Week 8 Recap: Expect the Unexpected

Not a bad ending to a shaky November: 5 out of 6 points, including victories in a building where wins are few and far between, and against one of the top teams in the league.  But the injury bug bit yet again.

11/26 vs. Hartford: 4-3 L (SO)

On a very snowy Thanksgiving Eve in the Capital Region, the Devils continued their homestand with a visit from Hartford.  The Wolfpack got on the board less than 6 minutes into the game on a rebound goal by Justin Vaive.  Darcy Zajac would tie it up just after a power play expired.  But late in the period, Danny Kristo was left wide open and got the puck past Keith Kinkaid to regain the lead.  Hartford took a 3-1 lead in the second with a Joey Crabb goal…and things didn’t look for Albany as they entered the third.  However, one player single handedly rallied the home team.  A double minor by J.T. Miller with less than five and a half minutes remaining in regulation gave the Devils a golden opportunity…and just six seconds in Joe Whitney cashed in with his 6th goal to cut the lead to 3-2.  Then with 1:58 to go, Whitney would score the equalizer to tie things up at 3.  It was on to overtime, where Albany had a huge opportunity with just over 2 minutes to go to finally get their first OT win in almost 3 years…Mike Sislo was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked down.  But Hartford goaltender Mackenzie Skapski would deny the game winner, and it was on to the dreaded shootout.  Paul Thompson and Sislo were denied in the first two rounds, while Kinkaid stopped Chris Bourque and Miller.  But in round 3, Kristo would connect and Whitney was denied, giving the Wolfpack the extra point and Albany their fourth shootout loss of the season (yup, the new OT rules are working real well here).  Kinkaid finished with 29 saves on 32 shots.  Raman Hrabarenka had two assists, while three other Devils had helpers.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Stefan Matteau-Tim Sestito-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Graham Black-Chris McKelvie

David Wohlberg-Darcy Zajac-Ben Thomson

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Rod Pelley, Cam Janssen (inj), Ben Johnson (healthy)

Defense Pairings:

Mark Fraser/Corbin McPherson

Eric Baier/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Joe Faust

Extra: Dan Kelly, Reece Scarlett (inj)

11/28 vs. Lehigh Valley: 4-2 W

It was south to Atlantic City on Black Friday for the first of two “home” games (and I use the term loosely in this) this season, as Albany hosted the Phantoms for the first time since the move to Allentown from Adirondack.  Thanks to an early 5 on 3 chance in the first, Reid Boucher got the hosts on the board with just his third goal of the season for a 1-0 lead.  Ben Thomson would add his third later in the period for a two goal lead.  Then Graham Black would add a power play goal of his own, his fourth, late in the period for a 3-0 lead.  After being outshot 14-6 and giving up three goals, the Phantoms made a change in net to start the second, switching Anthony Stolarz for the recently called up Martin Ouelette.  And suddenly the momentum switched over to Lehigh Valley, as they mounted a rally.  Taylor Leier would get the Phantoms on the board early in the period with a power play goal.  Petr Straka would add a second goal late in the period to make things interesting.  The Devils could only manage 4 shots on goal the entire period, while giving up 11.  Lehigh Valley tried in vain in the third to tie things up, but Scott Wedgewood was up to the challenge, practically standing on his head and scrambling all over the crease to keep the Phantoms from that tying goal.  Paul Thompson would add an insurance goal with 3 minutes to go in the third to seal the win.  Wedgewood finished with 27 saves and #1 star honors.  Joe Whitney would contribute two assists, while Darcy Zajac and Scott Timmins each had a helper.

Highlights via AHL Live are here.  The video/audio quality is not the greatest.

Lines:

Scott Timmins-Joe Whitney-Paul Thompson

Tim Sestito-Mike Sislo-Stefan Matteau

Reid Boucher-Graham Black-Chris McKelvie

Darcy Zajac-David Wohlberg-Ben Thomson

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Rod Pelley, Cam Janssen, Ben Johnson

Defense Pairings:

Mark Fraser/Corbin McPherson

Eric Baier/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Joe Faust

Extra: Dan Kelly, Reece Scarlett

11/29 vs. Utica: 2-1 W

To finish out the month of November, the Devils played host to Utica, who came in as the #2 team in the entire league.  Albany did dodge a bullet, missing Comets goaltender Jacob Markstrom  in favor of ECHL callup Joe Cannata.  After a very uneventful first period (no penalties, no goals), Graham Black would break the scoreless tie late in the second with his 5th goal.  That lead lasted all of 54 seconds, as Will Acton would tie things up.  A very scary moment happened in the third, when Utica’s Darren Archibald would hit Raman Hrabarenka high near center ice, causing Hrabarenka to crumple into a heap.  After a few tense minutes, he was slowly helped off the ice.  Archibald would get a five minute charging major and a game misconduct, giving Albany an extended 5 minute power play.  And they would take advantage, as Joe Whitney would score his 8th halfway through the advantage to put Albany ahead 2-1.  Utica would try in vain late to tie it, but to no avail, and the Devils finished November on a modest two game winning streak.  Keith Kinkaid was stellar in net, stopping 28 of 29 shots.  Brandon Burlon added two assists.

Highlights:

Lines:

Paul Thompson-Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins

Stefan Matteau-Tim Sestito-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Graham Black-Ben Thomson

Ben Johnson-Darcy Zajac-David Wohlberg

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Rod Pelley, Cam Janssen, Chris McKelvie (all inj)

Defense Pairings:

Mark Fraser/Corbin McPherson

Eric Baier/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Joe Faust

Extra: Dan Kelly, Reece Scarlett (inj)

Pop Quiz: Before Friday night, when was the last time Albany won a game at Boardwalk Hall?  Answer is coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

In this corner, Mark Fraser.  And in this corner, Jay Rosehill.  Let the epicness (is that even a word?) begin.

My Player of the Week:

This was not an easy decision, a lot of good performances this week.  In the end, I’ll give the honors to Joe Whitney and his 5 point week.  Honorable mention to Graham Black (4 points).

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (11)

Assists: Joe Whitney/Scott Timmins (11)

Points: Joe Whitney (19)

+/-: Paul Thompson (+12)

Penalty Minutes: Darcy Zajac (44)

Wins: Keith Kinkaid (6)

GAA: Keith Kinkaid (2.41)

Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.916)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 16 GP, 7 G, 4 A, 7 PIM

Alexandre Carrier (Orlando): 2 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 2 PIM

Maxime Clermont (Orlando): 8 GP, 5-3-0, 3.66 GAA, .878 Save Pct.

Injury Report:

No timetable for the following: Dan Kelly, Rod Pelley, Chris McKelvie, Kelly Zajac, Reece Scarlett, Raman Hrabarenka.  Cam Janssen skated warmup on Saturday, per the man himself he should be back this week.

This Week’s Schedule:

The second 3-in-3 weekend of the season looms.  Friday night Albany makes their lone trip to Providence to take on the Bruins.  Saturday afternoon Portland visits for the second time in a little over a month.  Finally Sunday afternoon the lone visit from our neighbors to the north, the Flames.

Pop Quiz Answer: The last time Albany won a game at Boardwalk Hall?  February 24th, 2013, a 6-4 win over Hershey.  Joe Whitney and Mike Sislo scored twice, Matt Anderson had a goal and two assists, Phil DeSimone had two assists, and Keith Kinkaid had the win in net.

 

 

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