Coming off a 1 point weekend, the Devils found themselves in a much too familiar spot…the basement. With only two games on the docket, they needed to get back on track…and were halfway successful, going 1-1 despite being down a man for a majority of the time. Looking back:
The weekend began with the first ever visit to Albany from the Icecaps, a team the Devils split a weekend series with in Canada just two weeks ago. The game had an uneventful start, with just one power play (to the Devils) and the Icecaps outshooting Albany 9-8. Second period things tipped the way of the Icecaps, thanks in part to 4 penalties called on the Devils in a 8:11 span (I would say 1 or 2 were quite questionable). The penalty kill was successful in the first 2, but on the 3rd penalty Zach Redmond scored just 51 seconds in to put St. John’s on the board. And that was all goaltender Eddie Pasquale needed. No matter what the Devils tried, they could not get any kind of offense going, whether it was a missed pass, a turnover, or just not getting anything on net. The Devils did have their chance in the 3rd period with two back to back power play chances, but to no avail. Jeff Frazee played very well in the hard luck loss, stopping 22 of 23 shots and earning 3rd star honors.
The Devils finished the weekend with their second trip north of the season to Glens Falls to face Adirondack. Much like the night before, penalty calls got to them early, as they had to kill off two consecutive power plays halfway through the first period (I should mention that there were two refs: Jarrod Ragusin, who called the game in Albany Friday night, and our old friend and Glens Falls native Chris Brown. Remember that as I go along). But with just 3.0 seconds left on the clock in the first, a breakthrough. Joe Whitney scored his second of the season to get the Devils on the board. The momentum carried over early into the second period, as just 31 seconds in Jacob Josefson scored his team leading 8th goal for a 2 goal cushion, something the Devils haven’t enjoyed in quite a few games. The Phantoms did get on the board against Keith Kinkaid during their third power play chance (before the Devils even had their first I should add), Erik Gustafsson cut the lead to 1. Mattias Tedenby added an insurance goal early in the 3rd to put the lead back up to 2, and that goal was much needed. With goalie Cal Heeter pulled late on yet another Phantoms power play, Tye McGinn got a 6 on 4 goal with less than 2 minutes remaining to put it at 3-2. But Kinkaid and the Devils were able to hang on and snag the win, their 3rd against Adirondack this season. Kinkaid had an excellent showing in goal, stopping 44 of 46 shots and earning #1 star of the game honors. Five Devils had assists and captain Jay Leach finished a +3. And if you were keeping track of power play chances? The Devils had only 2 (obviously they were 0 for 2), the Phantoms 7. A little one-sided, shall we say?
Overall on the weekend the special teams were out quite a bit, killing 8 of 11 power plays (most consecutive) but going 0 for 5.
Scratch another one off the injury list…and off to Trenton. Forward Kelly Zajac got his first action of the season in, but after he was reassigned to Trenton on Friday. Dan Kelly sat out the weekend, but has been skating. J.S. Berube remains the last one out long term, I have yet to even see him up here this season.
The Week Ahead:
Another light schedule this week. After a rare Friday night off (how will I entertain myself!?), the Devils are back on home ice Saturday afternoon for their first matchup of the season against Bridgeport. Then Sunday afternoon it’s off to Hartford to take on the Whale. Two divisional games coming up, hopefully the Devils can build on last night and try to beat someone other than the Phantoms. Out of their 5 wins, 3 are against Adirondack. The other two opponents? Worcester and St. John’s.