Week 13 Recap: Hard Luck and a Breakout

Not the greatest week for the Devils, as they rang in 2015 with a busy week of four games.  One good win and three one goal defeats later, they are fighting for position in a competitive Northeast Division and trying to stay in the Eastern Conference race.

Tuesday: With 4 forwards up in New Jersey, two injured, and one ill, Myles Bell was recalled from Evansville.  He did not arrive in time to dress for the game, forcing Albany to use a 10 forward/8 defenseman lineup.

12/30 vs. Providence: 3-2 L

The Devils closed out the 2014 calendar year on home ice, as they welcomed the Bruins for their only visit of the season.  Providence came in shorthanded as well, only having 17 skaters on the roster due to callups to Boston.  But it didn’t slow the visitors down, as they outshot the hosts 14-8 in the first, capped off by a Cory Kane power play goal late in the first period for a 1-0 advantage.  Albany tied it up with just 0.4 seconds remaining in the second, as Reid Boucher extended his goal scoring streak to 5 games with his 10th of the season.  Third period was virtually all Bruins, as they outshot the Devils by a 20-8 margin.  Andrew Ammon would give Providence an early lead in the third, but Rod Pelley would tip in the tying goal with just over 5 minutes to go in regulation.  Just as it looked like the Devils were going to overtime for the third straight game…heartbreak ensued.  Ethan Werek took a shot from the blueline that sailed past Scott Wedgewood with just 4.9 seconds left on the clock to give the Bruins the win.  Wedgewood played well in taking the loss, stopping 42 of 45 shots.  Three Devils each had one assist.

Highlights:

Lines:

Reid Boucher-Graham Black-Paul Thompson

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Ben Johnson-Darcy Zajac-Alexandre Carrier

Cam Janssen-Mike Keenan-Joe Faust

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Scott Timmins, David Wohlberg (took warmup but scratched due to illness), Myles Bell (travel)

Defense:

Mark Fraser/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Eric Baier

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka

Friday: Joe Whitney was richly rewarded for scoring his first NHL goal on Wednesday in Detroit…he was reassigned to Albany along with Stefan Matteau, who never dressed after both were recalled on Monday.

1/2 vs. Syracuse: 2-1 L (SO)

The Devils rang in 2015 with a familiar foe, facing the Crunch for the third weekend in a row, but this time on home ice.  Unlike Tuesday night, where the hosts were grossly outshot, Albany got off to a flying start by not allowing a Crunch shot on goal for the first 8:09.  But that first shot off the stick of Vladislav Namestnikov found its way past Scott Wedgewood, putting the visitors up 1-0.  Ben Thomson would score his fourth (originally credited to Graham Black) just over two minutes later to tie the game up.  Then both goalies, Wedgewood and the just sent down Andrei Vasilevskiy, would go into lockdown mode.  The Devils came close to taking the lead early in the third, but the goalposts got in the way twice.  It was on to overtime for the third time in 4 games for the Devils, who came very close to both winning and losing the extra point, but Wedgewood and Vasilevskiy would not give an inch.  On to the shootout, where after the first three rounds both teams were scoreless.  Then it was on the fourth, then fifth, then sixth rounds…nothing across.  The duel continued to round 7, then 8, then 9 without a goal.  Finally in round 10, Kevin Lynch broke the drought and shot it past Wedgewood for a 1-0 lead.  Vasilevskiy then stopped Brandon Burlon to seal the victory for the Crunch.  So if you’re wondering who went out for the Devils in the shootout: Paul Thompson, Reid Boucher, Stefan Matteau, Rod Pelley, Reece Scarlett, Graham Black, Ben Johnson, David Wohlberg, Ben Thomson, and Burlon.

Highlights:

Lines:

Ben Thomson-Graham Black-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-David Wohlberg-Stefan Matteau

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Alexandre Carrier

Ben Johnson-Darcy Zajac-Cam Janssen

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Scott Timmins (inj), Joe Whitney (travel), Myles Bell (healthy)

Defense:

Mark Fraser/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Brandon Burlon

Corbin McPherson/Mike Keenan

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka (inj), Joe Faust, Eric Baier (healthy)

Saturday: With Peter Harrold getting hurt in Friday’s loss to Montreal and Eric Gelinas out sick, Mark Fraser was summoned to New Jersey for his first appearance in a Devil uniform since 2011. He certainly made his presence known during the Devils’ 5-2 win over Philadelphia.  Also, Mike Sislo cleared waivers (since he appeared in 10 games for New Jersey) and was reassigned to Albany, rejoining the team in time for the weekend series in Bridgeport.

1/3 at Bridgeport: 7-4 W

It was off to southern Connecticut for another two game set, as Albany took on Bridgeport for the 7th time this season, but their first meeting since just before Thanksgiving.  Maxime Clermont got the start, his first AHL start of the season and his first game action since December 5th while with Orlando.  Paul Thompson started the scoring with his 14th of the season 5 minutes into the first for a 1-0 lead.  Harry Zolnierczyk would tie it up late in the period with a power play goal (here we go again…).  Then in the second, both teams exploded for a combined 7 goals.  David Wohlberg got the scorefest started just 2:25 in with his second goal of the season.  Griffin Reinhart would retie the game just over a minute later.  Then Ben Thomson (5th), Joe Whitney (12th on the PP) and Graham Black (7th on the PP) would put Albany ahead 5-2.  But the Sound Tigers were not done just yet, as Kael Mouillerat and Alan Quine (on a PP) would cut the deficit to one goal late.  Third period Albany would put the game away, with goals from unlikely sources.  Chris McKelvie would score his second and Corbin McPherson his first in a 5 minute span midway through the third for a commanding 3 goal lead.  Clermont would pick up his second career AHL win, stopping 28 of 32 shots.  Whitney (1 goal & 2 assists), Reid Boucher (3 assists), Thompson (1 goal, 1 assist), Wohlberg (1 goal, 1 assist), and McPherson (1 goal, 1 assist) all had multi point efforts, while Darcy Zajac and Reece Scarlett each had helpers.  Dan Kelly finished at a +3.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Graham Black-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-David Wohlberg-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Rod Pelley-Chris McKelvie

Ben Thomson-Darcy Zajac-Cam Janssen

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Scott Timmins, Myles Bell, Ben Johnson, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Joe Faust

Mike Keenan/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Eric Baier

1/4 at Bridgeport: 4-3 L

Just about 17 hours or so later, it was back to the rink for a rematch.  Joe Whitney got things started on a good note with a breakaway goal just 1:17 in for a quick 1-0 lead.  Cory Conacher would tie it up with a power play goal later in the period.  Second period saw the Devils run into a bit of penalty trouble, and much like the second visit to Bridgeport in November, the Sound Tigers would capitalize.  Aaron Ness would give the hosts the lead with a 4 on 4 tally.  Harry Zolnierczyk would add a second power play goal late for a 3-1 lead.  Paul Thompson would score on a 5 on 3 midway through the third to get the Devils back to within one goal, but Alan Quine would seal it with an even strength goal with less than two minutes remaining.  Mike Sislo would get his 8th with 5 seconds left, but it was too little too late.  Scott Wedgewood capped off a difficult week stopping 23 of 27 shots in taking the loss.  Whitney and Thompson each had 2 point games, while Rod Pelley and Reece Scarlett had assists.  Albany was forced to kill off 9 Bridgeport power plays, managing to go 7 for 9 on the kill.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Graham Black-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-David Wohlberg-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Rod Pelley-Chris McKelvie

Ben Thomson-Darcy Zajac-Cam Janssen

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Scott Timmins, Ben Johnson, Myles Bell, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Joe Faust

Mike Keenan/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Eric Baier

Pop Quiz: What is the Albany AHL record for most goals scored in one game?  The answer coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

Ben Thomson gets his rematch Friday night:

My Player of the Week:

Not a bad week for Joe Whitney.  He gets his second NHL recall at the beginning of the week, scores his first NHL goal on Wednesday against the Red Wings, then returns to the lineup Saturday and proceeds to score twice and add three assists.  Honorable mention to Paul Thompson for finally getting his goal scoring touch back.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (15)

Assists: Joe Whitney (19)

Points: Joe Whitney (32)

+/-: Paul Thompson (+14)

Penalty Minutes: Darcy Zajac (63)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (5)

GAA: Scott Clemmensen (2.28)

Save Percentage: Scott Clemmensen (.916)

ECHL Update:

No update since all ECHLers are currently on the roster.

Injury Update:

No updated timetables given for either Scott Clemmensen, Kelly Zajac, Scott Timmins, or Raman Hrabarenka.

This Week’s Schedule:

Another three in three weekend looms.  Friday night the Devils welcome Hershey to the Capital Region for the first time in two seasons (both home matchups last season were in Atlantic City).  Saturday afternoon Bridgeport comes for a visit.  Finally on Sunday afternoon the Devils travel to western Massachusetts for the first time all season to take on the Falcons.

Pop Quiz Answer: The most goals scored by an Albany team in one game?  9, accomplished twice: the first home game in River Rats history on October 9, 1993, when the Rats beat Rochester 9-3, then on March 21, 1998, a 9-5 win at home against Adirondack (when they were the Red Wings).

 

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