Week 11 Recap: Christmas Collapse

And that title was the nicest way I could think to describe a week where you’re outscored 12-4 and you go from winning 7 in a row to dropping an entire road trip before going on a holiday break.

12/15 @ St. John’s: 3-2 L

The road trip headed up north…way up north…to Newfoundland, as the Devils started a two game set against the IceCaps.  It didn’t take long for the hosts to strike first, as Mark MacMillan would score 1:45 into the contest for a 1-0 lead.  Rod Pelley would tie things up later in the period with his second goal of the season.  St. John’s would seemingly put the game away late in the second, scoring twice in a span of 1:44 to go up 3-1.  But the Devils would try to rally in the third, as Corey Tropp would score his 6th midway through the period to get to within one.  But despite putting up 21 shots on goal in the third, Albany could get no closer, and suffered their second straight defeat.  Yann Danis would stop 28 of 31 shots, and three Devils (including the returning Chris McKelvie) would have assists.  Albany would put up a season high 46 shots on net for the contest.

The Lineup:

Paul Thompson-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Jim O’Brien-Corey Tropp

Blake Pietila-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Dan Kelly/Marc Andre Gragnani

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Raman Hrabarenka (inj), Vojtech Mozik, Pierre Luc Leblond, Greg Wolfe (healthy)

Power Play: 0 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 12.  Shots on Goal: 46.  Shots Allowed: 31.

Highlights:

Wednesday: After appearing in his first three NHL games, Joe Blandisi was returned to Albany.  Naturally he wasn’t able to travel to St. John’s in time for the rematch.

12/16 @ St. John’s: 5-1 L

A few lineup changes for the rematch: Scott Wedgewood drew the starting assignment, while Vojtech Mozik and Corbin McPherson swapped places.  And much like the night before, the IceCaps got things started very quickly.  Michael McCarron would score just 30 seconds after the puck drop for a 1-0 lead.  St. John’s was not finished, as they would score twice in a 2:08 span (the latter goal coming on a power play), and the Devils were staring at a 3-0 deficit just 8:29 into the contest.  That would end Wedgewood’s evening early, as he was pulled in favor of Yann Danis.  To add injury to insult, a scary moment for Mike Sislo as he had to leave the ice on a stretcher due to an apparent left leg injury.  Second period, things began to look up…Sislo would make a miraculous return and Blake Pietila would score to cut the lead to 3-1.  But the IceCaps would regain their three goal advantage late in the period.  Third period the Devils would throw everything at IceCaps goaltender Eddie Pasquale, putting up 21 shots on net…but nothing was getting past him.  The Devils did revert back to their old habits, only allowing 4 shots in the period…but one would get past Danis and give McCarron a hat trick.  Despite putting up 46 shots for the second straight night, going on 9 power plays, and outshooting the hosts 39-11 over the final 40 minutes, the Devils would get swept by the IceCaps and suffer a third straight defeat.  Danis played well in relief of Wedgewood, stopping 15 of 17.

The Lineup:

Paul Thompson-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Jim O’Brien-Corey Tropp

Blake Pietila-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Dan Kelly/Marc Andre Gragnani

Brandon Burlon/Reece Scarlett

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Raman Hrabarenka, Pierre Luc Leblond, Corbin McPherson, Greg Wolfe

Power Play: 0 for 9.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 6.  Penalty Minutes: 17.  Shots on Goal: 46.  Shots Allowed: 23.

Highlights:

Thursday: The offense got a nice boost as forward Brian O’Neill, last year’s AHL MVP, cleared waivers and was assigned to Albany.  In 22 games with New Jersey, he posted two assists and was a -3 while mostly seeing fourth line minutes.  With O’Neill and Blandisi arriving from the big club, Greg Wolfe was released from his professional tryout and returned to Adirondack.

12/19 at Rochester: 4-1 L

While I was in Newark watching the big club drop a 2-1 decision to the Ducks, Albany tried to salvage the end of their road trip in Rochester against the Amerks.  And…that didn’t go so well, as the hosts put a 4 spot on Yann Danis in the first period.  In a span of 14:16 in the opening period, Tim Schaller, Patrick Kaleta (yes, that guy), Nick Baptiste, and Colby Robak would all find the back of the net.  And for the second straight game, a call to the bullpen was made, as Scott Wedgewood would come in to start the second period.  And things would settle down defensively from there, as Albany would outshoot the Amerks 22-12 over the final 40 minutes, and Wedgewood would stop all 12 of those shots.  But again, the Devils had trouble getting back into the game after getting in an early hole, as Brandon Burlon would score the lone Devil goal early in the third period.  It was almost a 4-2 contest late, but the goal was waved off.  With the loss, Albany finished the road swing 0-4 and searching for answers as to what happened after leaving home on December 11th.  Ryan Kujawinski and Reid Boucher had the lone assists.

The Lineup:

Brian O’Neill-Joe Blandisi-Mike Sislo

Paul Thompson-Jim O’Brien-Corey Tropp

Reid Boucher-Blake Pietila-Ryan Kujawinski

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Raman Hrabarenka, Seth Helgeson, Matt Lorito, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Graham Black

Power Play: 0 for 2.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 31.  Shots Allowed: 24.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

Well…um…who to pick?  Eh, if you scored a goal this week, you win?  That’s all I got.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (13)

Assists: Matt Lorito (17)

Points: Mike Sislo (22)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+13)

Penalty Minutes: Ben Thomson (44)

Wins: Yann Danis (14)

GAA: Yann Danis (2.01)

Save Percentage: Yann Danis (.919)

The Vault:

Changing things up this week with the holiday…and since I’ve seen this guy in the building a few times this season it sort of counts…here’s one of the famous San Jose holiday videos featuring Ryane Clowe (oh and this year’s Behind the Video collection? Hilarious)

Up North with the Thunder:

Adirondack had a 2-2 week leading up to their Christmas break, winning in Manchester Sunday afternoon, nearly coming back in a home loss to Elmira on Wednesday, then splitting a two game set in Norfolk over the weekend.  After a strong start, Ken Appleby has slumped as of late, dropping both of his starts this week: a 6-4 loss to Elmira on Wednesday only saw him stop 10 of 15 shots, then a 2-1 decision to Norfolk on Saturday, where he had 26 saves.  He has not won since December 3rd in Brampton, and now sits at 10-5-1-1 with a 2.37 GAA and .918 save percentage for the season.  Ben Johnson played in all 4 games this week, scoring his first goal of the season Friday night.  He has one goal and three assists in 6 games.  Joe Faust scored his first of the season on Wednesday, and had two assists on Friday against the Admirals.  He has seven points in 16 games.  Alexandre Carrier contributed an assist on Wednesday…in 18 games he has 2 goals and 4 assists.  Greg Wolfe scored in his return to the Thunder on Friday.

This Week’s Schedule:

After taking a few days off for the holidays, it’s back to work on Saturday, as the Devils return to home ice for the first time since December 11th to take on Providence.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday season and Merry Christmas!

 

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