Week 16 Recap: Halted at Home

When you’re on an 11 game winning streak at home and about to start an extended homestand, one would think only more good things are to come.

But when you can only support your goaltending with just 5 goals in 3 games…it can end up disastrous.  The only good thing the Devils can take out of a 1 out of 6 point week is not losing their position in the division.

1/20 vs. Hartford: 3-2 L (OT)

Ben Thomson
Ben Thomson

It was back home on Wednesday as Albany kicked off a 5 game homestand against the Wolfpack, looking to extend their home winning streak to 12 games.  After a relatively quiet first period that saw Albany outshoot their visitors 12-5 (significant considering what happened Saturday in Utica…it took more than two-thirds of the game for the Devils to even get that many shots), the Wolfpack got on the board twice in a 5:18 span against Scott Wedgewood.  Nicklas Jensen would score just 31 seconds into the period, followed by Ryan Bourque.  Those two goals came on just three Wolfpack shots for the period (ouch).  But the Devils fourth line would get the home team back in the game late…a pair of goals by Ben Thomson 3:01 apart would tie things up heading into the third.  Despite Albany outshooting Hartford 12-4, nothing would come across on either side, and it was off to overtime for the second straight game and third time in four games.  Just as it looked like the Devils would finally be going to their first shootout of the season…Chad Nehring would get the puck past Wedgewood with just 32.6 seconds to go in overtime, stopping Albany’s home win streak at 11 (but to put a positive spin on it, extending the point streak to 12).  Outside of the second period, it wasn’t all bad for Wedgewood, as he stopped 14 of 17 shots.  Three different Devils each had helpers.

Matt Lorito
Matt Lorito

The Lineup:

Brian O’Neill-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Corey Tropp-Jim O’Brien-Paul Thompson

Blake Pietila-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Marc-Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Corbin McPherson

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Brandon Burlon, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Raman Hrabarenka, Pierre-Luc Leblond

Power Play: 0 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 4.  Shots on Goal: 34.  Shots Allowed: 17.


Friday: Just before morning skate, forward Ben Johnson was recalled from Adirondack.  In 12 games with the Thunder he scored 3 goals and assisted on 3 others.  And with New Jersey down to 5 defensemen before heading to Winnipeg and Pittsburgh, Seth Helgeson was recalled under emergency conditions.

1/22 vs. St. John’s: 4-2 L

Scott Wedgewood
Scott Wedgewood

Without Helgeson or Matt Lorito in the lineup (due to an ankle injury suffered on Wednesday) the Devils pressed on, starting a two game set with John Scott and the IceCaps.  Things looked back to normal for the Devils in the first, as they outshot the visitors 11-4 and Jim O’Brien, who took Lorito’s first line spot, picked up his 8th goal of the season.  But St. John’s would turn the tide in the second…in a span of 40 seconds, they would tie it, only to lose the lead to O’Brien’s second goal, then tie the game up once again.  But while on a 5 on 3 penalty kill, Charles Hudon would find the back of the net for a 3-2 IceCaps lead.  In the third, Albany only allowed one shot on goal to St. John’s…but that shot would take an extremely lucky bounce off of Sven Andrighetto and cross the goal line, giving the IceCaps an insurance goal.  Albany would put up just seven shots in the third but could not make the comeback, extending the winless streak to four games.  Yann Danis had one of those unlucky/want those back nights, stopping 13 of 17.  Mike Sislo, who was questionable after leaving Wednesday’s game, did play and managed the lone assist.

Corbin McPherson
Corbin McPherson

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Corey Tropp-Ryan Kujawinski-Blake Pietila

Ben Thomson-Graham Black-Ben Johnson

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Vojtech Mozik/Marc-Andre Gragnani

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Reece Scarlett/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Brandon Burlon, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Paul Thompson (vet), Matt Lorito

1/23 vs. St. John’s: 2-1 L

Mike Sislo
Mike Sislo

About 17 hours later, time for the rematch.  This time Scott Wedgewood would man the net, and he got off to a good start, stopping all 11 IceCap shots in the first period.  But he would run into trouble in the second, as Gabriel Dumont would put the visitors on the board first.  A late power play goal by Sven Andrighetto would double the deficit.  But early in the third Albany would show some sign of life, as Vojtech Mozik would score on a power play to cut the lead to 2-1.  Despite a rush of shots late in the game, the Devils just could not get the equalizer, and the IceCaps would sweep the two game series, pushing the Devils losing streak to 5.  Wedgewood took a hard luck loss in net, stopping 20 of 22 shots.  Reece Scarlett and Ryan Kujawinski had the lone helpers.

It's not everyday you get to see the captain of the NHL Pacific Division All-Stars...
It’s not everyday you get to see the captain of the NHL Pacific Division All-Stars…

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Corey Tropp-Ryan Kujawinski-Paul Thompson

Ben Thomson-Graham Black-Blake Pietila

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Johnson

Vojtech Mozik/Marc-Andre Gragnani

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Reece Scarlett

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Matt Lorito, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Corbin McPherson

Power Play: 1 for 2.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 23.  Shots on Goal: 33.  Shots Allowed: 22.


My Player of the Week:

With two goals each this week, I’ll split the award between Ben Thomson and Jim O’Brien.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (16)

Assists: Matt Lorito (23)

Points: Matt Lorito (33)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+19)

Penalty Minutes: Ben Thomson (62)

Wins: Yann Danis (16)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.72)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.933)

The Vault:

Back to 2011, when Brian O’Neill was the captain at Yale…and that hair…

Up North with the Thunder:

It was a record setting beginning of the week for the Thunder…but then things went downhill after that.  The goaltending tandem of Ken Appleby and Kent Simpson set a new ECHL record on Monday, going 251:51 without giving up a goal.  After a 1-0 shutout in Elmira Sunday, Adirondack would defeat Reading 3-1 as Appleby stopped 43 of 44 shots.  Ben Johnson would score his third goal of the season.  Friday in Glens Falls Greg Wolfe would score his seventh, but the Thunder would drop a wild 6-5 shootout to Manchester and former Devil PTO Doug Carr.  On Saturday in New Hampshire, Appleby would drop a 2-1 decision, stopping 34 of 36 shots, while Wolfe assisted on the lone Thunder tally.  After one more matchup in Manchester Sunday afternoon, Adirondack starts a six game homestand, starting with a pair against Reading on Friday and Saturday.

This Week’s Schedule:

A busy three game week heading up to the end of January and the All Star break.  Wednesday, Hershey (and Scott Gomez) will be making their lone visit to the Capital Region this season.  Friday the 5 game homestand wraps up with a visit from Utica.  Then it’s southeast to Bridgeport on Saturday evening to face the Sound Tigers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: