After losing two forwards to callup at the start of the week, it looked like it was going to be a long week for the Devils, with a matchup against the first place team in the division and a road game at a building they haven’t had much success in. But the depleted roster pulled it together and won both games, one via a comeback and the other in a shootout. Looking back at the week:
The Devils kicked off the month of December with a midweek matchup against the only team ahead of them in the Northeast Division standings, the Falcons. Springfield got on the board first via a Ryan Craig power play goal 6 minutes into the game. But Albany would very quickly erase that one goal deficit as Raman Hrabarenka (on a power play) and Rod Pelley would score just 14 seconds apart later in the period for a 2-1 advantage. Harry Young appeared to put the Devils up 3-1 early in the second on a beautiful shot from the blue line, but the referee would wave it off due to a phantom goaltender interference (I say phantom because no one but him saw it happen, apparently) call. But shortly after that Stefan Matteau would score for a 3-1 lead. Then the Falcons would completely take over the second period…Jean-Francois Jacques and Craig would score 2 minutes apart midway through the period to tie the game at 3. Michael Chaput would put Springfield ahead late in the period with another power play goal. The Devils were outshot by a ridiculous 19-3 margin in the period. Third period Albany woke up from their mid game slumber. The newest Devil Artem Demkov would tie the game at 4 just one minute into the third. Chris McKelvie would then score the go ahead goal 5 minutes later for a 5-4 lead. Mike Sislo would add an empty netter with 23 seconds remaining to ice it. A rather shaky night in net for Keith Kinkaid, but thanks to the suddenly hot offense he managed to pick up his 8th win, stopping 30 of 34 shots. Joe Whitney and Mike Hoeffel added two assists, while McKelvie (along with Springfield’s Michael Chaput) notched the famous Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
It was all hands on deck, as it was an 11 forward/7 defenseman lineup:
Harri Pesonen-Kelly Zajac-Mike Sislo
Artem Demkov-Joe Whitney-Stefan Matteau
Mike Hoeffel-Rod Pelley-Chris McKelvie
Sislo-Riley Boychuk-David Wohlberg
Other combinations: Zajac-Pesonen-Hoeffel, Pelley-McKelvie-Boychuk, Whitney-Zajac-Matteau…a lot of shuffling to say the least.
Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka
Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett
Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson
Harry Young was 7th D, paired with Hrabarenka, Burlon
Other pairings: Kelly/Scarlett, Helgeson/McPherson
12/7 at Binghamton: 3-2 W (SO)
The brief slate ended with a trip west on Interstate 88 to face the Senators for the first time this season. Harri Pesonen would put Albany on the board with a power play goal 8:15 into the first. Jean-Gabriel Pageau would tie the game at 1 early in the second, then Matt Puempel would put the B-Sens up 2-1 with a power play goal. Mike Sislo would retie the game late in the second with a power play goal of his own. The game would reach overtime, where Binghamton (who didn’t have more than 9 shots in a 20 minute period) outshot the Devils by an astounding 14-0 margin, but Keith Kinkaid stopped all of them. It was on to Albany’s fourth shootout of the season, where Joe Whitney and Artem Demkov would connect, while Kinkaid stopped 4 of 5 to gain the extra standings point. Albany is now 3-1 in shootouts this season after going 3-12 all of last season. Kinkaid picked up his 9th win and stopped 37 of 39 shots. Kelly Zajac added two assists, while 2 Devils had one assist each.
(Note: I was not around for this game, so no idea how lines/defense pairings went.)
Obligatory Fight of the Week:
Who knew the captain had some fight in him?
My Player of the Week:
A hard decision, but I’m giving it to the new guy, Artem Demkov. He stepped in to Tim Sestito’s spot on a line with Joe Whitney and Stefan Matteau and did not look out of place at all. He tied the game on Wednesday leading up to a win, then scored the game winner in the shootout in Binghamton on Saturday.
Goals: Joe Whitney/Mike Sislo (8)
Assists: Joe Whitney (15)
Points: Joe Whitney (23)
Plus/Minus: Reece Scarlett (+8)
Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (36)
Wins: Keith Kinkaid (9)
GAA: Keith Kinkaid (2.26)
Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.913)
The Jackals had only one game this week, a 4-3 shootout win at home over the Fort Wayne Komets (the two teams play again this afternoon). Maxime Clermont (pretty much the only one not in Albany at the moment) did not play in that game.
Transactions were covered earlier in the week, so all that’s left is the injury update. And it’s the same as last week, just Scott Timmins and Darcy Zajac. Timmins is very close to returning.
This Week’s Schedule:
Another week filled with divisional games. Tuesday morning the Devils travel to Bridgeport to take on the Sound Tigers (yes, morning…got to love 11 AM schoolday games!). Then starts a brief 2 game homestand, against the same Sound Tigers on Friday night, followed by Hartford on Saturday.