Week 21 Recap: Leaping into March

It was a near perfect ending to a very good month of February for the Devils.  They may not have made it to seven wins in a row again, but a 5 out of 6 point week is still a great springboard into the month of March…and a very tough road stretch.

2/24 vs. St. John’s: 4-3 W

Corbin McPherson
Corbin McPherson

The last home game for the month of February and until mid March came on Wednesday, as the IceCaps (and of course John Scott) made their final visit of the season to the Capital Region.  And the hosts got things started pretty quickly in the first period.  Corbin McPherson scored his first goal in over a year just 4:43 into the contest for a 1-0 Devil lead.  Paul Thompson would pick up his 10th later on for a two goal advantage.  Midway through the second, the first streak of the night was extended, as Mike Sislo would score in his 8th straight contest and pick up goal #26 for a 3-0 Devil lead.  St. John’s would make things very interesting to start off the third period, as Charles Hudon and Tim Bozon would score 30 seconds apart to suddenly make it a one goal contest.  But another first goal of the season–an empty-netter from Chris McKelvie–would ice it for the Devils.  Hudon would add his second with 3.1 seconds remaining, but it was too little too late, as for the third time this season the Devils would win their sixth straight.  Another win streak was also extended–Yann Danis would pick up his seventh straight win, a new franchise record.  He stopped 22 of 25 IceCap shots.  The top line of Sislo, Thompson, and Matt Lorito would combine for two goals and five assists, while Corey Tropp and Brian O’Neill would add helpers.

Reece Scarlett
Reece Scarlett

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Corey Tropp-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Max Novak-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Dan Kelly/Joe Faust

Marc-Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Raman Hrabarenka/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Brandon Burlon (illness), Blake Coleman, Scott Wedgewood, Vojtech Mozik, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Ben Johnson, Blake Pietila

Power Play: 0 for 1.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 20.  Shots Allowed: 25.

Highlights:

2/26 at Springfield: 4-3 L (OT)

Ken Appleby
Ken Appleby

On Friday, a six game road swing began due east, as the Devils made their final visit to Springfield to take on the Falcons.  Matt Lorito would pick up his 12th goal of the season late in the first off a steal for a 1-0 Devil lead.  But the hosts would tie it up…a Devil defender would turn it over, Ross Mauermann picked it up, and he was off to the races, scoring on a breakaway.  But Brian O’Neill would put the Devils back in the lead with a power play goal, his 7th of the season.  Reece Scarlett would follow up two minutes later with his third goal to make it 3-1.  At this point, you’re thinking this Albany team will take things over from here, right?  Well, not so fast.  On another Devil turnover, Dustin Jeffrey would pick it and score on Ken Appleby to cut the lead to 3-2.  In the third, the Falcons would be the team taking over, outshooting Albany 19-8, and then coming through against the #1 ranked penalty kill in the league.  Henrik Samuelsson’s goal with 7:41 left in regulation would tie the game up at 3 apiece.  Lorito would take a penalty late in the third, putting both teams in a 4 on 4 situation in overtime.  And another breakaway would end up sealing the Devils fate…Eric Selleck, for the second time this season, would score the game winner in the extra frame against Albany, completing the Falcon comeback and halting another six game win streak for Albany.  Appleby would stop 35 of 39 in the loss.  Mike Sislo’s goal streak was stopped at 8, but his lone assist would extend his current point streak to 9 games.  Three other Devils would add helpers.

Brian O'Neill
Brian O’Neill

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Corey Tropp-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Max Novak-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Marc-Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Ken Appleby/Yann Danis

Out: Scott Wedgewood, Blake Coleman, Vojtech Mozik, Blake Pietila, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Joe Faust, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 6.  Shots on Goal: 28.  Shots Allowed: 39.

Highlights:

Saturday: It may have been a rare day off on the schedule, but there was some news.  Seth Helgeson was sent down, and joining him on a conditioning assignment?  Stefan Matteau, who hasn’t seen any game action for New Jersey since mid January and was just getting over a facial injury suffered during practice last week.

2/28 at Bridgeport: 4-1 W

To finish off a successful February, it was back to Bridgeport for the second straight Sunday to take on the Sound Tigers.  First period was all Devils, as they scored twice and outshot their hosts 12-3.  Graham Black would start the scoring 5:54 in with his 5th goal of the season.  Rod Pelley would double the lead later on with his 6th.  The Sound Tigers would cut the lead in half 57 seconds into the second period, just one second before a Devil penalty expired.  Third period Albany would take over and not look back.  On just their second power play chance of the day, Paul Thompson would pick up his 11th goal to restore the two goal advantage.  Just under three minutes later, on another power play, Raman Hrabarenka scored his third for a 4-1 lead, sealing the Devils a win to close February, extending their point streak to 8 games, and finishing the month 9-1-1-0.  Yann Danis only needed to stop 16 of 17 shots to pick up win #25, his 8th straight win.  Marc Andre Gragnani added two assists, and with an assist on Hrabarenka’s goal Mike Sislo would extend his point streak to 10 games.  Thompson and three others would also have assists.

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Brian O’Neill

Paul Thompson-Jim O’Brien-Stefan Matteau

Corey Tropp-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Max Novak-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Marc-Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Scott Wedgewood, Blake Coleman, Chris McKelvie, Blake Pietila, Brandon Burlon, Vojtech Mozik, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Joe Faust, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 2 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 16.  Shots on Goal: 27.  Shots Allowed: 17.

Highlights:

As of press time…no video has surfaced.  Stay tuned…

My Player of the Week:

Or, who else other than Mike Sislo?  Other than him, Brian O’Neill was the only other Devil to appear on the scoresheet in all three games.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (26)

Assists: Matt Lorito (31)

Points: Mike Sislo (50)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+22)

Penalty Minutes: Pierre-Luc Leblond (96)

Wins: Yann Danis (25)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.67)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.932)

The Vault:

We’re going back 5 years, back to when Raman Hrabarenka was just starting out in North America…and the video quality is just meh.

Up North with the Thunder:

It was a split week for Adirondack, as they went 1-1-0-1.  Wednesday they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Monarchs in New Hampshire.  They then returned home and split a two game set with Reading, losing 5-4 in a shootout on Saturday and winning 3-1 on Sunday.  Greg Wolfe returned to the lineup on Saturday, but broke out Sunday afternoon with 1 goal and 2 assists.  Alexandre Carrier remains out with an ankle injury.  The Thunder hit the road for a 3 in 3 set down south, with two games against Norfolk Thursday and Friday before moving on to South Carolina on Saturday.

This Week’s Schedule:

The road trip heads over the border into Canada for the next three games.  Tuesday morning finds the Devils kicking off March in Toronto, with a schoolday game against the only team ahead of them in the standings, the Marlies.  Then it’s further north into St. John’s, as they finish off the season series with the IceCaps on Friday and Saturday.

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The Weekly Primer, Issue 21

Quick Hits:

-The Devils begin the last week of February with a record of 31-13-7-0, 69 points and a percentage of .676.  They remain stuck in second place in the North Division, 15 points behind first place Toronto and 11 ahead of third place Utica.

-Just to give you an idea of just how well the Devils have done to this point:

  1. Their .676 point percentage would be good for first place in the other 3 divisions.
  2. This year’s team is the fastest in franchise history to reach 30 wins, doing so in 50 games.  The 2013-14 edition reached 30 in 57 games.
  3. For the month of February their record is 7-1.  Last February? 2-8, with just road wins in Utica and Syracuse.

-Now live for all: the AHL Playoff Primer!  As of today, the magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 33.

-Injury update: Vojtech Mozik and Blake Pietila are out due to assorted injuries.  And Brandon Burlon is the latest victim of the team flu bug, he is out at least for tonight’s game.

Wednesday, 2/24 vs. St. John’s

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: St. John’s leads 4-1.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 23-21-7-3, 56 points, .519 pct, 5th place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Bud Holloway, 44 points (15 G, 29 A); Charles Hudon, 36 points (16 G, 20 A); 2 tied with 34 points; Zachary Fucale, 14-12-3, 2.98 GAA; Eddie Pasquale, 6-6-3, 2.88 GAA

Notes: The IceCaps are midway through a 6 game New York State road trip, their lone win a come from behind shootout victory over Syracuse on Wednesday; St. John’s dropped a pair to Binghamton over the weekend; NHL All Star MVP John Scott is back with the team, and scored his first goal on Friday, his only point in 9 appearances; leading scorer Bud Holloway is ranked in the top 10 in league scoring.

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @IceCapsAHL

Friday, 2/26 at Springfield

Where: Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 2-1.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 19-26-3-4, 45 points, .433 pct, 8th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Dustin Jeffrey, 42 points (12 G, 30 A); Greg Carey, 37 points (24 G, 13 A); Alex Grant, 32 points (9 G, 23 A); Marek Langhamer, 4-6-1, 3.72 GAA; Josh Robinson, 0-1-0, 6.11 GAA

Notes: The Falcons have dropped 3 out of their last 4, getting swept over the weekend by Lehigh Valley and Hartford; this game starts another 3 in 3, as they host Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday then travel to Portland on Sunday; 36 different players, including 5 goaltenders, have seen game action for Springfield this season; forward Greg Carey has 8 goals in 8 games during the month of February and sits one behind Mike Sislo for the league lead.

Listen: AHL Live, WHYN 560 AM

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheFalconsAHL, @KatyLovesHockey

Sunday, 2/28 at Bridgeport

Where: Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, CT.

When: 5:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 3-2.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 28-20-3-2, 61 points, .575 pct, 5th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Bracken Kearns, 42 points (19 G, 23 A); Joe Whitney, 33 points (14 G, 19 A); Taylor Beck, 31 points (16 G, 15 A); Christopher Gibson, 15-9-5, 2.68 GAA; Stephon Williams, 7-8-0, 2.82 GAA

Notes: Bridgeport snapped a 11 game point streak (9-0-1-1) with the loss to Albany on Sunday afternoon; this is the third game of a 3 in 3 weekend, they take on Providence in a home and home series starting Friday; if the playoffs started today, the Sound Tigers would cross over into the North Division and clinch the fourth playoff spot, facing Toronto in the first round.

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheSoundTigers, @fornabaioctp

Week 20 Recap: Keep the Streak(s) Alive

This was one of those rare weeks in the schedule where there were six days in between games.  Good time to rest up and recharge.

It looks like the Devils took advantage of that, sweeping a pair of games and extending a few personal streaks in the process.

2/20 at Utica: 3-2 W (OT)

Joe Faust
Joe Faust

To start the week, the Devils headed west on the Thruway to Utica, hoping to break a 2 game losing streak to the Comets after winning the first 9 games of their lifetime series.  And the way the first period went, that didn’t look like a possibility.  While the Devils only managed 5 shots on Comets goaltender Joe Cannata, the hosts would score twice on Yann Danis.  Andrey Pedan kicked off the scoring 6:51 in with (hate to admit it, but…) a nice play on the side for a 1-0 advantage.  Then a rare misstep for the penalty kill, as Brendan Gaunce would score 24 seconds into the Comets first power play opportunity to double the lead.  Second period, the tables would turn, as it was the Comets struggling to get shots on goal and the visitors were the ones dominating.  Dan Kelly would pick up his fourth goal, a career best, 3:08 into the period to cut the lead in half.  Mike Sislo would tie the game up just over 5 minutes later with his league leading 24th tally.  The Comets could only manage two shots for the entire middle 20 minutes.  The Devils would continue to dominate in the third, only allowing 7 shots, but they were unable to get that go ahead goal despite a late power play opportunity.  It was on to overtime for the third straight game between the two teams, and this time the Devils would not be denied.  Matt Lorito would finish the comeback with less than 2 minutes remaining in the extra frame with a beautiful goal, clinching a fourth straight win.  Danis recovered nicely after a shaky first, stopping 21 of 23 in picking up his fifth straight win and 22nd overall.  Four different Devils added helpers.

Chris McKelvie
Chris McKelvie

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Corey Tropp-Jim O’Brien-Ryan Kujawinski

Ben Thomson-Graham Black-Max Novak

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Blake Pietila

Marc-Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Blake Coleman, Scott Wedgewood, Brian O’Neill (ill), Vojtech Mozik (unk), Pierre-Luc Leblond, Joe Faust, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 0 for 6.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 22.  Shots on Goal: 34.  Shots Allowed: 23.

Highlights:

2/21 at Bridgeport: 5-2 W

To close out the brief two day week, it  was off to southern Connecticut to take on the Sound Tigers, who were working on an 11 game point streak.  And it didn’t take very long for the hosts to strike first, as a Ryan Pulock one-timer found its way past Yann Danis for the 1-0 advantage just 2:24 in.  Raman Hrabarenka would answer with his second goal of the season 4 and a half minutes later to tie it up.  Paul Thompson would put the visitors ahead 2-1 midway through the second with his 9th, only to have Bridgeport’s Mike Halmo tie it up with 3 and a half to go in the second.  On a tip in late in the period, Graham Black would pick up his fourth tally of the season to put the Devils ahead 3-2.  Two very good plays in the third would put the game away for Albany…first, off a steal, Ryan Kujawinski  scored his 4th just 2:12 in for an insurance goal.  Then with Dan Kelly in the penalty box, Mike Sislo would pick up a turnover, breakaway alone, and shoot it past Christopher Gibson to keep his goal streak alive at 7 games.  And that was all the offense needed for the Devils to pick up their fifth straight win and sweep the weekend.  Danis extended his personal win streak to six, stopping 25 of 27 shots.  Sislo, Hrabarenka, and three other added assists.

The Lineup:

Paul Thompson-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Brian O’Neill-Jim O’Brien-Corey Tropp

Ryan Kujawinski-Graham Black-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Blake Pietila

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Blake Coleman, Scott Wedgewood, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Ben Johnson, Max Novak, Vojtech Mozik, Joe Faust

Power Play: 0 for 5.  Penalty Kill: 6 for 6.  Penalty Minutes: 22.  Shots on Goal: 26.  Shots Allowed: 27.

Highlights:

AHL Live has the highlight reel here.

My Player of the Week:

Not an easy decision this week, so…I may just have to split it between the two AHL All Stars, who are both working on some personal streaks.  Seven games in a row with a goal for Mike Sislo, who now leads the league with 25; and 6 straight wins, all in the month of February, for Yann Danis.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (25)

Assists: Matt Lorito (29)

Points: Mike Sislo (45)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+22)

Penalty Minutes: Pierre-Luc Leblond (96)

Wins: Yann Danis (23)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.67)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.932)

The Vault:

Going back to 2012 and some minor memories with Ryan Kujawinski…

Up North with the Thunder:

Not a bad week for Adirondack, as they went 2-1-0-1 with a busy four game week.  They were shutout on Tuesday 4-0 by Wheeling at home (with Joe Faust and Ben Johnson in the lineup for a cameo appearance), then dropped a 2-1 shootout in Elmira on Friday.  Then the Thunder finally got back in the win column with a 3-1 win over the Jackals on Saturday before defeating Brampton in Canada 5-2 Sunday afternoon.  Greg Wolfe and Alexandre Carrier remain out of the lineup.  The Thunder travel to Manchester on Wednesday night before hosting Reading in a pair of games on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

This Week’s Schedule:

A three game docket for the Devils this week.  On Wednesday it’s back home to take on St. John’s (and cult hero John Scott).  Friday begins a season long six game road trip, with Springfield the first stop.  After a rare Saturday off, it’s back to Bridgeport on Sunday for the third straight Sunday matchup against the Sound Tigers, closing out the month of February.

 

The Weekly Primer, Issue 20

Quick Hits:

-The Devils enter the weekend with a record of 29-13-7-0, good for 65 points and a .663 percentage.  They remain stuck in second place in the North Division, 17 points behind first place Toronto (and an insane .788 point percentage) and 8 points ahead of third place Utica.

-Only transactions this week: Joe Faust and Ben Johnson were reassigned to Adirondack on Tuesday so they could play in Glens Falls that night against Wheeling, then came back to Albany on Wednesday.

-Injury update: Rod Pelley (upper) and Marc Andre Gragnani (upper) are practicing but questionable.  Corey Tropp (illness) is back to full strength and will be back…but now Brian O’Neill has fallen victim to the flu bug.  Scott Wedgewood remains out indefinitely.

-And with Lehigh Valley allowing a shorthanded goal to Portland last Friday, the Devils are the only team in the AHL to not allow a shorty this season.

Saturday, 2/20 at Utica

Where: Utica Memorial Auditorium, Utica, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 3-2.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 25-18-4-3, 57 points, .570 pct, 3rd place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Hunter Shinkaruk, 38 points (21 G, 17 A); Brendan Gaunce, 32 points (14 G, 18 A); 2 tied with 28 points; Richard Bachman, 10-8-4, 2.70 GAA; Joe Cannata, 14-9-2, 2.55 GAA

Notes: The Comets begin the day winners of 7 of their last 10, with a recent 3 game win (and 8 game point) streak snapped by Syracuse Friday night; forward Alexandre Grenier is on a 6 game assist streak (9 points overall in that span); veteran forward Brandon Prust has 2 points (1 shorthanded goal, 1 assist) in 2 games since being waived/sent down by Vancouver on February 9th; defenseman David Shields, who was a Albany preseason camp tryout before heading to Adirondack, has 7 points in 13 games since joining the Comets on a PTO in December.

Listen: AHL Live,  K-Rock 94.9 FM

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @UticaComets, @CometsInGame, @CometsArmy

Sunday, 2/21 at Bridgeport

Where: Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, CT.

When: 5:00 PM.

Season Series: Tied at 2.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 27-19-3-2, 59 points, .578 pct, 5th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Bracken Kearns, 42 points (19 G, 23 A); Joe Whitney, 33 points (14 G, 19 A); Taylor Beck, 30 points (14 G, 16 A); Christopher Gibson, 14-8-5, 2.56 GAA; Stephon Williams, 7-8-0, 2.82 GAA

Notes: The Sound Tigers travel to Allentown on Saturday to face the Phantoms before coming home on Sunday; Bridgeport is 8-0-1-1 in their last 10, the two losses coming in their last two contests (OTL to Albany on Sunday, SOL to Springfield on Tuesday); despite being out for over a month, Joe Whitney is still second in team scoring; this is the first of back to back Sundays the Devils will travel to Connecticut; going back to when the franchise was in Lowell starting in 2006-07, the Devils have only won 5 times at Webster Bank Arena (per this week’s A-Devils podcast).

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheSoundTigers, @fornabaioctp

Week 19 Recap: Love, Loss, Goose Eggs and Comebacks

A four game schedule this week looked quite daunting for the boys in red and white.  But after a small setback, it was a weekend to love, with many milestones to be had.  Not to mention six out of eight points earned.

2/9 vs. Providence: 3-2 L

While a majority of the hockey world was focused on some number retirement ceremony in New Jersey, the Devils were hosting the Bruins in a rare Tuesday night matchup.  After a scoreless first period, the Bruins would cash in 1:01 into the second while on a power play…rookie Frank Vatrano would score his 18th for a 1-0 advantage.  But Mike Sislo would answer with a power play goal of his own, his league leading 13th with the man advantage and #19 of the season overall, and it was a tie game.  The Bruins would take the lead right back less than 2 minutes later on a Justin Hickman goal.  Sislo would re-tie the game early in the third with his 2nd goal of the game and 20th of the season, marking the third straight season he has hit the 20 goal mark.  Just as it looked like this game was heading straight towards overtime…someone forgot to cover Vatrano in the corner, and with just 3:20 to go he would score his second of the game to put the Bruins ahead for good, extending their point streak to 14 games and putting an end to the Devils modest 2 game winning streak.  Ken Appleby drew the start and played well despite the loss, stopping 29 of 32 shots in his second AHL start.  Brandon Burlon assisted on both goals, while Brian O’Neill and Matt Lorito had one assist each.

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Corey Tropp-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Ben Thomson-Ryan Kujawinski-Max Novak

Chris McKelvie-Blake Pietila-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Reece Scarlett/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Ken Appleby/Yann Danis

Out: Rod Pelley, Blake Coleman, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Graham Black, Scott Wedgewood, Joe Faust, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 1 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 4.  Shots on Goal: 27.  Shots Allowed: 32.

Highlights:

2/12 at Rochester: 1-0 W

A busy weekend got underway Friday night in Rochester, as the Devils kicked off a home and home series with the Americans.  And no doubt the story of this one was the goaltending, as both Yann Danis and Linus Ullmark were not allowing anything past them.  That is, until the third period.  Just as Brandon Burlon took a seat in the penalty box, Mike Sislo broke in alone on a 2 on 1 and scored his 21st shorthanded 6:15 into the final period for a 1-0 lead.  And that one goal was all Danis would need, as for the second straight start he pitched a shutout, his 6th of the season and his 20th win.  Per the Albany PR Twitter, he extended his scoreless streak to 127:48.  Another fun fact from this contest?  Sislo registered the only point of the night.

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Ryan Kujawinski-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Ben Thomson-Graham Black-Max Novak

Chris McKelvie-Blake Pietila-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Reece Scarlett/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Rod Pelley, Blake Coleman, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Corey Tropp (illness), Scott Wedgewood, Joe Faust, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 0 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 5 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 10.  Shots on Goal: 28.  Shots Allowed: 22.

Highlights:

2/13 vs. Rochester: 3-0 W

Ken Appleby
Ken Appleby

22 hours and roughly 225 miles later, the two teams met again in the rematch.  Only difference was in net, as Ken Appleby drew his third start.  And the home team would get things started quickly…Graham Black’s third of the season would come just 2:20 into the contest for a 1-0 Devil lead.  Mike Sislo would add his 22nd goal 6:17 later to double the lead.  Then things would begin to get physical as two separate fights would break out within 10 seconds of each other.  The fun would roll into the second period, as Pierre-Luc Leblond would get the gate for two fighting majors and a small altercation broke out in the penalty boxes.  But finally peace would be restored and the game would continue, with both teams staying off the scoreboard.  Jim O’Brien had a great chance to triple the lead late that period when he was awarded the Devils’ first penalty shot of the season, but could not execute.  He did make up for it late in the third with a power play goal, his 10th tally of the season, to finish off the second straight shutout of the Amerks.  Appleby was stellar between the pipes, as he stopped all 26 Rochester shots to pick up his first AHL win and shutout.  Reece Scarlett had two assists, while 3 other Devils had helpers.  And a combined 106 penalty minutes between the two teams, with PL3 getting 34 of those.

PL3 was a little busy today.
PL3 was a little busy today.

image

 

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Ryan Kujawinski-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Ben Thomson-Graham Black-Max Novak

Chris McKelvie-Blake Pietila-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Reece Scarlett/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Ken Appleby/Yann Danis

Out: Rod Pelley, Blake Coleman, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Corey Tropp, Scott Wedgewood, Joe Faust, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 59.  Shots on Goal: 26.  Shots Allowed: 26.

Highlights:

2/14 vs. Bridgeport: 3-2 W (OT)

Yann Danis
Yann Danis

No better way to celebrate Valentines Day than to play host to a Bridgeport team that came in winners of their last eight games.  Yann Danis looked to extend the team scoreless streak, but James Wright would put an end to that after 141 minutes and 19 seconds, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead late in the first period.  Sound Tigers captain Ben Holmstrom would double the lead halfway through the second.  Things did not look promising for the Devils, who started the day with a 0-10-1 record when trailing after two periods.  On a 5 on 3 early in the third, Mike Sislo would tie for the  league lead in goals with his 23rd (and adding to his league leading 14th on the power play) to cut the lead in half.  Then with less than a minute remaining and Danis pulled for an extra attacker, Brian O’Neill would come through in the clutch with his 6th goal of the season, and it was a tie game with 48.4 seconds to go.  On to overtime, where Reece Scarlett would complete the comeback with his second goal of the season 1:56 into the extra frame to finish off the Sound Tigers winning streak and extend Albany’s win streak to 3 games.  Danis picked up win #21, stopping 24 of 26 shots.  Scarlett and three other Devils each had assists.  And a big shoutout to head coach Rick Kowalsky, who picked up his 200th AHL win.

Congrats Coach!
Congrats Coach!

image

 

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Brian O’Neill-Jim O’Brien-Ryan Kujawinski

Max Novak-Graham Black-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-Blake Pietila-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Reece Scarlett/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Rod Pelley, Blake Coleman, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Corey Tropp, Scott Wedgewood, Joe Faust, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 1 for 7.  Penalty Kill: 6 for 6.  Penalty Minutes: 17.  Shots on Goal: 36.  Shots Allowed: 26.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

There were quite a few good performances to choose from…but there is clearly one winner.  5 goals, including the game winner on Friday and sparking a comeback on Sunday?  Mike Sislo is the obvious choice.  Honorable mention to the goaltending tandem of Yann Danis and Ken Appleby for back to back shutouts.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (23)

Assists: Matt Lorito (28)

Points: Mike Sislo (42)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+22)

Penalty Minutes: Pierre-Luc Leblond (96)

Wins: Yann Danis (21)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.67)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.932)

The Vault:

Since the last week and a half has been all about celebrating Martin Brodeur…sure he has Stanley Cups, Vezina trophies, the most wins by a goaltender in NHL history, among other accomplishments.  But the man knew how to score goals too.

Up North with the Thunder:

Much like the Devils, Adirondack had a busy 4 game schedule this week…and they may want a redo.  It started at rock bottom, as Elmira crushed a depleted Thunder squad 8-0 at home on Tuesday.  It didn’t get much better on Friday as they dropped a 5-2 decision to Wheeling, especially after having to scramble to get two goaltenders on the roster due to trade/callup.  They then hit the road for a pair of games in Reading and escaped with a split…dropping a 4-1 decision on Saturday before finally breaking the losing streak with a 4-1 victory Sunday afternoon.  Alex Carrier and Greg Wolfe both missed the week due to injuries.

A 4 game week again awaits Adirondack…on Tuesday they host Wheeling before hitting the road for a 3 in 3 weekend, starting with two games in Elmira on Friday and Saturday, followed by a Sunday afternoon faceoff against Brampton.

This Week’s Schedule:

A much easier week for the Devils, with only two games on the docket.  Saturday night it’s back to Utica to take on the Comets, then south to Bridgeport on Sunday afternoon to take on the Sound Tigers.

The Weekly Primer, Issue 19

Quick Hits:

Albany begins a busy week with a record of 26-12-7-0, 59 points and a .656 points percentage.  They remain stuck in second place in the North Division, 19 points behind first place Toronto and 9 points ahead of 3rd place Utica.

Injury update: Rod Pelley (upper) and Marc Andre Gragnani (upper) are both out for this evening and questionable for the rest of the week.  Vojtech Mozik and Graham Black, who each missed time last week, are expected to return.

Coming up this Saturday…the third annual Devils Fight Cancer night.  Still available for purchase are purple autographed pucks for $15 each, with all proceeds going to the Melodies Center at Albany Medical Center.  Everyone on the current roster is still available.

Tuesday, 2/9 vs. Providence

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 3-1.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 21-15-8-2, 52 points, .565 pct, 4th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Seth Griffith, 47 points (15 G, 32 A); Alexander Khokhlachev, 39 points (14 G, 25 A); Austin Czarnik, 34 points (13 G, 21 A); Zane McIntyre, 7-6-5, 2.93 GAA; Jeremy Smith, 5-14-3, 2.94 GAA (with Iowa); Malcolm Subban, 14-8-5, 2.46 GAA

Notes: Providence comes in on a 13 game point streak; goaltender Malcolm Subban is out indefinitely after suffering a fractured larynx after taking a puck to the neck during warmup on Saturday; Jeremy Smith, who had been loaned by Boston to Iowa before the start of the season, was reassigned to Providence on Sunday; the Bruins remain #1 in the AHL on the power play (23.8%) and #3 on the penalty kill (86.3%); Providence returns home Friday to face Hershey, then travels to Springfield on Sunday.

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @AHLBruins

Friday, 2/12 and Saturday, 2/13 vs. Rochester

Where: Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, NY (Friday); Times Union Center, Albany, NY (Saturday).

When: 7:00 PM Friday; 5:00 PM Saturday.

Season Series: Albany leads 2-1.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 23-21-2-1, 49 points, .521 pct, 4th place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: 3 tied with 26 points; Nathan Lieuwen, 12-8-1, 2.63 GAA; Linus Ullmark, 4-4-0, 3.28 GAA

Notes: The Amerks are riding a modest 2 game winning streak, with a one goal win over the Crunch on Friday and a shutout of Binghamton on Saturday; Rochester is tied with Toronto for most shorthanded goals allowed in the league (10); forward Tim Schaller is riding a 8 game point streak; 34 different players have appeared in at least one game for Rochester this season thanks to injuries and callups to Buffalo; the Amerks travel to Hartford on Sunday afternoon to finish up a 3 in 3 weekend.

Listen: AHL Live, Fox Sports 1280

Tweet: @trace_1114 (Saturday only), @AlbanyDevils, @AmerksHockey, @LetsGoAmerks

Sunday, 2/14 vs. Bridgeport

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 3:00 PM.

Season Series: Bridgeport leads 2-1.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 25-19-2-1, 53 points, .564 pct, 5th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Bracken Kearns, 38 points (16 G, 22 A); Joe Whitney, 33 points (14 G, 19 A); Taylor Beck, 24 points (13 G, 11 A); Christopher Gibson, 13-8-3, 2.37 GAA; Parker Milner, 1-2-0, 3.05 GAA

Notes: The Sound Tigers are riding a 6 game winning streak into the week; veteran forward Bracken Kearns scored his first ever hat trick in Friday’s win over Lehigh Valley; Bridgeport travels to Hershey on Wednesday to make up the January 24th contest that was postponed by snow, then hosts Hartford on Saturday; Bridgeport ranks 30th in power play (10.0%) but 6th in penalty kill (85.7%).

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheSoundTigers

Week 18 Recap: Back in Business

After a nice four day respite, it’s back to work for the Devils as the month of February begins.  Two games, two hot teams…and one shootout and shutout later, four out of four points!

2/5 at Providence: 4-3 W (SO)

It was back to work on Friday evening, as the Devils traveled east to Providence to take on a suddenly hot…and stacked…Bruins squad.  But it would be the boys in red getting off to a good start, as Rod Pelley would score his 5th just 2:41 into the contest for a 1-0 advantage.  Just as quickly, however, Austin Czarnik would tie the game up at 1.  Brian O’Neill would add his 5th later in the period for a 2-1 Devil lead.  After a very uneventful second stanza, Providence would try to rally in the third.  Alexander Khokhlachev was left all alone (and just who was supposed to cover him?  Fail defense) and scored early in the period to tie the game at 2.  Corey Tropp would break the tie with 4:31 to go in regulation with his 11th goal.  But just over a minute later, with Marc Andre Gragnani hurt on the play, Seth Griffith would tie things up at 3 apiece.  No penalties were called the entire night…until 30.4 seconds remaining in regulation, when Reece Scarlett would get a roughing minor.  That would leave the Devils shorthanded as overtime began, but the AHL’s #1 penalty kill would meet the challenge and kill off the 4 on 3 to start the extra session.  After 65 minutes, it was still tied, which meant one thing…Albany finally reached its first shootout of the season, the last team in the league to get to that point.  Mike Sislo would score in round 1, Matt Lorito missed in round 2, and Yann Danis would stop Khokhlachev and Czarnik.  It was up to Jim O’Brien in round 3…and he was successful, giving the Devils the extra point and a very much needed win.  Danis would stop 21 of 24 shots in 65 minutes to pick up his 18th win.  O’Neill, Tropp, and four other Devils would each have helpers.

The Lineup:

Corey Tropp-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Ryan Kujawinski-Blake Pietila-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Johnson

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Marc-Andre Gragnani/Vojtech Mozik

Brandon Burlon/Raman Hrabarenka

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Blake Coleman, Scott Wedgewood, Graham Black (ill), Corbin McPherson (ill), Max Novak, Pierre-Luc Leblond

Power Play: None. Penalty Kill: 1 for 1.  Penalty Minutes: 2.  Shots on Goal: 25.  Shots Allowed: 24.

Highlights:

Saturday: With two defensemen nursing minor injuries and a third recovering from illness, Joe Faust was summoned from Adirondack for the second time this season.

2/6 vs. Hartford: 3-0 W

Welcome back Joe Faust!
Welcome back Joe Faust!

Back on home ice, the Devils played host to a Wolfpack squad that came into Saturday winners in 10 of their last 11 games.  It didn’t take long for the hosts to get going, though–Ben Thomson would score his 4th goal of the season just 2:29 into the contest for a 1-0 advantage.  Paul Thompson would double the lead 11 minutes later with his 8th.  After yet another uneventful second period (except for one penalty call), Albany would put the game away in the third.  Just as their lone power play expired, Mike Sislo would take the team goal scoring lead with his 18th of the year for a 3-0 lead.  And Yann Danis would take care of the rest, stopping all 21 Hartford shots in picking up win #19 and shutout #5, a new season franchise record.  Brandon Burlon had two assists and finished a +3, while Sislo and three others had one helper each.  All this in front of the third largest crowd in franchise history, as 8124 people showed up on GE Kids in Free Day.

Brian O'Neill
Brian O’Neill

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Corey Tropp-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Max Novak-Ryan Kujawinski-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-Blake Pietila-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Corbin McPherson

Brandon Burlon/Joe Faust

Reece Scarlett/Raman Hrabarenka

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Blake Coleman, Scott Wedgewood, Rod Pelley, Vojtech Mozik, Ben Johnson, Graham Black

Power Play: 0 for 1.  Penalty Kill: 1 for 1.  Penalty Minutes: 2.  Shots on Goal: 27.  Shots Allowed: 21.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

This is a hard decision this week.  But the nod goes to Yann Danis for breaking out of a personal slump with back to back wins, a new franchise shutout record, and representing in the All Star Classic earlier this week.  And I should also recognize both referees this week (Dave Lewis on Friday and Alex Garon on Saturday) for putting the whistles away and letting the teams play…only three penalties combined in both games.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (18)

Assists: Matt Lorito (26)

Points: Matt Lorito/Mike Sislo (36)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+21)

Penalty Minutes: Ben Thomson (67)

Wins: Yann Danis (19)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.67)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.932)

The Vault:

Let’s get to know the newest Devil, shall we?  (Note: it’s not the volume on your phone/computer, it’s the video.)

Up North with the Thunder:

Adirondack split a pair of games with Norfolk over the weekend, dropping a 3-2 decision on Friday and winning the rematch 5-1 on Saturday.  Alexandre Carrier would get an assist in Friday’s game, but would leave later due to injury and sat out Saturday’s contest.  A 4 game stretch awaits the Thunder this week–they host Elmira on Tuesday and Wheeling on Friday, then it’s off to Reading Saturday and Sunday for a pair against the Royals.

This Week’s Schedule:

Oh, it’s a busy one this week, with 4 games coming up.  While everyone’s eyes will be on New Jersey watching Martin Brodeur’s #30 be officially retired, Albany will be hosting a rematch with the Bruins.  Then a home and home series with Rochester kicks off a 3 in 3 weekend, as they travel west Friday then host the Amerks on Saturday.  Then Bridgeport comes in for a Valentines Day matchup Sunday afternoon.