Week 15 Recap: Shutout to Soul Crushing

The Devil week started out very promising, then…everything came crashing down, so to speak.  A 3 point out of 6 week, depending on the schedule and/or the opponent, can either be positive or…so much more.  The latter would fit this week.

1/13 vs. Rochester: 4-0 W

Seth Helgeson
Seth Helgeson

The week began with a visit from Rochester…and former Calder Cup winning goaltender Robin Lehner, down from Buffalo on a conditioning stint.  And it was the most unlikeliest of players who got the home team on the board first…on a deflection in front, what looked like a goal from Corey Tropp was actually credited to Pierre-Luc Leblond, who scored his first in over a calendar year for the 1-0 lead.  Matt Lorito would double the lead with his 9th late in the second period.  Then Albany would put the game away in the third, as Brian O’Neill (3rd) and Reid Boucher (14th on a power play) would score 6:17 apart.  And Scott Wedgewood would take care of the rest, as he stopped all 19 Amerk shots to pick up his first shutout of the season and his fifth straight win, and Albany picked up their 11th straight win on home ice.  Mike Sislo added two assists, while O’Neill and three other Devils each had helpers.

Celebrating 11 in a row!
Celebrating 11 in a row!

The Lineup:

Brian O’Neill-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Corey Tropp-Graham Black-Reid Boucher

Chris McKelvie-Ryan Kujawinski-Blake Pietila

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: 1 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 9.  Shots on Goal: 39.  Shots Allowed: 19.


Thursday: Good news for Albany’s roster crunch, as Paul Thompson was sent down to make room for Tuomo Ruutu’s return from injured reserve.  In his first NHL stint, he appeared in 3 games without getting a point.

Friday: More roster maneuvering: Jim O’Brien and Marc Andre Gragnani were sent down, but in their place Reid Boucher and Brian O’Neill were recalled, joining the parent club in Arizona.  O’Brien and Gragnani appeared in 4 games each, but with no points.

1/15 at Providence: 5-2 L

With a depleted forward corps, it was due east to Providence to take on the Bruins, who came into the night with a 9 game home winning streak of their own.  Seth Helgeson would get the visitors on the board first with his second goal of the season in the first.  Chris Casto would tie things up during the second.  Early in the third, Noel Acciari’s 5th goal early in the third would put the Bruins ahead 2-1, but 27 seconds later Matt Lorito’s 10th goal of the season would quickly re-tie the game.  Then late in the period Providence would shift it into high gear…on the Devils second too many men call of the game, Alexander Khokhlachev would score on the ensuing power play to break the tie.  Just over a minute later, he would assist on a Brandon DeFazio goal for a 2 goal cushion.  And to finish it off, an empty netter by Seth Griffith with one minute remaining, handing the Devils their first regulation loss of 2016, snapping their point streak at 8.  Yann Danis stopped 34 of 38 shots.  Lorito and three other Devils each had assists.

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Corey Tropp

Ryan Kujawinski-Graham Black-Paul Thompson

Chris McKelvie-Blake Pietila-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Raman Hrabarenka/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Brandon Burlon, Blake Coleman, Jim O’Brien, Marc Andre Gragnani

Power Play: 0 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 15.  Shots on Goal: 33.  Shots Allowed: 39.

Highlights: Video here via AHL Live.

1/16 at Utica: 1-0 L (OT)

Raman Hrabarenka
Raman Hrabarenka

To finish off the week, it was back to Utica for the second time in 17 days, as the Devils looked to extend their all time winning streak against the Comets.  And from the beginning, it appeared Utica did not want to see that happen.  It took Albany a majority of the first period to even get one shot on goal, while the Comets peppered Scott Wedgewood with 17 of them.  But no one was able to score.  In the second period, more of the same…Devils did manage to get six shots while Wedgewood stopped all 10 he saw in the middle 20.  A repeat of the same in the third…only six more Devil shots (when they actually could manage to get in the offensive zone that is), while Wedgewood was practically standing on his head in stopping all 13 Comet chances.  Even with a 3 on 3 overtime, early on neither side could break through.  But finally, with 1:55 standing between the Devils and their possible first shootout of the season…heartbreak for Wedgewood, as the Comets 44th shot of the game off the stick of Carter Bancks made it in, earning Utica the OT win and breaking the winless curse after 10 all time meetings.  Wedgewood deserved so much better in stopping a career high 43 shots, but the rest of the team had nothing to show for it.  The Devils actually had more penalty minutes (18) than shots (14), but special teams did manage to kill off all 6 Utica power plays.

Marc Andre Gragnani
Marc Andre Gragnani

The Lineup:

Jim O’Brien-Ryan Kujawinski-Corey Tropp

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Max Novak-Graham Black-Blake Pietila

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Chris McKelvie

Dan Kelly/Corbin McPherson

Marc Andre Gragnani/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Brandon Burlon, Blake Coleman, Reece Scarlett, Pierre Luc Leblond

Power Play: 0 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 6 for 6.  Penalty Minutes: 18.  Shots on Goal: 14.  Shots Allowed: 44.


My Player of the Week:

Scott Wedgewood is the obvious choice this week…63 saves on 64 shots over two games, including his first shutout of the season and seemingly being the only player to show up Saturday night.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (16)

Assists: Matt Lorito (23)

Points: Matt Lorito (33)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+20)

Penalty Minutes: 2 tied with 60

Wins: Yann Danis (16)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.53)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.944)

The Vault:

Before he was a Devil…Chris McKelvie was a fighting Whale.

Up North with the Thunder:

A good week for Adirondack as they picked up back to back shutout victories over Norfolk on Tuesday and Reading on Saturday.  Greg Wolfe picked up an assist in Tuesday’s 1-0 win.  Ken Appleby stopped all 36 Royal shots on Saturday to pick up his 13th win and 3rd shutout of the season.  Joe Faust scored his second goal of the season on a power play while Wolfe added another assist.  The Thunder hit the road for four of their next five, starting in Elmira on Sunday afternoon before heading to Reading on Monday.  After a home game Friday with Manchester, they then head to New Hampshire for an additional two game set with the Monarchs on Saturday and Sunday.

This Week’s Schedule:

Good news for Albany…it’s the beginning of a 5 game homestand.  On Wednesday Hartford finally makes their first visit of the season.  Then St. John’s comes in for a two game set on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

Also coming up this week…the halfway point of the schedule. Look for a first half numbers wrapup on Thursday.


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