Just Crushing It…

Coming into basically the first full week of the season, things were looking good for the Devils.  After a hard luck opening loss, they rebounded in their home opener to beat Utica.  With the first matchup against their neighbors to the north and the annual Norfolk trek looming, the goal was to build off Saturday’s success.  And they did just that, taking a possible five of six standings points (and were a shootout away from a perfect week…yes that old habit came to haunt them).  Reviewing the week that was:

10/14 vs. Adirondack: 4-1 W

The week began with a Monday afternoon matchup–and the first of 12 this season–against the Phantoms.  A very busy first period saw Albany kill off 4 Adirondack power plays (both referees were, shall we say, a little whistle happy when it came to Albany?) and score twice on 10 shots.  Joe Whitney got the home team on the board late in the first with a power play tally.  Then with 10 seconds left in the period, Tim Sestito was awarded and scored on a penalty shot for a 2-0 advantage.  Second period was more Devils, as they killed off 3 more Phantom power play chances and notched their second power play goal of the day, this one off the stick of Scott Timmins for a 3-0 lead.  Things finally settled down during the third, but Scott Wedgewood lost a shutout bid on a Rob Bordson goal to cut the lead to 3-1.  But it was Sestito to the rescue again, as he scored his second of the day with just under 6 minutes to go in the game for a 4-1 advantage.  Wedgewood played very well in his season debut, stopping 24 of 25 Phantom shots and earning #2 star honors.  Reid Boucher added two assists in the win.


Stefan Matteau-Mike Sislo-Rod Pelley

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Reid Boucher

Harri Pesonen-David Wohlberg-Tim Sestito

Cam Janssen-Darcy Zajac-Chris McKelvie

Extras/Scratches: Mike Hoeffel, Kelly Zajac

The line shuffler was in effect again, as later on I saw Pesonen-Matteau-Sislo (during a PP), Boucher-Timmins-Janssen (there’s a head scratcher), McKelvie-Pelley-Sislo, and Sestito-McKelvie-Zajac.

Defense Pairings:

Jon Merrill/Eric Gelinas

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Seth Helgeson

Extra/Scratch: Corbin McPherson

Later on I saw Burlon/Scarlett and Merrill/Scarlett for a few shifts.

10/18 at Norfolk: 2-1 L (SO)

The Devils packed up and headed south to Virginia for the first of back to back matchups with the Admirals.  Both teams traded power play goals in the first period, Steven Whitney (the younger brother of Joe) 7 minutes into the period, followed by Eric Gelinas’s first of the season about 6 minutes later.  After that, it became a tale of two goalies, as both Keith Kinkaid and John Gibson kept both teams off the scoresheet.  And there were barely any penalties called earlier, which is a little surprising since Jamie Koharski (of #BlameKoharski fame) was running things.  After 3 periods was not enough to settle things, it was off to the first overtime of the season for Albany.  The Devils had at least 3 good chances to end it, but Gibson stopped all 4 Devil shots, while Kinkaid only faced 1 from the Admirals.  It was on to the one thing the Devils probably did not want to see happen: the shootout, where last season Albany dropped 12 of these.  And the team picked up right where it left off, as Gibson stopped Mike Sislo, Reid Boucher, Stefan Matteau, and Joe Whitney, while Kinkaid allowed Joseph Cramarossa and Devante Smith-Pelly to score.  All this despite the Devils outshooting Norfolk 32-22, staying out of the penalty box (only two power plays for Norfolk all game), and more or less dominating in their zone, only to walk away with just one point.  Kinkaid stopped 20 of 21 shots in regulation and overtime.  Jon Merrill and Scott Timmins had the lone assists, while Gelinas took an astounding 9 shots on goal.


Rod Pelley-Mike Sislo-Stefan Matteau

Reid Boucher-Scott Timmins-Joe Whitney

David Wohlberg-Tim Sestito-Harri Pesonen

Chris McKelvie-Mike Hoeffel-Cam Janssen

Extras/Scratches: Darcy Zajac, Kelly Zajac

Later line combinations: Sestito-Hoeffel-McKelvie, Pelley-Boucher-Sislo, Whitney-Timmins-Pesonen, Sestito-Wohlberg-Matteau, Pelley-McKelvie-Hoeffel.

Defense Pairings:

Jon Merrill/Eric Gelinas

Reece Scarlett/Dan Kelly

Seth Helgeson/Brandon Burlon

Extra/Scratch: Corbin McPherson

10/19 at Norfolk: 2-1 W (SO)

For the rematch, just a few lineup changes: Scott Wedgewood got the start, while Corbin McPherson and Darcy Zajac switched spots with Reece Scarlett and Mike Hoeffel.  But it turned into the same goaltending duel as the night before, as neither team was able to get a goal across in the first.  Scott Timmins put the visitors on the board halfway through the second on a power play goal (yes, another one!).  The story of the game came in the third, when with 5 minutes left in regulation (and McPherson sitting in the box due to one of those wonderful delay of game calls), Charlie Sarault tied the game at 1-all.  Just shortly after that, a very scary moment: Mike Sislo was crushed on a center ice hit by Norfolk’s Devante Smith-Pelly.  A stretcher and the EMT crew was called out, but not needed as Sislo was able to get up and skate off with help.  To add insult, Brandon Burlon was penalized for going after Smith-Pelly after the hit…but Smith-Pelly got nothing.  Albany managed to kill off the ensuing penalty kill and it was off to overtime for the second straight night.  The Devils outshot Norfolk 3-0 in the extra session, but could not get the game winner past John Gibson, who was spectacular once again in net.  It was on to another shootout, where for once Albany was successful.  Stefan Matteau and Joe Whitney scored in the second and third round (Reid Boucher missed in round 1), while Wedgewood stopped all 4 Norfolk shooters.  Albany managed to escape Virginia with 3 out of 4 standings points, a rather successful trip considering their history in that building (and it goes back to the Devil Rats days, I always cringed when it was Norfolk weekend).  Whitney and Eric Gelinas had the lone assists, while Wedgewood won his second straight by stopping 25 of 26 shots in regulation and overtime.


Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Reid Boucher

Mike Sislo-Stefan Matteau-Rod Pelley

Harri Pesonen-David Wohlberg-Tim Sestito

Darcy Zajac-Chris McKelvie-Cam Janssen

Extra/Scratches: Mike Hoeffel, Kelly Zajac

Defense Pairings:

Jon Merrill/Eric Gelinas

Seth Helgeson/Brandon Burlon

Dan Kelly/Corbin McPherson

Extra/Scratch: Reece Scarlett

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

As of now, no video has yet to surface from last night’s two bouts.  Stay tuned to this space.

My Player of the Week:

I found it easy to pick this week’s honoree…2 wins, 49 saves on 51 shots in those two games, and 4 for 4 in the first shootout win of the season…how could I not pick Scott Wedgewood?

Team Leaders:

Goals: Scott Timmins/Joe Whitney (3)

Assists: Scott Timmins/Jon Merrill (4)

Points: Scott Timmins (7)

Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (17)

Plus/Minus: Scott Timmins/Joe Whitney (+3)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (2)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (0.96)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.961)


-What was basically a formality became official on Friday, as the ECHL’s Elmira Jackals announced an affiliation agreement with the Devils.  They began their regular season Friday night in Wheeling against the Nailers, losing 3-2.  Maxime Clermont took the loss, stopping 15 of 18 Nailer shots.  Since Elmira is only a 3 hour drive west of Albany, if the schedule and weather allows I may make the drive to check on the prospects playing there.

-At the beginning of the week, there was only one injury that I was aware of: forward Kelly Zajac, who has been out since camp with an undisclosed ailment.  After last night, two more may be added to the list: Darcy Zajac left after the second period after a fight with Norfolk’s Peter Holland, and there is no update on Mike Sislo’s condition after the center ice hit he took.

This Week’s Schedule:

A busy week with three games, but all much closer to home.  Wednesday night the Devils make their first trip west to Utica for the Comets home opener.  Then it’s the beginning of a four game homestand, with Hartford visiting on Friday night and Portland coming in on Saturday afternoon.


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