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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