Week 15 Recap: An Almost Perfect Rally

The way things had started in all three games for the Devils this week, this potentially could have been a disastrous recap.

But finally doing something that hadn’t happened all season–coming back when trailing after two periods–in back to back games helped springboard Albany to a 5 out of 6 point week, a very nice recovery, getting them out of the Northeast Division basement and back in the playoff race.

1/14 vs. Springfield: 2-1 W (OT)

The week began with the back end of a home and home series against the first place Falcons.  A rematch in net between Scott Wedgewood and All Star Anton Forsberg started out the same way as Sunday in Massachusetts, keeping both teams off the scoreboard in the first period.  Kerby Rychel put the visitors on the board with just over three minutes remaining in the second.  And that looked like all Forsberg would need, as he cruised into the third period.  But then something miraculous happened.  With Wedgewood pulled for the extra attacker, Paul Thompson would find the back of the net with just 56.8 seconds to go in regulation, tying the game up and getting Albany at least one very important standings point.  Just as both teams switched over to 3 on 3 during overtime, Dan Kelly (originally credited to Darcy Zajac) managed to poke the puck past Forsberg, giving Albany an improbable come from behind win, their first all season when trailing after two periods.  Wedgewood played well in net, stopping 29 of 30 shots and picking up his sixth win.  Four Devils added assists.

Highlights:

Lines:

Reid Boucher-Kelly Zajac-Paul Thompson

Ben Thomson-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-David Wohlberg-Chris McKelvie

Ben Johnson-Rod Pelley-Cam Janssen

Extra: Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Myles Bell, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Joe Faust

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Eric Baier, Mike Keenan

Friday: Good news and bad news for Eric Baier.  Good: His PTO turned into an AHL contract for the remainder of the season.  Bad: With Seth Helgeson back on the roster, he was reassigned to Orlando.  In 12 games he had one goal (in his season debut on November 23rd) and two assists, finishing at a -3.

1/16 at Lehigh Valley: 3-2 W

It was off to Allentown to start a two game Pennsylvania road swing, as the Devils visited the Phantoms for the first time in the regular season (if you recall, they traveled there in the preseason, skating away with a victory on October 4th).  Albany was lucky to escape the first period without giving up a goal, getting outshot 10-5 and having to kill off 3 separate power plays.  During a 4 on 4 early in the second, Nick Cousins would get a goal just over the glove of Scott Clemmensen to put the hosts up 1-0.  Albany did wake up a little in the second with 19 shots on goal, but nothing got past rookie goaltender Anthony Stolarz.  But the rally began in the third, thanks to more whistles.  Just after a power play expired, Rod Pelley would tie the game up at 1.  Midway through the period, just 23 seconds into another power play, Paul Thompson would put the visitors ahead with his 19th of the season.  But Andrew Gordon would re-tie the game just over a minute later.  Then on power play #9 of the night, Stefan Matteau would score the go ahead goal for a 3-2 win.  Scott Clemmensen stopped 32 of 34 shots in picking up his third win, his first since returning from the mumps, and even got an assist.  Albany went 2 for 10 on the power play and killed off all 7 shorthanded situations.  Matteau, Dan Kelly, Reece Scarlett, Seth Helgeson, and David Wohlberg all had helpers.

Highlights:

Lines:

Stefan Matteau-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Kelly Zajac-Paul Thompson

Alexandre Carrier-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-David Wohlberg-Cam Janssen

Extra: Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Ben Johnson, Myles Bell

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Joe Faust

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Mike Keenan

1/17 at Hershey: 5-4 L (OT)

It was off to Chocolatetown for the first time this season as Albany faced off against the Bears.  And things didn’t get off to a great start–Casey Wellman scored just 10 seconds into the contest.  Tomas Kundratek would add a power play goal three minutes later, putting the visitors in a very early hole.  But Albany would rally to tie it up on a Stefan Matteau power play goal (his second in two games) and Reece Scarlett’s first goal of the season (doing his best Eric Gelinas impression in the process).  The Bears would retake the lead on a Stanislav Galiev goal.  Did I mention this was all during the first period?  The back and forth continued during the second period, as the Devils rallied yet again.  Darcy Zajac would score his 4th on a power play to re-tie the game, only to have Chris Conner take the lead back on a power play breakaway chance.  But on a 5 on 3 opportunity, Reid Boucher would tie things up again with his 11th.  Things would get quite physical after that, as both Chris McKelvie (two fighting majors) and Dan Kelly (elbowing major) all were tossed from the game, while Seth Helgeson (continuing altercation) spent most of the third in the penalty box.  Albany did manage to kill off the five minute major midway through the third, and made it to overtime.  But a perfect week was not in the cards.  With Rod Pelley in the penalty box on a questionable slashing call, Galiev (on his birthday no less) would score the game winner in a 4 on 3 situation with 3:14 remaining in overtime to give the Bears the extra point.  Scott Wedgewood recovered from a shaky first to stop 24 of 29 shots.  Scarlett added two assists, while Matteau and three others each had helpers.  Both teams combined for 113 penalty minutes, with Albany amassing a season high of 65.

Highlights:

Lines:

Stefan Matteau-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Kelly Zajac-Paul Thompson

Ben Johnson-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-David Wohlberg-Cam Janssen

Extra: Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Myles Bell, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Corbin McPherson/Mike Keenan

Brandon Burlon/Dan Kelly

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

Pop Quiz: In the Albany Devil era, what is the biggest deficit the team has faced before coming from behind to win?  The answer coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

Darcy Zajac reminding everyone of the old Albany-Adirondack days with this one.

My Player of the Week:

Nice to finally see Stefan Matteau have a breakout week.  Assist on the game winning goal on Wednesday, followed up by multi point efforts in both road contests, including two power play goals.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (19)

Assists: Paul Thompson (14)

Points: Paul Thompson (33)

+/-: Paul Thompson (+13)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (73)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (6)

GAA: Scott Clemmensen (2.45)

Save Percentage: Scott Clemmensen/Maxime Clermont (.912)

ECHL Update:

Eric Baier (Orlando): 17 GP, 4 G, 5 A, 9 points, 11 PIM, +7

Injury Report: Raman Hrabarenka (facial) is practicing, but no word on when he will return.  Graham Black (upper) and Scott Timmins (lower) remain out.

This Week’s Schedule: Three games leading up to the AHL All Star Break.  Wednesday the Devils finish up their season series against Bridgeport on home ice.  New Jersey’s home ice, that is, as the game is at Prudential Center (and I will be in attendance!).  Friday and Saturday sees a home and home against Worcester, with Friday night in central Massachusetts and a quick turnaround at home early Saturday afternoon, as the front end of a local hockey doubleheader (RPI and Union will play the nightcap in the annual Mayor’s Cup matchup).

Pop Quiz Answer: The biggest deficit overcome by an A-Devils team?  Four goals.  On January 6, 2012, Albany entered the third period trailing Norfolk 4-0.  But in a span of 11 minutes and 47 seconds, Nick Palmieri, Mike Hoeffel, Matt Anderson, and Eric Gelinas would all score, forcing overtime.  And Joe Whitney finished off the comeback 3 and a half minutes in, giving Albany a 5-4 win.  Back in 2011, they overcame a 4-1 deficit in the third on two different occasions, winning 5-4 against Worcester on February 18 (no one remind coach David Cunniff about that night, his pen throwing incident late in the third lead up to the winning goal), and a 5-4 win against Bridgeport on March 9 (the Chad Wiseman 4 goal game).

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