Week 4 Recap: Back to Earth

It was inevitable…after an amazing October, November got started on a rough note.  Three out of a possible six points, but still a standings point in 8 of the first 9 games is not bad.

10/29 vs. Springfield: 4-2 W

Albany got an early start to the week thanks to a schedule change, hosting the Falcons on Wednesday (the game’s original date was December 2nd, but got moved up due to a concert date at the TU Center).  The visitors took a very quick 1-0 lead on a Ryan Craig goal just 1:10 in.  Craig would add a second goal on a power play 6 minutes later.  Graham Black, back in the lineup for the first time since opening weekend in Adirondack, would score his first as a professional on a deflection late in the period to cut the deficit in half.  Mike Sislo would tie the game at 2 midway through the second with his fifth goal.  On a delayed penalty late in the second, Scott Timmins would extend his season long point streak to seven games with his fourth, putting Albany ahead for good.  Black would add his second goal on a power play midway through the third for insurance.  With the win, the Devils remained the only team in the league without a regulation loss and extended their win streak to 5.  Keith Kinkaid settled down after a shaky first period and stopped 30 of 32 shots in picking up his fourth win.  Stefan Matteau returned to the lineup after missing a week due to injury and contributed two assists.  Four other Devils each had a helper.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Stefan Matteau-Mike Sislo-Graham Black

Tim Sestito-Chris McKelvie-Steve Bernier

Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac-Ben Thomson

Extra: Cam Janssen, Kelly Zajac (both inj), Ben Johnson, David Wohlberg

Defense Pairings:

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Peter Harrold

Extra: Reece Scarlett, Joe Faust

11/1 vs. Bridgeport: 4-1 L

The homestand continued as the calendar turned over to November, and Albany saw a familiar foe come in, facing Bridgeport for the third time in 8 games.  Paul Thompson would add to his league leading goal total, notching his 8th on a 5-on-3 power play midway through the first period (and with the assist, Scott Timmins extended his point streak to 8 games) for a 1-0 lead.  Bridgeport tied the game up halfway through the second on a lucky (or in Scott Wedgewood’s case, unlucky) bounce and a kick into the Albany net (goal credited to C. J. Stretch for those keeping score).  The visitors would essentially put the game away late in the period, scoring twice in 2:28 (the second on a 5-on-3 power play) to take a 3-1 lead.  Bridgeport would add a power play/empty net goal late in the third to seal the victory, the first regulation loss for Albany on the season (it had to happen sometime, unfortunately).  Wedgewood stopped 22 of 25 shots in the loss.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Rod Pelley-Tim Sestito-Steve Bernier

Stefan Matteau-Mike Sislo-Graham Black

Darcy Zajac-Ben Thomson-Chris McKelvie

Extra: Cam Janssen, Kelly Zajac, Ben Johnson, David Wohlberg

Defense Pairings:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Peter Harrold

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Reece Scarlett, Joe Faust

11/2 vs. Portland: 2-1 L (OT)

It was a very quick turnaround for Albany, as they hosted former Devil Mike McKenna and Portland for the first time this season.  And it was a very quick start out of the gate, as Joe Whitney scored his third of the year just 1:28 in for a 1-0 lead.  With the assist, Scott Timmins’s point streak hit 9 games.  A 20-25 minute delay due to ice conditions near the Zamboni entrance of the arena (or, the Devils Shoot Twice net) ended the first a little early, extending the second period.  The Pirates would tie the game up midway through the second on a power play goal by Dylan Reese.  After a penalty filled third period (nothing physical…or a typical Chris Brown called game) with nothing across, it was on to overtime, the second time for Albany this season.  The Devils had two very good chances early on–Mike Sislo just narrowly missed getting the puck across the line and Timmins had a great shot go wide.  But the Pirates would prevail 2:58 in, as Lucas Lessio scored the game winner to give Portland the win and the extra point.  Keith Kinkaid stopped 21 of 23 shots, while Paul Thompson had the other assist.

Highlights:

Lines:

Stefan Matteau-Mike Sislo-Graham Black

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac-Chris McKelvie

Tim Sestito-Ben Johnson-Steve Bernier

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Cam Janssen, David Wohlberg, Ben Thomson

Defense Pairings:

Seth Helgeson/Peter Harrold

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka (resting?), Joe Faust

Pop Quiz: With Wednesday’s win, the Devils extended their streak of games without a regulation loss to 7.  When was the last time an Albany AHL franchise started a season with an unbeaten streak that long?  The answer is coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

So when did Brandon Burlon become a fighter?

My Player of the Week:

Splitting it between two players this week…Scott Timmins for being a constant presence on the scoresheet (he has registered at least one point in all 9 games thus far), and an honorable mention to rookie Graham Black for his first two goal game as a professional.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (8)

Assists: Scott Timmins (7)

Points: Paul Thompson/Scott Timmins (11)

+/-: Raman Hrabarenka (+9)

Penalty Minutes:  Dan Kelly (29)

Wins: Keith Kinkaid (4)

GAA: Keith Kinkaid (1.95)

Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.931)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 3 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 0 PIM

Injury Report: Cam Janssen (shoulder; indefinitely), Kelly Zajac (upper body; unknown timetable)

BREAKING: Just as I was finishing this up, the Devils throw me a curveball.  They have signed defenseman Mark Fraser to a professional tryout contract.  There are already two extra defensemen as it is, why throw in a third?  I get the feeling something is going on in New Jersey that has yet to play out.

This marks Fraser’s third stint in Albany, with the first coming in a 4 game stint in a River Rats uniform near the end of the 2005-06 season (the last season before Lowell) and 5 games with the A-Devils during the 2010-11 season.  He split last season between Edmonton and Toronto, appearing in 42 games and registering 2 points.

This Week’s Schedule:

The Devils hit the road this week for three games, all in Connecticut.  Wednesday morning (yes, morning) they make their second visit of the season to Hartford to take on the Wolfpack.  Then it’s back to Bridgeport for a two game set, Saturday evening and a quick turnaround on Sunday afternoon.

Pop Quiz Answer: The 1994-95 Albany River Rats started the season with 4 wins and 3 ties (remember those?) before taking a 6-2 loss to Binghamton on October 21, 1994 at the then named Knickerbocker Arena.  Oh by the way…this team went on to win the Calder Cup the following May.  A positive sign for this year’s group?  We shall see.

 

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