Game 40: Albany at Hershey

Where: Giant Center, Hershey, PA.

When: 5:00 PM.

Season Series:

Hershey leads 1-0.

Standings:

Albany: 23-11-3-2, 51 points, 2nd place in Northeast Division

Hershey: 18-14-3-3, 42 points, 4th place in East Division

Media Kit

Bears Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Brandon Segal, 33 points (13 G, 20 A); Jeff Taffe, 25 points (9 G, 16 A); Nicolas Deschamps, 22 points (11 G, 11 A)

David Leggio, 11-12-2, 2.73 GAA; Riley Gill, 2-1-0, 1.66 GAA

Listen: AHL Live, The Ticket 1460 AM

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheHersheyBears, @timleone

Game 39: Albany at Adirondack

Where: Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series:

Adirondack leads 4-3.

Standings:

Albany: 22-11-3-2, 49 points, 2nd place in Northeast Division

Adirondack: 20-15-0-2, 42 points, 3rd place in Northeast Division

Media Kit

Phantoms Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Jason Akeson, 34 points (13 G, 21 A); Kris Newbury, 23 points (12 G, 11 A); 2 tied with 18 points

Cal Heeter, 13-12-0, 2.16 GAA; Yann Danis, 6-3-2, 2.41 GAA

Listen: AHL Live, WNYQ 101.7 FM

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @PhantomsHockey, @dianacnearhos

2013-14 First Half Review: By the Numbers

Friday night in Utica marked Game #38, the official halfway point of the 2013-14 season.  Before kicking off the next 38 games, let’s take a look at the Devils’ progress so far this season:

Record: 22-11-3-2, 49 points.  2nd place in Northeast Division, 4th place in Eastern Conference, 7th in AHL

Home: 12-6-2-0
Away: 10-5-1-2

Team Leaders (Top 3):

Goals: Joe Whitney (16); Reid Boucher*/Mike Sislo (10); Scott Timmins (9)
Assists: Joe Whitney (20); Kelly Zajac (17); Scott Timmins (13)
Points: Joe Whitney (36); Mike Sislo/Scott Timmins/Kelly Zajac (22); Reid Boucher* (18)
+/-: Reece Scarlett (+11); Dan Kelly/Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson (+10); Mike Sislo/Scott Timmins (+9)
Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (63); Dan Kelly (53); Chris McKelvie (47)
Power Play Goals: Joe Whitney (5); Reece Scarlett (4); 2 others with 3
Power Play Assists: Joe Whitney (11); Kelly Zajac (7); Reid Boucher (6)*
Shorthanded Goals: 4 tied with 1
Shorthanded Assists: 3 tied with 1
Game Winning Goals: 3 tied with 3
Shots on Goal: Joe Whitney (108); Harri Pesonen (80); Reid Boucher (69)*

Wins: Keith Kinkaid (15)
GAA: Keith Kinkaid (2.22)
Shutouts: Keith Kinkaid (4)
Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid, .915

Team Stats (with league rankings):

Home Attendance: 2,906 (28th)
Penalty Minutes Average: 15.21 (21st)
Power Play: 16.8% (16th)
Penalty Kill: 81.6% (19th)
Goals For: 121, 3.18 (5th)
Goals Against: 97, 2.55 (5th)
Shots For: 28.26 (22nd)
Shots Against: 26.08 (2nd)

Comparing last year at this time to now?  Let’s take a look:

-Obviously in the win column.  7 more wins with 6 less shootout losses, for starters.

-Attendance is down by about 800, but last year there was the lockout to contend with.  And not a lot of big home dates early on.  But next weekend at home…and continuing play, and hopefully some better marketing, may change that.

-Much improved power play numbers, up 6 percent (I haven’t had to break out the power outage jokes in quite awhile).  But the penalty kill is down about 3 percent.

-The one thing I was worried about at the start of the season?  Goal production.  An increase of 22 goals over this time last season has calmed those fears down.  Goals against continues to improve over the years, as goals against has gone down by 8 thanks to Keith Kinkaid’s surge.

Second half begins tonight in Adirondack.  And the real test of whether this resurgence continues on begins.

Game 38: Albany at Utica

Where: Utica Memorial Auditorium, Utica, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series:

Albany leads 2-0.

Standings:

Albany: 21-11-3-2, 47 points, 2nd place in Northeast Division

Utica: 11-19-2-3, 27 points, 5th place in North Division

Media Kit

Comets Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Pascal Pelletier, 29 points (7 G, 22 A); Benn Ferriero, 25 points (10 G, 15 A); Alexandre Grenier, 23 points (11 G, 12 A)

Joacim Eriksson, 8-11-1, 2.84 GAA; Joe Cannata, 3-10-1, 3.32 GAA; Mathieu Corbeil, 0-0-1, 1.33 GAA

Listen: AHL Live, 94.9 KROCK

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @CometsInGame

Starting to Rebound

Coming off a rough week, the Devils looked to rebound against three big opponents, with two sharing the top of the Eastern Conference standings.  And they did get back on track, with two big wins sandwiched between two rough days.  A little of everything during a very busy week:

1/7 vs. Springfield: 3-2 L

The marathon week began on a rare Tuesday game, with the second visit in four days from the first place Falcons.  Michael Chaput’s first shot of the game (and the Falcons) ended up in the net just three minutes in for a fast 1-0 lead.  Mattias Tedenby would tie the game at 1 with his first goal since returning to Albany.  Chaput would strike again on the tail end of a Albany 4 minute power play with a lucky bounce past Keith Kinkaid to put Springfield ahead 2-1…on the second Falcon shot of the game.  After Kinkaid finally got his first save of the game, Darryl Boyce would follow up with a power play goal for a 3-1 lead.  All that despite Albany outshooting the Falcons 11-6 in the first.  Kinkaid and the rest of the team settled down nicely after that, but former Devil goaltender (and reigning AHL goaltender of the month) Mike McKenna was on his game.  Tedenby would score his second late in the second to get to within 3-2, but that was all they could do.  After a shaky first period, Kinkaid ended up stopping 18 of 21 shots in a loss.  Kelly Zajac continued his strong play of late, adding two assists.

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Stefan Matteau

Kelly Zajac-Mattias Tedenby-Artem Demkov

Rod Pelley-Harri Pesonen-Chris McKelvie

Mike Hoeffel-David Wohlberg-Riley Boychuk

Defense Pairings:

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Raman Hrabarenka

Extra: Harry Young

Other pairings: Kelly/Hrabarenka; Helgeson/Scarlett

1/10 at Springfield: 3-0 W

With some extra defensive personnel, it was off to Western Massachusetts to complete the home and home/3 out of 4 game stretch.  This time around, Scott Wedgewood drew the starting assignment.  Rod Pelley would get the visitors on the board halfway through the first.  Not much happened till late in the second, when Joe Whitney would score his team leading 13th on a nice breakaway shot to double the lead.  Artem Demkov would add his 4th goal 6 minutes into the 3rd to make it a 3-0 lead.  And Wedgewood took care of the rest, stopping all 21 Falcon shots in picking up his first AHL shutout.  The Devils played a near flawless game, only taking one penalty all evening.  Four Devils, including Adam Larsson in his first appearance in Albany since last January, picked up assists.  Alexander Urbom finished with an even plus/minus in his first game.

Lines:

With the influx of defensemen now on the roster, it was back to an 11/7 lineup.  And apparently coach couldn’t decide who to keep together:

Rod Pelley-Chris McKelvie-Harri Pesonen

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Stefan Matteau

Mattias Tedenby-Kelly Zajac-Artem Demkov

McKelvie-David Wohlberg-Mike Hoeffel

Also: Matteau-Zajac-Pesonen; Tedenby-Pelley-McKelvie; McKelvie-Pelley-Wohlberg; Whitney-Timmins-Pesonen; Zajac-Demkov-Wohlberg; Pelley-McKelvie-Hoeffel

Defense Pairings:

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Alexander Urbom/Adam Larsson

Burlon 7th D (?-just my guess), paired with Scarlett, McPherson

Also paired: Helgeson/Larsson; Urbom/Scarlett; Helgeson/Scarlett; Kelly/Urbom; Urbom/McPherson

Extras: Harry Young, Raman Hrabarenka

1/11 vs. Manchester: 5-2 W

Another home test awaited the Devils as the best team in the Eastern Conference, Manchester, came calling.  And Albany dodged a bullet as the Monarchs started Jean-Francois Berube over the recently demoted Martin Jones.  Maybe they should have.  Scott Timmins scored his 8th halfway through the first for a 1-0 lead.  Nick Shore would tie the game late in the period on a power play.  Then Albany took over in the second, outshooting the Monarchs 15-7 and scoring 3 times.  Kelly Zajac and Timmins scored 1:33 apart for a 3-1 lead.  Manchester would get back to within 3-2, but Joe Whitney would score on a power play late to boost the lead to 4-2.  Brandon Burlon would seal it with an empty netter late for the Devils second win in a row.  A much better outing for Keith Kinkaid this time around, as he stopped 21 of 23 shots for his 14th win.  Adam Larsson contributed 3 assists, while 4 others had one assist each.

Lines:

A little more manageable 11/7 lineup for this one:

Harri Pesonen-Chris McKelvie-Mike Hoeffel

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Stefan Matteau

Kelly Zajac-Mattias Tedenby-Artem Demkov

McKelvie-Riley Boychuk-David Wohlberg

Also seen: Pesonen-Timmins-Matteau; Whitney-Timmins-Wohlberg

Defense Pairings:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Adam Larsson/Alexander Urbom

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Brandon Burlon (guessing 7th D again?)-with Larsson, McPherson

Also paired: Kelly/McPherson, Larsson/McPherson, Larsson/Kelly, Helgeson/Hrabarenka

Extras: Harry Young, Reece Scarlett

1/12 vs. Hershey (at Atlantic City): 4-1 L

It was off to Atlantic City to finish the weekend, as the Devils “hosted” the Bears at Boardwalk Hall.  And apparently the Devils forgot to pack the last two games’ effort in making the trip south.  Just 10 seconds after the Devils started off their second penalty kill of the game, Brandon Segal would give the Bears a 1-0 lead late in the first.  The Bears made it 2-0 just 1:09 into the second on a Casey Wellman goal.  Artem Demkov would score his 5th to bring the Devils to within 1.  But Jeff Taffe (on a power play) and Dustin Gazley would score 2:08 apart to extend the lead to 4-1, chasing Keith Kinkaid out of the net after two periods.  Scott Wedgewood would play the third and keep Hershey off the scoreboard.  Albany would outshoot the Bears 14-5 in the third, but were unable to get any past Bears netminder Riley Gill, who earned his first AHL victory.  Kinkaid stopped 12 of 16, while Wedgewood was a perfect 5 for 5.  Dan Kelly would get the lone assist.

Lines:

I was watching video from home, with the camera angle of someone drunk or with a short attention span, so I tried my best with the latest 11/7 lineup.

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Stefan Matteau

Kelly Zajac-Artem Demkov-Mattias Tedenby

Rod Pelley-Chris McKelvie-Harri Pesonen

David Wohlberg-Mike Hoeffel-Whitney

Others: McKelvie-Pesonen-Hoeffel; Matteau-Pesonen-Zajac; Timmins-McKelvie-Matteau

Extra: Riley Boychuk

Defense Pairings:

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Adam Larsson/Seth Helgeson

Raman Hrabarenka/Brandon Burlon

Corbin McPherson 7th-with Kelly, Larsson

Extras: Harry Young, Alexander Urbom

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

Of course this happens on Kids in Free Day.  Nice throwdown by Stefan Matteau before the real fun got started, by the way.

My Player of the Week:

I’ll give the nod to Scott Wedgewood this week.  No goals allowed in 4 periods, including his first AHL shutout on Friday against a very good Springfield club.  And helped stop the bleeding in Atlantic City, albeit too little too late.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Joe Whitney (14)

Assists: Joe Whitney (20)

Points: Joe Whitney (34)

Plus/Minus: Reece Scarlett (+10)

Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (56)

Wins: Keith Kinkaid (14)

GAA: Keith Kinkaid (2.18)

Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.915)

Elmira Update:

The Jackals had a 3 in 3 weekend of their own, all against Reading.  And it was the Royals coming out on top, sweeping the 2 home/1 away game series to put Elmira’s record on the season at 10-19-2-2.  Maxime Clermont made two appearances, the first in relief on Friday night, going a perfect 14 for 14.  He made the start on Saturday, stopping 25 of 29 in a 4-2 defeat.  He now stands at 4-9-0 with a 3.31 GAA.

Notes:

With all the player transactions covered earlier in the week, on to the injury report, just two names long: Tim Sestito (I believe upper body), who did board the bus to Atlantic City but did not play, and Darcy Zajac, still out long term.

This Week’s Schedule:

An all road three in three weekend coming up as the Devils begin a 4 game road swing.  Friday night Albany travels west to Utica for their third matchup of the season against the Comets.  Saturday night it’s back to Adirondack for Time Warner Cable Cup Game #8 against the Phantoms.  Then they travel south to Hershey for another Sunday afternoon tilt against the Bears.

Friday night also marks the official halfway point of the season.  I will have a first half numbers post up sometime on Saturday.

Game 37: Albany vs. Hershey

Where: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ.

When: 4:00 PM.

Season Series:

First meeting of 4.

Standings:

Hershey: 16-13-3-3, 38 points, tied for 4th place in East Division

Albany: 21-10-3-2, 47 points, 2nd place in Northeast Division

Media Kit

Bears Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Brandon Segal, 27 points (10 G, 17 A); Nicolas Deschamps, 22 points (11 G, 11 A); 2 players tied with 19 points

David Leggio, 11-11-2, 2.72 GAA; Riley Gill, 0-1-0, 0.99 GAA

Listen: AHL Live, The Ticket 1460 AM

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheHersheyBears

Game 36: Albany vs. Manchester

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 5:00 PM.

Season Series:

First meeting of 2.

Standings:

Manchester: 24-9-2-4, 54 points, 1st place in Atlantic Division

Albany: 20-10-3-2, 45 points, 2nd place in Northeast Division

Media Kit

Monarchs Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Jordan Weal, 31 points (8 G, 23 A); Brandon Kozun, 29 points (10 G, 19 A); Nick Deslauriers, 23 points (13 G, 10 A)

Martin Jones, 10-2-2, 2.16 GAA; Jean-Francois Berube, 14-9-2, 2.59 GAA

Listen: AHL Live, WGIR 610 AM

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @Monarchs Hockey

Game 35: Albany at Springfield

Where: Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series:

Springfield leads 3-1.

Standings:

Albany: 19-10-3-2, 43 points, 2nd place in Northeast Division

Springfield: 25-5-1-3, 54 points, 1st place in Northeast Division

Media Kit

Falcons Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Jonathan Marchessault, 27 points (12 G, 15 A); Frederic St. Denis, 21 points (8 G, 13 A); Darryl Boyce, 19 points (7 G, 12 A)

Mike McKenna, 8-2-0, 1.46 GAA; Jeremy Smith, 16-4-2, 2.54 GAA

Listen: AHL Live, WHYN 560 AM

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheFalconsAHL, @KatyLovesHockey

Feeling Defensive and Snubbed

Before the second 3 in 3 weekend of the season commences, how about a little update?  Okay, a big one:

-On Tuesday the Washington Capitals placed former Devil defenseman Alexander Urbom on waivers.  Cue the speculation!  Is he going to clear and end up in Hershey?  Would another team take a chance on him?  Or do the Devils correct their pre-season error and take him back?  On Wednesday, we got our answer: New Jersey picked him up, and since no other team put in a claim, per the CBA they were able to reassign him to Albany.  After being claimed by the Capitals before the season, he appeared in 20 games and registered a goal and an assist.  He last appeared in a game on November 29th, and had been a healthy scratch since.

-Earlier today, another roster surprise: New Jersey announced that 2011 first round pick Adam Larsson had also been reassigned to Albany.  He has not appeared in game action since November 23rd in San Jose, when he went down with a knee injury.  He had appeared in 20 games and posted 3 points (1 G, 2 A).  It doesn’t say if it’s a conditioning assignment, so I wonder if it’s just another creative roster move (as Lou has done a lot of lately; see Gelinas, Eric) to get someone off injured reserve, or if he’s staying here for an extended period.

With the additions of Urbom and Larsson, the roster now stands at 9 defensemen.  So something has to give with the current defensive corps.  We shall see as we go into tomorrow night.

UPDATE: A little clarification of why Larsson is here…and why Joe Whitney has yet to get a callup.

-And finally, earlier today the AHL announced its 20 man All Star roster that will take on Farjestads BK in St. John’s on February 12th.  With the number of All Stars reduced from its normal number of 48 (under the normal East vs. West theme) to one team of 20, there was a very good chance that not only would all 30 teams not have representation, there would be quite a few snubs.  In a year where if it were the normal routine, there easily could have been at least one, if not two, Devils (namely Keith Kinkaid and Joe Whitney) on the roster.  But not this time.  Not one Devil was named to the squad, one of 14 teams shut out.  You can see the full list here.