Week 13 Recap: New Year, Same Dominance

The calendar may have turned over to a new year, but it’s the same story for the Devils…another perfect week in the books!

12/30 vs. Utica: 3-2 W (OT)

Rod Pelley
Rod Pelley

For the last home game of 2015, the Devils played host to the Comets, who came into the night on a 8 game road winning streak…meanwhile Albany had won their last seven in a row on home ice, so…something had to give.

Reece Scarlett would get the hosts on the board early in the first period with his first goal of the season.  But the Comets would tie it up later in the period on a power play goal by Blair Jones, a rare misstep for the #1 penalty kill in the league.  But the Devils would take the lead back early in the second on Jim O’Brien’s 5th of the season.  Things would calm down offensively after that (but things would get physical on quite a few occasions), and going into the third, Albany appeared to be back to their old defensive selves, only allowing the Comets one third period shot through most of the last twenty minutes.  But on their second shot…it would find its way from the stick of Hunter Shinkaruk to behind Yann Danis and into the net, tying the game at 2 with 5:24 remaining in regulation.  The game would go into overtime (earning Utica its first ever point against Albany in 8 tries), and O’Brien would send everyone home happy just 58 seconds into the extra frame with his second goal of the evening.

Danis would pick up win #15 with another outstanding effort, stopping 24 of 26 shots and picking up #2 star honors.  And it was yet another balanced offensive attack, as five different Devils would contribute assists.

Jim O'Brien
Jim O’Brien

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Joe Blandisi-Corey Tropp

Paul Thompson-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Chris McKelvie-Graham Black-Reid Boucher

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Seth Helgeson, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Blake Pietila, Ryan Kujawinski, Raman Hrabarenka

Power Play: 0 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 13.  Shots on Goal: 26.  Shots Allowed: 26.

Highlights:

12/31 at Utica: 4-1 W

Scott Wedgewood
Scott Wedgewood

To finish off the 2015 calendar year, the Devils headed west on the Thruway to finish off a home and home with the Comets.  Utica got off to the early 1-0 lead on their third power play of the first (yes, third…it was that kind of start) period, but Jim O’Brien would tie things up shortly thereafter with his third goal in two days.  Second period the Devils would take over the contest and not look back…Reid Boucher would break the tie with 4 and a half minutes left in the second with his 11th goal of the season.  Graham Black’s second of the year would provide a much needed insurance cushion with 7 and a half minutes to go in the third, then finally Paul Thompson would put the exclamation point on a third straight win with an empty netter.  The win also extended the Devils all time winning streak against Utica to 9 games.  Scott Wedgewood drew the starting assignment and played well, stopping 24 of 25 shots in picking up his third win.  Thompson and 4 other Devils would each have helpers.  The game also marked the return of Raman Hrabarenka to the lineup for the first time since he was hurt November 13th in Providence.

Brian O'Neill
Brian O’Neill

The Lineup:

Paul Thompson-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Matt Lorito-Joe Blandisi-Corey Tropp

Chris McKelvie-Graham Black-Reid Boucher

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Reece Scarlett/Raman Hrabarenka

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Seth Helgeson, Blake Coleman, Marc Andre Gragnani, Blake Pietila, Ryan Kujawinski, Max Novak

Highlights:

1/2 at Hartford: 4-3 W

Typical Devils-Rangers.
Typical Devils-Rangers.

The Devils started off the 2016 portion of the schedule with their second trip east of the season to Hartford to take on the Wolfpack.  Albany found themselves in a 2-0 hole midway through the first period after Pierre-Luc Leblond was called for a double minor due to a high stick.  Chad Nehring and Ryan Bourque would score 1:21 apart, showing a rare misstep for the penalty killing corps.  But it didn’t take long for the Devils to begin their rally…Matt Lorito would score on the power play three minutes later to cut the lead in half.  Reid Boucher would tie it up late in the second period with his 12th goal of the season.  It looked like Albany would put the game away during the first half of the third period after Corey Tropp (on a power play) and Lorito would score within 3:23 of each other for a 4-2 advantage…but the Wolfpack would cut the lead to one goal with 7:17 to go in regulation.  After a flurry of activity and a late Devil power play, Albany would hold on for a come from behind 4th straight win.  Scott Wedgewood survived a shaky first period and picked up his third straight win, stopping 30 of 33 shots.  Joe Blandisi would add two assists, while Boucher and 5 others each had helpers.  After finishing the first period down 19-5 in shots, the Devils would outshoot Hartford 26-14 over the final forty minutes.

A 4th straight happy celebration...
A 4th straight happy celebration…

The Lineup:

Paul Thompson-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Matt Lorito-Joe Blandisi-Corey Tropp

Chris McKelvie-Graham Black-Reid Boucher

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Seth Helgeson, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Blake Pietila, Ryan Kujawinski, Raman Hrabarenka

Power Play: 2 for 5.  Penalty Kill: 1 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 32.  Shots Allowed: 33.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

There were several quality candidates for this week’s honor but…Jim O’Brien and his 3 goal/4 point week get the nod.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Reid Boucher (12)

Assists: Matt Lorito (18)

Points: Matt Lorito (25)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+17)

Penalty Minutes: Pierre-Luc Leblond (58)

Wins: Yann Danis (15)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.87)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.926)

The Vault:

Early in the 2009-10 season, Martin Brodeur’s backup would beat the Bruins 2-1.  Here’s his postgame interview:

Up North with the Thunder:

It’s been an up and down week for the boys in Adirondack, as they went 2-2 over a busy week.  Tuesday they dropped a 3-1 decision to Greenville at home, then defeated Reading in a shootout on New Years Eve.  They started off 2016 by being shut out 5-0 to the Royals in Pennsylvania on Saturday before returning the favor Sunday afternoon 3-2.  Ken Appleby went 1-1, winning the shootout on Thursday (26/27 saves) and taking the loss on Saturday (26/31).  He is now 11-7-1-1 with a 2.41 GAA and a .916 save percentage.  Joe Faust and Alexandre Carrier appeared in all 4 games and were both scoreless (Carrier did have a fighting major on Sunday), while Ben Johnson appeared in just two games before sitting out the road trip in Reading.  Greg Wolfe notched a goal and an assist in 4 appearances.  On tap this week: the start of a 5 game homestand, as Adirondack hosts Manchester on Wednesday and a two game set against South Carolina Friday and Saturday night.

This Week’s Schedule:

It’s the first 3 in 3 weekend of 2016, but it’s a relatively easy one travel wise.  Friday night Albany hosts the Crunch for the third time in a month.  Saturday afternoon Lehigh Valley comes in for their only visit of the season.  Then it’s back east to Hartford on Sunday afternoon to take on the Wolfpack for the second time in 8 days.

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