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.

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