SyracuseCrunch, @PSCrunchHockey (Syracuse)

Happy Clear Day!

No I did not create a new holiday…I’m not that powerful.

Technically yesterday, Clear Day is when every AHL team submits to the league a list of 22 players (20 skaters and 2 goalies) that would be the team’s “final” roster for the remainder of the regular season and into the Calder Cup playoffs. Any player that was listed on the roster at the NHL trade deadline last Monday was eligible to be included. Here is Albany’s official Clear Day roster:

Goalies: Jeff Frazee, Keith Kinkaid

Defense: Matt Corrente, Eric Gelinas, Peter Harrold, Dan Kelly, Jay Leach, Matt Taormina, Alexander Urbom

Forwards: Matt Anderson, Stephen Gionta, Mike Hoeffel, Brad Mills, Nathan Perkovich, Tim Sestito, Mike Sislo, Mattias Tedenby, Joe Whitney, Chad Wiseman, Darcy Zajac, Steve Zalewski, Vladimir Zharkov

The rest of the roster would be considered as “in residence” and would fill in if a player on this list is either injured, called up, or suspended. In this case, you have at least 2 defensemen out because of those conditions: Leach is out long term and Taormina is up in New Jersey. So someone like Brandon Burlon, who is not on the list, can still get in the lineup. With 3 forwards still out, Kory Nagy and J.S. Berube can still play as well.

Also something to think about: we’re getting close to the amateur tryout season. Any college/junior player that Albany signs during the rest of the regular season can also be eligible to play. Tom from In Lou We Trust has some candidates listed here as part of his weekly prospect update. (And yes, I am officially on Kelly Zajac ATO Watch.)

You can find the full list of Clear Day rosters here.

Taming, Spooking And Blaming

We have reached March, only a little over a month to go in the regular season. After an extended road trip, the Devils returned home for three straight. They ended up with 3 out of 6 points, but it easily could have been more if not for a few incidents. Read along and you’ll see what I mean:

3/2 vs. Bridgeport: 5-2 W

The weekend began with the third matchup against the Sound Tigers in 11 days, but this time not in Connecticut. The first period was all about Steve Zalewski and the power play, thanks to some early Bridgeport penalty trouble. With a 1:52 5 on 3 advantage, Zalewski cashed in and scored twice in a 1:17 span for a 2-0 Albany lead. Sunday’s game in Bridgeport also started out with a 2-0 Devil lead, till the Sound Tigers started to chip away. And on this night it almost started out that way. Rhett Rakhshani got Bridgeport on the board just one minute into the second period. But unlike Sunday, Albany stepped it up and put the game away. Brad Mills and Joe Whitney scored 1:40 apart later in the second for a 4-1 Albany advantage. Mattias Tedenby added the 5th goal early in the third period for a 4 goal advantage. Bridgeport showed a little life at the end and got to within 5-2, but no more. Despite a scary moment when a Sound Tiger crashed his net and shook him up, Jeff Frazee turned in a strong performance between the pipes, stopping 26 of 28 shots. Mike Sislo and Dan Kelly each contributed 2 assists, while 4 others had at least one helper.

3/3 vs. Adirondack: 3-2 L (OT)

The Time Warner Cable Cup resumed for the first time since late January with a visit from our neighbors to the north, the Phantoms. Albany got the edge early on with a Nathan Perkovich goal 5 minutes into the first period, while Keith Kinkaid stopped all 10 Phantom shots. Shane Harper scored early in the second period to tie things up, but Eric Gelinas would break the tie with a resounding ping shot from the blue line, off the iron and in past Michael Leighton (fact: that goal tied Gelinas for second on the team in goal scoring and first in the league among AHL defensemen). Penalty trouble in the 3rd period would cost the Devils the lead. Shane Harper would score his second of the game with under 7 minutes left in the third as Darcy Zajac was serving an interference call to tie it up at 2. Gelinas took a very late cross check call with 1 minute left in the third, putting the Devils a man down to finish regulation and starting overtime. They managed to kill that off, then gained a chance to get the win when Matthew Ford was called for slashing. They could not…and 11 seconds after leaving the box, Ford managed to get the game winner past Kinkaid for a 3-2 Adirondack win and a 4-3 lead in the season series. Kinkaid had an otherwise solid day, stopping 31 of 34 shots in a losing cause.

3/4 vs. Syracuse: 2-1 L

The weekend ended with another matchup against Syracuse, first of three in the next seven days. Syracuse got on the board early on in the first period with a Riley Holzapfel goal. Albany had a couple good chances against Crunch goaltender Iiro Tarkki but could not get anything going, other than hitting the crossbar once. Second period Tarkki and Jeff Frazee held everyone scoreless, but the story of the day was starting to unfold (at least in my opinion anyway)…our old friend Jamie Koharski was reffing today. The Devils didn’t even get their first power play till late in the second period after being shorthanded three times to start out. Third period was more of the same, and it may have cost the Devils a standings point at least. It appeared the Devils had tied it up at 1 (I couldn’t tell who tapped it in due to my vantage point), but Koharski waved it off because Joe Whitney (who, mind you, is 5’6″) supposedly high sticked a Crunch player as the puck went in. Later on, an unidentified Crunch went right into Frazee’s net and nearly took him out, knocking off his helmet. Despite a scrum in the corner, still nothing called. Then a slash to Matt Corrente was also not whistled. Really, Koharski? Then finally he gets his act together and calls J.F. Jacques for boarding. On the ensuing power play, Peter Harrold scored (and yes we’re sure this time) to tie it up at 1. But the tie only lasted less than 2 minutes, as Brandon McMillan scored the eventual game winner with less than 3 minutes remaining to give Syracuse a 2-1 win. Despite everything, Frazee did pretty well, stopping 21 of 23 shots in a losing cause and earning #3 star of the game honors.

Notes:

-Only one transaction this week, and technically it was on paper: defenseman Matt Taormina was temporarily reassigned and then recalled on Monday just to be eligible to be placed on the Clear Day roster, which is tomorrow (planning to have more about that when I see said roster).

-The walking wounded list is growing, especially after the last two visits to Bridgeport. Jay Leach, Matt Anderson, Tim Sestito, Chad Wiseman, Alexander Urbom, Harry Young, Myles Stoesz, and Mike Banwell are all out with assorted ailments. The only timetable I know for sure is Banwell, he told me Friday night about 2-3 weeks (he is currently sporting a walking boot after blocking a shot with his foot). Young did skate in warmup today, but did not play. He had thought he’d play over the weekend but didn’t get a game in (spoke to him Friday night as well).

Looking Ahead:

If you remember back when the schedule came out late summer there was one weekend in March I had a problem with because of the back and forth travel. Well folks, that weekend is now here. Friday night it starts down the Thruway in Syracuse with a Crunch rematch (and there better not be a Koharski in sight). Saturday night it’s northbound to Adirondack for the next Time Warner Cable Cup installment against the Phantoms (methinks no more Sestito Cup since both brothers are out injured). Then it’s back out on the Thruway Sunday afternoon to face the Crunch again. To summarize, it’s Syracuse-Adirondack-Syracuse. It probably would have made more sense to have the Crunch games back to back and have everyone stay overnight, but I don’t pick the schedule. Albany is still holding down a playoff spot, hanging on to 7th place in the Eastern Conference. Adirondack and Syracuse are two teams on the outside looking in. These are points that are well within reach.