A Holiday Dozen

A short holiday week awaited the Devils, as they enjoyed some home cooking against two divisional rivals.  And it was a very interesting showing, as Albany took three out of four standings points and broke out for their biggest offensive outburst of the season.  Reviewing the weekend:

11/29 vs. Adirondack: 4-3 L (OT)

The brief weekend began with the second visit of the month from their neighbors to the north, the Phantoms.  Despite Albany outshooting Adirondack by a 12-4 margin in the first period, they were the ones that landed in an early hole.  Petr Straka got the Phantoms on the board less than 5 minutes into the first period for a 1-0 lead.  Then the Devils caught a break, as Phantoms starter Yann Danis, who shut the Devils out earlier in the month and in the third period in relief on Saturday, was forced to leave the game 11:12 in due to injury, and Cal Heeter (who the Devils peppered for five goals the weekend earlier) was brought in.  Harri Pesonen greeted him a minute later with his first goal of the season to tie the game at 1.  But just over a minute later, Kris Newbury would take the lead back for Adirondack.  Jason Akeson made it a 3-1 lead just 13 seconds into the second period.  But then the Devils would slowly start to chip away at the lead.  Reece Scarlett scored his second of the season on a power play to cut the lead to 3-2.  Then Tim Sestito appeared to have the tying goal, but referee T.J. Luxmore waved it off due to an apparent high stick.  Albany would eventually get that tying goal, off the stick of Reid Boucher (his fourth straight game with a goal) with 4:34 to go in regulation to tie the game at 3.  It was on overtime for the fourth time this season, where just 27 seconds in Kelly Zajac took a hooking call.  And it would cost the Devils an extra point, as Bruno Gervais would score the game winner 1:15 later for the Phantoms.  All that despite the Devils outshooting the Phantoms 38-20.  What probably should have been an easy night for Keith Kinkaid really wasn’t, as he stopped just 16 shots (2 for 4 in the first period…ouch).  Zajac did register two assists, while three other Devils had one assist each.  And the biggest story, well at least for me?  Harry Young finally, finally, finally made his season debut after sitting for almost two weeks.

Lines:

For the second straight game, 11 forwards/7 defensemen were used.

Joe Whitney-Stefan Matteau-Tim Sestito

Kelly Zajac-Reid Boucher-Mike Sislo

Harri Pesonen-Rod Pelley-Chris McKelvie

David Wohlberg-Mike Hoeffel-Matteau

A few other combinations: Pelley-McKelvie-Sislo, Whitney-Sestito-McKelvie, Boucher-Wohlberg-Hoeffel

Extra: Riley Boychuk

Defense Pairings:

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Corbin McPherson/Seth Helgeson

Brandon Burlon/Raman Hrabarenka

Harry Young was the extra, paired with Scarlett, Hrabarenka, McPherson

Other pairings: Kelly/McPherson, Burlon/Scarlett, Burlon/McPherson, Helgeson/Scarlett, Kelly/Hrabarenka

11/30 vs. Bridgeport: 8-6 W

For the second half of the weekend slate, the Devils welcomed Bridgeport for the second time in 19 days.  And this night was one for the record books.  It all started 3:04 into the game on a Nick Larson goal and a 1-0 lead for the Sound Tigers.  Mike Sislo would answer with a power play goal three minutes later to tie it.  Five minutes later, Mike Keenan (no, not THAT Mike Keenan) scores on a power play for a 2-1 lead.  But Reid Boucher would tie it up less than four minutes later.  Tim Sestito would add his fifth just 46 seconds later for a 3-2 lead.  And to top it off, Reece Scarlett would score on a power play with just 3 seconds to go for a 4-2 lead.  So if you’re keeping track: Albany scored 4 goals on 10 shots, Bridgeport 2 on 9 shots.  Second period would see more of the same…Alan Quine would bring Bridgeport back to within one.  But Sislo would score his second of the game less than 4 minutes later for a 5-3 advantage.  Not to be outdone, Chris Bruton would cut the lead to 5-4.  Then the second period was forced to end early when Raman Hrabarenka sent a Sound Tiger into the glass…and for the second time in a little over a month the pane completely shattered.  Luckily no one got the brunt of it in the seats, it was more on the ice surface than in the stands.  When play resumed, Matt Donovan would quickly tie the game up at 5.  But Stefan Matteau would score on a power play with less than a minute in the period to make it 6-5.  So once again, if you’re keeping track: Albany had 2 goals on 14 shots, Bridgeport 3 for 3.  On to the third, where Matteau would score his second of the game unassisted just under 6 minutes in for a 7-5 lead.  Chris McKelvie would make it 8-5 7 minutes later, and the Sound Tigers would make a goaltending change.  Six seconds after that switch, Larson scored his second of the game to make it 8-6.  Bridgeport could not get any closer, and the Devils held on with their biggest goal outburst of the season.  A very tough day for Scott Wedgewood in net, but he managed to pick up the win, stopping 9 of 15 shots.  Kelly Zajac and Dan Kelly had two assists each, while three other Devils had one.

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Stefan Matteau-Tim Sestito

Harri Pesonen-Rod Pelley-Chris McKelvie

Kelly Zajac-Reid Boucher-Mike Sislo

Riley Boychuk-David Wohlberg-Mike Hoeffel

Defense Pairings:

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Brandon Burlon/Raman Hrabarenka

Extra: Harry Young

Other pairings: Hrabarenka/McPherson, Scarlett/Burlon, McPherson/Scarlett

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

No face punching or glove dropping this week…

My Player of the Week:

Two players get the nod this week: Stefan Matteau and Mike Sislo.  Both had 3 point games on Saturday and each contributed an assist on Friday night.  Honorable mention to Reid Boucher for extending his goal scoring streak to 5 games.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Reid Boucher (10)

Assists: Joe Whitney (13)

Points: Joe Whitney (21)

Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (34)

Plus/Minus: Reece Scarlett (+7)

Wins: Keith Kinkaid (7)

GAA: Keith Kinkaid (2.15)

Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.912)

Elmira Update:

Not a bad week for the Jackals, as they went 2-1-0-1.  Maxime Clermont did not make an appearance in net during the week.

Notes:

-On Wednesday, just before I left for New Jersey, Seth Helgeson was already down there taking part in morning skate as an emergency callup after an injury to Eric Gelinas on Monday.  He was reassigned to the team later in the day when Gelinas was good to go against Carolina.

-Injury front is, well, status quo: just Scott Timmins and Darcy Zajac still out.

This Week’s Schedule:

A light week once again for the Devils, but a tough one nonetheless.  On Wednesday they host the division leading Falcons.  Then it’s off to Binghamton on Saturday for the first matchup of the season against the Senators.

And on Sunday comes the annual Booster Club Bowlathon, kicking off the December team events.  Stay tuned for the special photo gallery later in December from all 3 (Bowlathon, Holiday Party, STH Holiday Skate).

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