Week 14 Recap: Almost Another Lucky Seven

Four forwards lost to New Jersey, leaving just the bare minimum of skaters needed.  A 3 in 3 weekend.

No problem for these Devils, who extended one win streak, had a second one snapped, and saw a lot of goals cross the line.  The result?  Five out of six points and a stranglehold on second place in the division.

 1/8 vs. Syracuse: 6-4 W

Joe Blandisi

Joe Blandisi

Back on home ice for the first time in 2016, the Devils faced off against the Crunch for the fourth time this season.  Well, namely former first round pick Jonathan Drouin, who was making his 15-16 Crunch debut after being sent down by Tampa Bay the weekend before.  But it would be another recent send-down that would make the first move…just 12 seconds into the second Devil power play of the game, Mike Sislo would score his league leading 10th power play goal (14th overall) for a 1-0 lead.  But Drouin would not be denied, as he scored a pretty goal less than two minutes later to tie it up.  But just as quickly, Corey Tropp would score his 9th for a 2-1 advantage.  With less than a minute to go in the first period, it would be Drouin again tying the game up.  In the second, there would be a goalie switch due to illness (Kristers Gudlevskis would leave early in favor of Adam Wilcox) and Rod Pelley (with his 3rd of the season) and Syracuse’s Jeff Tambellini would trade goals midway through the period to keep the game deadlocked going into the final stanza.  In the third, Tambellini would score his second to give the Crunch a 4-3 lead.  But the home team would come through in the clutch, as Sislo’s second power play goal of the night and a tally by Matt Lorito just 1:04 apart would put Albany back on top.  Reid Boucher would score into an empty net for the icing on the cake, clinching the Devils’ 9th straight home ice win and 5th straight win overall.  Yann Danis stopped 19 of 23 shots and picked up win #16.  Joe Blandisi would contribute 3 assists, while Reece Scarlett had two helpers of his own.

It's a captains duel!

It’s a captains duel!

The Lineup:

Brian O’Neill-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Joe Blandisi-Corey Tropp

Graham Black-Blake Pietila-Chris McKelvie

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Reece Scarlett/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Brandon Burlon, Max Novak, Blake Coleman, Ryan Kujawinski

Power Play: 2 for 6.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 21.  Shots on Goal: 31.  Shots Allowed: 23.

Highlights:

Saturday: With another forward in New Jersey (this time Jiri Tlusty) going down with an injury, Joe Blandisi was recalled for the second time this season, and just in time for a 4 game road swing for the parent club.

1/9 vs. Lehigh Valley: 4-2 W

Blake Pietila

Blake Pietila

Less than 24 hours later…back at it, as the former Northway rivals the Phantoms made their only visit to the Capital Region all season.  With three forwards on recall to New Jersey, someone else had to step up offensively…who knew it would be Seth Helgeson?  His first goal of the season came halfway through the first period to give the Devils a 1-0 lead.  Joe Rehkamp would tie the game up for the visitors early in the second period.  After that, the top power play in the league would take over once again.  Just eight seconds after the first power play of the day began, Blake Pietila would score his 6th of the season to put Albany ahead 2-1.  Then on a 5 on 3 advantage late in the period, Brian O’Neill would score his second of the season for a 3-1 lead.  Mike Sislo would add on to the lead early in the third with his 16th of the season.  The Phantoms would cut the lead to 4-2, but were shut down the rest of the way.  With New Jersey GM Ray Shero in attendance, Albany would take their 10th straight on home ice and 6th in a row overall.  Scott Wedgewood won his fourth straight start in net, stopping 26 of 28 Phantom shots.  Reece Scarlett would recover from a bout in the first period that saw him miss 17 minutes, but he still managed two more assists.  Sislo and Matt Lorito also had two helpers.

Hockey Hugs after a job well done!

Hockey Hugs after a job well done!

The Lineup:

Brian O’Neill-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Graham Black-Corey Tropp

Blake Pietila-Ryan Kujawinski-Chris McKelvie

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Raman Hrabarenka/Corbin McPherson

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Brandon Burlon, Blake Coleman, Max Novak

Power Play: 2 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 23.  Shots on Goal: 31.  Shots Allowed: 28.

Highlights:

1/10 at Hartford: 4-3 L (OT)

It was back to the Connecticut state capital for the second time in 8 days, as Albany made its final visit of the season to Hartford to face the Wolfpack.  And just like last Saturday, the Devils would find themselves in a hole in the first…Marek Hrivik would score 5 minutes into the game for a 1-0 lead.  But on a very pretty goal later in the period, Corey Tropp’s tenth of the season would tie it up.  Dan Kelly would break the tie early in the second period with his second goal of the season…but Hartford would answer midway through the period and tie it up on a Chris McCarthy tally.  The seesaw battle would tip back into the Devils favor late in the second on a power play goal by Ryan Kujawinski for a 3-2 lead.  But once again the Wolfpack would answer and early in the third, Josh Nicholls would tie it up with his first professional goal.  That would be one of just two Hartford shots given up by Albany for the final 20 minutes.  The game would get to overtime, but it didn’t last very long…former Union captain Mat Bodie would score the winner on the first shot taken 19 seconds in to give the Wolfpack the win and halt the Devils win streak at 6.  Yann Danis would stop 15 of 19 shots.  Reece Scarlett would have another two assists, while three other Devils each had helpers.  And not one Devil would serve time in the penalty box, as only two minors were called the entire game, both on Hartford.

The Lineup:

Brian O’Neill-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Graham Black-Corey Tropp

Blake Pietila-Ryan Kujawinski-Chris McKelvie

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Raman Hrabarenka/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Brandon Burlon, Blake Coleman, Max Novak

Power Play: 1 for 2.  Penalty Kill: None.  Penalty Minutes: 0.  Shots on Goal: 34.  Shots Allowed: 19.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

There were several deserving candidates for this honor…but I’m going to split it between Mike Sislo and Reece Scarlett, who both had 6 point weekends.  Scarlett doubled his season total for points in one weekend, which is quite impressive.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (16)

Assists: Matt Lorito (22)

Points: Matt Lorito (30)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+19)

Penalty Minutes: Pierre-Luc Leblond (60)

Wins: Yann Danis (16)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.89)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.927)

The Vault:

With narration by Doc and Chico and a cameo appearance by David Clarkson, we’re going back to 2008 and one of many PL3 classics…considering his opponent is now a Phantoms assistant coach, it’s a perfect tie-in for this week.

Up North with the Thunder:

Not a bad week for Adirondack, as they took 2 out of 3 on home ice.  In a 5-2 win over Manchester on Wednesday, Alex Carrier would score his 3rd goal of the season, while Greg Wolfe contributed one assist.  Carrier would assist on the lone goal Friday in a 5-1 loss to South Carolina.  Ken Appleby returned to the net Saturday and picked up a 4-2 win over the Stingrays, stopping 22 of 24 shots, with Carrier assisting on a late empty netter.  The homestand continues on Tuesday when Norfolk comes to visit, followed by Reading on Saturday before traveling to Elmira on Sunday afternoon.

This Week’s Schedule:

A three game in four day week awaits.  Wednesday the Devils return home to take on Rochester.  Then it’s on the road for Friday and Saturday: Friday night in Providence for the second time this season, then back to Utica on Saturday to face the Comets.

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