Good news and bad news for the Devils in looking at this week’s games: all 3 involved shutouts. But it’s not so good when you’re on the losing end of two of those games. Reviewing the events of the week:
The New England road swing continued into Springfield on Tuesday night for a matchup against the first place Falcons. Alex Aleardi would put Springfield on the board early in the first period with an unassisted goal. Then the Falcons took over the game in the second period and never let up, scoring three times and outshooting Albany 14-9. Spencer Machacek and Frederic St. Denis each had power play goals, while Jonathan Marchessault would close out the scoring late in the second with an even strength goal. And that was all former Devil Mike McKenna would need, as he stopped all 25 Albany shots in picking up the shutout. It was the fourth time this season the Devils have been shutout, and the first since January 4th in Adirondack. Scott Wedgewood stopped 27 of 31 in taking the loss, while Eric Gelinas lead all skaters with 7 shots.
(Note: I was not around for this one, so no notes on lines/defense pairings.)
It was off to southern Connecticut on Saturday night to take on the Sound Tigers, in their 1,000th game as a franchise. Stefan Matteau scored his 8th of the season in the first to get the visitors on the board. Chris McKelvie had a chance to double the lead via a penalty shot, but was denied by goaltender Anders Nilsson. Kelly Zajac (on a power play) and McKelvie would each get their seventh goals 2:51 apart late in the second period to go up 3-0. But the story of the game was in goal…Keith Kinkaid started, but had to leave the game late in the second due to an apparent injury. Scott Wedgewood took over and completed the shutout the rest of the way, stopping 12 Bridgeport shots (Kinkaid stopped 16 before exiting). Alexander Urbom added two assists and finished at a +2, while Adam Larsson, Eric Gelinas (also a +2 on the night) and Mike Hoeffel added assists.
(Again not around for this one; all lines/defense pairings via the Bridgeport blog Soundin’ Off)
Reid Boucher-Scott Timmins-Joe Whitney
Stefan Matteau-Kelly Zajac-Mike Hoeffel
Harri Pesonen-Tim Sestito-Mike Sislo
Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Cam Janssen
Extras: Mattias Tedenby, David Wohlberg
Dan Kelly/Adam Larsson
Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson
Alexander Urbom/Eric Gelinas
Extras: Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Reece Scarlett
Sunday: With Keith Kinkaid not able to go and Maxime Clermont still on the injured list in Elmira till at least Valentine’s Day, who would be backing up Scott Wedgewood in New Hampshire? Enter Anthony Felice. Who? He is a 40-year-old (just turned 40 in late January) Bronx native who served as an emergency backup goaltender during the Devils run in Trenton.
And Jon Merrill was reassigned to Albany for the Olympic break, making the roster just a little more crowded.
A challenge awaited the Devils as they made their only visit to Manchester of the season in the form of Martin Jones, the same goaltender who was recalled to Los Angeles to fill in for Jonathan Quick in December and won his first eight starts in a row. Sean Backman put the Devils in a hole very early on, scoring just 1:08 into the contest for a 1-0 Monarchs lead. It was all Manchester after that, as the Devils cut their first two power plays short with penalties and continued to get into trouble…and not giving Jones much work, just putting 4 shots on goal. Manchester would put the game away in the second via goals by Andy Andreoff and Jordan Weal for a 3-0 lead. Jones would take care of the rest, stopping all 19 Devil shots in picking up the shutout, the second against the Devils in 5 days. Scott Wedgewood stopped 26 of 29 shots. Reid Boucher and Mike Sislo each had 4 shots on net.
Rod Pelley-Chris McKelvie-Mattias Tedenby
Scott Timmins-Reid Boucher-Joe Whitney
Mike Hoeffel-Stefan Matteau-Kelly Zajac
Tim Sestito-Harri Pesonen-Mike Sislo
Extras: Cam Janssen, David Wohlberg
Other lines: Zajac-Matteau-Sislo, Sestito-Hoeffel-Matteau, Whitney-Pelley-Tedenby
Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson
Dan Kelly/Adam Larsson
Alexander Urbom/Reece Scarlett
Extras: Brandon Burlon, Eric Gelinas, Jon Merrill, Raman Hrabarenka
Obligatory Fight of the Week:
A nice little bout from Chris McKelvie Tuesday night in Springfield.
My Player of the Week:
Don’t look now, but the third Zajac brother in the organization (that would be Kelly) is climbing up the stats chart. He had a goal and an assist on Saturday night in Bridgeport, earning #1 star of the game honors. He’s moved to second on the team in scoring behind Joe Whitney and recently cracked the top 20 among league rookies in points as well.
Goals: Joe Whitney (17)
Assists: Joe Whitney (21)
Points: Joe Whitney (38)
Plus/Minus: Reece Scarlett/Corbin McPherson (+9)
Penalty Minutes: Chris McKelvie/Seth Helgeson (72)
Wins: Keith Kinkaid (18)
GAA: Keith Kinkaid (2.30)
Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.914)
The Jackals completed their Midwestern swing with a shootout loss in Kalamazoo on Wednesday, followed by a pair of wins in Evansville on Friday and Saturday. The only Devil to appear on the scoresheet all week? Harry Young. He scored his second goal of the season in Kalamazoo on Wednesday evening.
After a one man injury update (Darcy Zajac) for quite a while, there may be a couple of additions after the weekend games. No word as of yet on how long Kinkaid will be out after leaving Saturday’s game due to a lower body injury. Adam Larsson disappeared after the first period in Manchester, no idea of the situation there.
This Week’s Schedule:
While Joe Whitney heads up to St. John’s for the AHL All Star Classic Tuesday and Wednesday, everyone else gets a 4 day break. But it’s back to work on Friday and the start of a hard 3 in 3 weekend. Friday night Albany travels to Atlantic City to play Hershey “at home”. Then a quick turnaround back to the Capital Region on Saturday afternoon to take on Adirondack. Finally it’s back to Bridgeport on Sunday afternoon to face the Sound Tigers.
And the Photo Gallery is taking a week off. Back next weekend!