Week 16 Recap: Going Streaking

No, not THAT kind of streaking.

But a streak did continue for the Devils this week leading up to the All Star break…a 2-0-1 week extended their point streak to 6 games, keeping them in the playoff race.

Wednesday: A wrong was made right, as Paul Thompson was named as a last minute replacement to the AHL All Star team.

1/21 vs. Bridgeport: 5-3 W

It was off to The Rock, otherwise known as Prudential Center, in Newark as the Devils played host to Bridgeport.  And the home team got off to a fast start, as Ben Thomson and Paul Thompson (on a power play) scored 1:02 apart midway through the first period for a 2-0 advantage.  John Persson would cut the lead in half with a power play tally of his own, the first Albany penalty of the night.  The Devils turned it up in the second, as Stefan Matteau (power play) and Thompson would get his second of the game to make it a 4-1 lead, chasing Kevin Poulin out of the Bridgeport net in favor of David Leggio.  The switch gave Bridgeport a little momentum, as Persson would score his second of the game 30 seconds later to make it 4-2.  Colin McDonald would add a shorthanded goal late in the period to make things interesting.  But Joe Whitney, in his first game back after being sent down by New Jersey, would get an insurance goal, the third power play goal of the evening, early in the third to seal the win.  Scott Clemmensen stopped 31 of 34 shots in net and picked up his 4th win.  Reece Scarlett had his second straight career game, picking up 3 assists and earning first star honors.  Mike Sislo and Kelly Zajac had two helpers each, while Darcy Zajac, Seth Helgeson, and Whitney each had one assist.

Highlights via AHL Live can be found here.

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Kelly Zajac-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-David Wohlberg-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Johnson

Extra: Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Cam Janssen, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Dan Kelly

Corbin McPherson/Mike Keenan

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

1/23 at Worcester: 3-2 W

It was due east to Worcester on Friday night, as the Devils visited the Sharks for the first time this season.  And it was going to be a challenge: Worcester was working on an 8 game winning streak, and also just received the services of Tomas Hertl from San Jose with the NHL on All Star Break.  Well, challenge accepted.  Joe Whitney would get Albany on the board first with his 16th goal of the season.  David Wohlberg would follow up late with a laser shot of his own, his fourth.  All that on just five shots against Sharks goaltender J.P. Anderson.  Albany locked it down in the second, only allowing two shots and adding to the lead on a Brandon Burlon goal.  But Worcester was not about to go away quietly…on one of those shots Mirco Mueller would score on a power play to break up the shutout.  Things nearly got out of hand in the third defensively for Albany…Worcester doubled up their entire shot goal for the game (13 compared to 7 over the first two periods), and Evan Trupp would score to make it 3-2.  But at the end of it all, the Devils would hang on for dear life and escape with the win, extending their point streak to 5 games and ending Worcester’s winning streak.  Maxime Clermont earned his third win in net, stopping 18 of 20 shots.  Burlon and 5 other Devils each had assists.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Kelly Zajac-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Johnson

Stefan Matteau-David Wohlberg-Ben Thomson

Extra: Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Cam Janssen, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Corbin McPherson/Mike Keenan

Brandon Burlon/Dan Kelly

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

1/24 vs. Worcester: 2-1 L (OT)

16 hours after the final whistle in Worcester, the two teams met again in Albany to complete the home and home and kick off a Capital Region hockey doubleheader at the TU Center.  Things got hairy very early on…as in during pregame warmup:

But, peace was soon restored, and pregame continued on.  Unlike the night before, it was the Sharks who came out flying in the first, outshooting Albany 16-7.  But nothing was getting by Scott Wedgewood, or his counterpart J.P. Anderson for that matter.  The scoreless trend continued into the second…until Gus Young broke the tie with less than a minute remaining in the period.  Albany would finally get on the board with just over four minutes remaining in regulation, thanks to a power play goal by Paul Thompson, his 22nd.  The game carried into overtime, where during the three on three portion Dylan DeMelo would get the game winner past Wedgewood, giving the Sharks the extra point and another Albany overtime disappointment.  Wedgewood played extremely well in taking the hard luck loss, stopping 38 of 40 shots.  The top line of Thompson, Joe Whitney, and Kelly Zajac had all the Albany offense.  And it was a good day at the gate, as a season high 7012 fans were in attendance thanks to Kids in Free Day.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Kelly Zajac-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-David Wohlberg-Ben Johnson

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Extra: Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Cam Janssen, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Corbin McPherson/Mike Keenan

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Dan Kelly

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

Pop Quiz: Since the AHL brought back the All Star Classic in the 1994-95 season, which year did Albany have the most representation?  The answer upcoming.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

There was one fight, but video proof has yet to surface.  Stay tuned…

My Player of the Week:

A very good week for Paul Thompson, as he gets a better late than never All Star nod and scores three times, taking over the league goal scoring lead.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (22)

Assists: Joe Whitney (21)

Points: Joe Whitney (37)

+/-: Paul Thompson (+14)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (78)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (6)

GAA: Maxime Clermont (2.34)

Save Percentage: Scott Clemmensen (.912)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 26 GP, 8 G, 7 A, 15 Pts, -9, 17 PIM

Eric Baier (Orlando): 19 GP, 4 G, 5 A, 9 Pts, +5, 11 PIM

On Wednesday, Bell scored twice, including the eventual game winner, as the ECHL All Stars defeated Orlando 8-4 in Florida.  He was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.  Baier registered a first period assist for Orlando.

Injury Update: No timetable for Scott Timmins (ankle), Graham Black (wrist), Cam Janssen (upper body).  Raman Hrabarenka (cheekbone) is still practicing, but no word on his return.

This Week’s Schedule:

While Joe Whitney and Paul Thompson head to Utica for All Star festivities, the rest of the Devils get a 4 day break.  But it’s back to work Thursday, as Albany travels to Allentown to take on the Phantoms for the last time this season.  Then it’s back to home ice on Friday and Saturday for a two game set with St. John’s, a rematch of last year’s first round Calder Cup playoff series.

And I’ll be in Utica for both All Star events as well, my first time ever going!  I do plan on a post midweek wrapping up the skills competition on Sunday night and the game on Monday.

Pop Quiz Answer: A total of 5 players represented the River Rats at the 1998 All Star Classic in Syracuse, when Canadian-born players were pitted against those born in the US and Europe: Brendan Morrison, Peter Zezel, and Geordie Kinnear represented the Canadian All Stars, while Jay Pandolfo and Vlastimil Kroupa represented PlanetUSA.  The Canadian All Stars defeated PlanetUSA 11-10.

 

 

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