Week 3 in Review: The Struggle is Real?

Well…I was not expecting this team to go 76-0.  But this week the Devils were thrown back to reality by two very good teams…and it took an improbable comeback to get back to their winning ways.

10/26 @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 3-1 L

With a shot at 6-0 on the line, the Devils traveled southwest to a place where they have not seen a lot of success in recent years…Wilkes-Barre, as they made their only visit of the season there to face the Penguins.  Unlike the first five games of the season, the Devils would find themselves in a first period hole, being outshot 17-7.  Then while on an extended penalty kill, Chad Ruhwedel would pick up his first of the season with under two minutes remaining in the opening period for a 1-0 Penguins lead.  That lead after 20 minutes of play marked the first time all season Albany trailed after a period.  Second period wasn’t that much better for the visitors, despite being awarded four power plays.  Not only could they not capitalize on those opportunities, they would give up a shorthanded tally to Josh Archibald early in the period for a 2-0 hole.  Jake Guentzel would add his third goal of the season with 3:15 to go for a 3-0 lead.  The Devils could only muster 7 shots for the second straight period, while Scott Wedgewood faced 28 total over the first 40 minutes.  He would leave in favor of Mackenzie Blackwood to start the third period, and it seemed to be a too little, too late wake up call.  Blackwood would stop all 8 shots faced, while Nick Lappin broke up Tristan Jarry’s shutout bid with his first goal of the season 8:05 into the third.  Albany would kill off a huge 1:41 5 on 3 midway through, but they just could not catch up to a stingy Penguins defense, and the first loss of the season happened.  Blake Pietila and Brian Gibbons had the lone assists.

Lines:

Blake Coleman-Brian Gibbons-Miles Wood

Blake Pietila-John Quenneville-Nick Lappin

Jan Mandat-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Ben Sexton

Defense Pairings:

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Steve Santini/Brandon Gormley

Andrew MacWilliam/Reece Scarlett

Scott Wedgewood/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Karl Stollery, Josh Jacobs, Joe Blandisi, Carter Camper, Ryan Kujawinski

Power Play: 0 for 5.  Penalty Kill: 6 for 7.  Penalty Minutes: 23.  Shots on Goal: 20.  Shots Allowed: 36.

3 Stars: 3. Chad Ruhwedel; 2. Josh Archibald; 1. Jake Guentzel.

Highlight Reel:

10/28 vs. Toronto: 3-0 L

The first big test of the season awaited the Devils as they returned to home ice on Friday night…a rematch against the team that eliminated them in the second round of last season’s playoffs, the Marlies.  But much like Wednesday night, the Devils dug themselves into a big hole at the outset.  Colin Greening would put the visitors up early with a goal 5:34 into the first.  Then with Blake Coleman sitting in the box on a questionable high sticking call, Tobias Lindberg would score twenty seconds into the man advantage to double the Marlie lead.  Albany would be outshot by a whopping 17-5 margin through the first 20 minutes.  Second period things looked to be turning around for the Devils, as they would find their shot and finally received a couple of power play opportunities.  Unfortunately, they were facing a literal brick wall in Antoine Bibeau, as he stopped all 13 second period shots.  Then it became a case of if you can’t beat the competition, beat up the competition–Seth Helgeson and Blake Coleman each got into scraps 18 seconds apart late in the period.  Third period the Devils really tried to get on the board, outshooting Toronto 19-5 and had three power play chances…but again, nothing was getting past Bibeau.  Midway through the third, a misplay behind Scott Wedgewood’s net would leave the net wide open and Trevor Moore would get an easy goal, giving Toronto a 3-0 advantage.  Despite a late 6 on 4 advantage with the empty net, Albany just could not solve Bibeau, and he would end up with a 37 save shutout.  Other than the misplay in the third, Wedgewood had another good night in net, stopping 28 of 31 shots.

The Lineup:

John Quenneville-Blake Pietila-Ben Sexton

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Joe Blandisi

Miles Wood-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Jan Mandat

Defense Pairings:

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Karl Stollery/Brandon Gormley

Andrew MacWilliam/Reece Scarlett

Scott Wedgewood/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Steve Santini, Josh Jacobs, Carter Camper, Ryan Kujawinski

Power Play: 0 for 5.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 21.  Shots on Goal: 37.  Shots Allowed: 31.

3 Stars: 3. Trevor Dermott; 2. Colin Greening; 1. Antoine Bibeau.

Highlight Reel:

10/29 vs. Toronto: 4-3 W (SO)

About 20 hours later, both teams were back on ice for the rematch.  Albany made two lineup changes: Josh Jacobs in for Seth Helgeson, and Mackenzie Blackwood drew the starting assignment.  The Devils played their strongest first period all week, despite the 9-8 shot disadvantage.  After two more fights during the first half of the period, things calmed down and both teams would trade goals from the blue line.  Andrew Nielsen would put Toronto up 1-0 with just under three minutes remaining in the first, but Reece Scarlett would tie it up 1:35 later with his second goal of the season.  Things appeared to be going the Marlies’ way in the second, as Bryon Froese and Trevor Moore would pick up goals to give the visitors a 3-1 advantage.  Also throw in the play of Antoine Bibeau and after 40 minutes, it looked like the Devils were on their way to a third straight defeat.  Well…not so fast.  In the third, John Quenneville picked up a power play goal early, his fourth, to cut the deficit to 3-2.  After a fourth fight midway gave the Devils another power play, Ben Sexton, who moved up to Nick Lappin’s spot on the top line with Quenneville and Blake Pietila, would take advantage and score his second goal to tie the game up at 3.  The game would head into overtime, where both teams had to kill off separate 4 on 3 chances to keep the game tied.  On to the bonus round, where the Marlies tried to get fancy with their shootout attempts…only to fail as they reached Blackwood.  Quenneville picked up a goal in Round 2, while Blackwood stopped Kasperi Kapanen in round 3 to complete the comeback win and finish October at 6-2.  Blackwood picked up win #2 in his home debut, stopping 30 of 33 shots.  Sexton, Quenneville, and three others had assists.

The Lineup:

John Quenneville-Blake Pietila-Ben Sexton

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Joe Blandisi

Miles Wood-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Jan Mandat

Defense Pairings:

Karl Stollery/Vojtech Mozik

Andrew MacWilliam/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Gormley/Josh Jacobs

Mackenzie Blackwood/Scott Wedgewood

Scratches: Seth Helgeson, Steve Santini, Carter Camper, Ryan Kujawinski

Power Play: 2 for 7.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 40.  Shots on Goal: 35.  Shots Allowed: 33.

3 Stars: 3. Andrew Nielsen; 2. John Quenneville; 1. Ben Sexton.

Highlight Reel:

My Player of the Week:

In a week where everyone seemed to have some struggles, one player did stand out to me: Mackenzie Blackwood.  He came in cold Wednesday night and was able to keep Wilkes-Barre off the board in his one period, then kept it together Saturday against a strong Marlies team.

Team Leaders:

Goals: John Quenneville (4)

Assists: 7 tied with 3

Points: John Quenneville/Blake Pietila (6)

+/-: Karl Stollery/Vojtech Mozik (+4)

Penalty Minutes: Andrew MacWilliam (26)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (3)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (2.38)

Save Percentage: Mackenzie Blackwood (.930)

Up North with the Thunder:

It was a near sweep for Adirondack this week, as they took 5 out of 6 points against Elmira.  On Tuesday, the Thunder dropped a 2-1 shootout loss at home to the Jackals, despite a 40-17 shot advantage.  Brian Ward picked up the lone goal, while Ken Appleby made his season debut and stopped 15 of 16 shots in 65 minutes, but gave up the lone goal in the shootout round.  Brandon Baddock made his pro debut and managed just one shot.  In a 5-2 win in Elmira on Friday evening, Greg Wolfe picked up his second goal of the season, while Patch Alber and Ty Loney had assists.  Then on Saturday…apparently the Jackals didn’t quite make it into the building, as the Thunder outshot them 40-8 in a 3-0 win at home.  Ward picked up a goal, while Appleby barely broke a sweat in an 8 save shutout.  Adirondack starts a 3 game set against Manchester this week, hosting the Monarchs on Tuesday night then heading to New Hampshire for a pair on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

This Week’s Schedule:

A light two game schedule to kick off November, but both will be on the road.  First up, an 11 AM start in Bridgeport on Wednesday against the Sound Tigers, in their first meeting since the infamous double brawl to end last regular season.  Then it’s off to Hershey on Saturday for their only visit of the season to face the Bears.

Game 8: Albany vs. Toronto

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

Time: 5:00 PM.

Season Series: Toronto leads 1-0.

Media Kit

Standings:

Albany: 5-2-0-0, 10 points, .714, 2nd place in North Division

Toronto: 6-1-0-0, 12 points, .857, 1st place in North Division

Marlies Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Brendan Leipsic, 12 points (3 G, 9 A); Kasperi Kapanen, 9 points (4 G, 5 A); 4 tied with 5 points

Antoine Bibeau, 5-0-0, 1.40 GAA; Garret Sparks, 1-1-0, 3.06 GAA

Last Game, Marlies: Toronto shut out Albany 3-0 on Friday night.

Latest News/Notes:

Albany Devils come up short in rematch with Toronto (Times Union)

Devils suffer first home loss of the season (thealbanydevils.com)

Bibeau earns 2nd shutout of season, Marlies drop Devils 3-0 (CP24)

Broadcast Info: AHL Live for both

Social: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TorontoMarlies

Game 7: Albany vs. Toronto

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: First meeting of 8.  Future matchups: October 29th & November 22nd @ Albany; December 17th & 18th @ Toronto; December 30th @ Albany; February  11th & 12th @ Toronto

Media Kit

Standings:

Albany: 5-1-0-0, 10 points, .833, tied for 1st place in North Division

Toronto: 5-1-0-0, 10 points, .833, tied for 1st place in North Division

Marlies Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Brendan Leipsic, 12 points (3 G, 9 A); Kasperi Kapanen, 9 points (4 G, 5 A); Andrew Nielsen, 6 points (2 G, 4 A)

Antoine Bibeau, 4-0-0, 1.74 GAA; Garret Sparks, 1-1-0, 3.06 GAA

Last Game, Marlies: Toronto defeated Providence 4-3 in overtime at home on Wednesday night.

Latest News/Notes:

This is the first matchup between the two teams since Toronto eliminated the Devils in the second round of last season’s Calder Cup playoffs in seven games; the Marlies boast the league’s top two scorers in Brendan Leipsic and Kasperi Kapanen; this is the beginning of a six game road trip for Toronto, who will travel to St. John’s for a pair, then to Wilkes-Barre and Lehigh Valley before returning home on November 19th; Carter Camper and Ryan Kujawinski remain out due to injuries, but Kujawinski is a maybe for the weekend; Steve Santini will remain with Albany for the time being; and finally…congrats to Nick Lappin, who was recalled by New Jersey this morning and will make his NHL debut tonight at The Rock against Chicago.

Marlies Rally to Win Last Game Before Long Road Trip (The Leafs Nation)

Andreas Johnsson dominant in Marlies 4-3 overtime win (Pension Plan Puppets)

Rematch of a memorable AHL playoff series this weekend (Times Union)

Lappin gets going ahead of Toronto weekend (Albany Devils)

Broadcast Info: AHL Live for both

Social: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TorontoMarlies

 

Game 6: Albany at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Location: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Time: 7:05 PM.

Season Series: First meeting of 2.  Future matchup: February 17th @ Albany

Media Kit

Standings:

Albany: 5-0-0-0, 10 points, 1.000, 1st place in North Division

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 3-1-0-0, 6 points, .750, tied for 1st in Atlantic Division

Penguins Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Jake Guentzel, 5 points (2 G, 3 A); 2 tied with 3 points

Tristan Jarry, 2-1-0, 1.33 GAA; Casey DeSmith, 1-0-0, 1.00 GAA

Last Game, Penguins: Wilkes-Barre defeated Hershey 2-1 in overtime on the road Sunday afternoon.

Latest News/Notes:

The Penguins are #1 in the AHL in goals against, only giving up 5 goals in their first 4 games (1.25 combined GAA); Wilkes-Barre travels to Springfield on Saturday night, then host Syracuse on Sunday afternoon; Brandon Baddock, the last Devil on the roster without seeing game action, was reassigned with goaltender Ken Appleby to Adirondack on Tuesday; defenseman Steve Santini rejoined New Jersey on Monday, was subsequently healthy scratched again Tuesday, and was reassigned to Albany this morning.

Penguins vs. Albany Devils Scouting Report  (The Citizens Voice)

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins out to be 1st team to beat undefeated Albany Devils (The Times Leader)

New Jersey Devils Prospect Update 10/25/16 (All About the Jersey)

The 1996-97 Albany River Rats: A Look Back (The Hockey Writers)

Broadcast Info: AHL Live or WILK 103.1 FM

Social: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @nafsnep, @WBSPenguins

Week 2 in Review: History Will Be Rewritten

Is it beginners luck?  Maybe.

Is it a team coming together to do exactly what it’s supposed to do?  Yeah, could be that too.

But no matter what reasoning you come up with…the fact is that the Devils did not only remain undefeated after a weekend 3 in 3 sweep, they are off to the best start an Albany AHL team has ever seen.  And the only unbeaten team left standing in the entire American Hockey League.

10/21 vs. Binghamton: 3-2 W (SO)

First on the 3 in 3 schedule: a visit from the Senators, only playing their second game of the season after winning their home opener last Saturday evening.  Unlike the first two Albany games, it was the opponent drawing first blood, as a Ryan Rupert goal just 6:11 in would give Binghamton an early edge.  But the Devils would answer back fairly quickly, as Ben Sexton’s first of the season would tie things up just 2:33 later.  A shot from Seth Helgeson from the blue line would find its way into the net later in the period for a 2-1 Devil lead.  After a noneventful second period, Binghamton would tie the game midway through the third on an impossible top shelf goal off the stick of Curtis Lazar.  With no one able to jump ahead, it was on to the first overtime of the season, where the Senators had several chances to finish off their comeback outshooting Albany 3-0, but were unable to finish it off (a video review halfway through would ensure that).  On to the shootout, where Lazar would come through again in round 1, only to see John Quenneville tie it in round 3, sending things to sudden death.  Binghamton would be unable to connect in rounds 4 and 5, but Blake Pietila would be the hero in Albany’s half of the fifth round, scoring the game winner to keep the Devils undefeated.  Ken Appleby drew his first start of the season and played very well, stopping 26 of 28 shots in 65 minutes, then 4 of 5 in the shootout round.  Three different Devils would add assists, while Brian Gibbons and Josh Jacobs made their season debuts.

Lines:

Blake Pietila-Brian Gibbons-Joe Blandisi

Carter Camper-John Quenneville-Nick Lappin

Kevin Rooney-Blake Coleman-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Ben Sexton

Defense Pairings:

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Andrew MacWilliam/Reece Scarlett

Karl Stollery/Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/Scott Wedgewood

Scratches: Mackenzie Blackwood, Ryan Kujawinski, Brandon Baddock, Jan Mandat, Brandon Gormley

Power Play: 0 for 2.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 27.  Shots Allowed: 28.

Three Stars: 3. Curtis Lazar; 2. Ben Sexton; 1. Seth Helgeson.

Highlight Reel:

10/22 vs. Utica: 3-2 W

To finish off the three game homestand, Albany got a visit from the Comets, who were coming off their first win of the season in Syracuse the night before.  Reece Scarlett would put the Devils on the board late in the first period with a power play goal, his first of the season.  John Quenneville would follow that up early in the second with a power play goal as well, his third.  Then just as a major penalty to Joseph LaBate for checking to the head of Ben Thomson (he was OK) was about to expire, Utica cut the lead in half with a shorthanded goal from Michael Chaput.  Early in the third, Derek Hulak’s first goal of the season would bring the Comets and Devils even at 2.  But an unlikely hero would emerge for the home team halfway through the third…rookie Jan Mandat, making his professional debut, would score a beautiful goal to put Albany ahead.  Despite a last minute flurry in the Albany defensive zone, Utica could not re-tie, and Albany extended its best ever start for any AHL team to 4-0.  Another solid outing for Scott Wedgewood, as he picked up win #3 and stopped 18 of 20 shots.  Scarlett and Quenneville would add assists, while two others had helpers.

Lines:

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Ben Sexton

Blake Pietila-John Quenneville-Nick Lappin

Blake Coleman-Brian Gibbons-Joe Blandisi

Kevin Rooney-Ryan Kujawinski-Jan Mandat

Defense Pairings:

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Andrew MacWilliam/Reece Scarlett

Karl Stollery/Brandon Gormley

Scott Wedgewood/Ken Appleby

Scratches: Mackenzie Blackwood, Brandon Baddock, Carter Camper, Miles Wood, Josh Jacobs, Max Novak

Power Play: 2 for 7.  Penalty Kill: 5 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 14.  Shots on Goal: 27.  Shots Allowed: 20.

Three Stars: 3. Reece Scarlett; 2. John Quenneville; 1. Jan Mandat.

Highlight Reel:

Bonus Video!

10/23 @ Providence: 4-3 W (OT)

Albany would finish off the first 3 in 3 of the season with another trip east to Providence to take on the Bruins.  The game marked the AHL debuts of Miles Wood and Steve Santini, both sent down by New Jersey over the last two days, and Mackenzie Blackwood.  First period was all Devils, as they outshot Providence 17-6.  Brian Gibbons would pick up his first Albany goal 7:28 into the first period for a 1-0 advantage.  Then a misplay by Blackwood behind his net would lead to the Bruins tying the game up.  But less than a minute later, the hosts would return the favor, as a misplay by Bruins goaltender Malcolm Subban behind his net would lead to Joe Blandisi’s first goal of the season to put the Devils back in front 2-1.  Much like the last visit to Rhode Island, the Bruins would suddenly find their shot in the second, peppering Blackwood with 18 of them.  One of those shots would re-tie the game at 2 early in the second, thanks to a power play goal by Austin Czarnik.  But, just like the last two days, Albany would take the lead back once again, as Blake Pietila’s third goal of the season would put the Devils up 3-2 after 40 minutes.  Third period was again all Bruins, as they got revenge from the first period with a 19-5 shot differential.  One of those shots would again tie the game up, as Tommy Cross would score with 7:42 remaining in regulation.  The Devils would find themselves going to overtime for the second time in three days, and once again, a different Devil would save the day.  Blake Coleman would score his first of the season just 1:53 into the extra session, wrapping up a fifth straight win and keeping Albany perfect on the season.  Blackwood was up to the challenge in his first professional start, stopping 42 of 45 Providence shots in just under 62 minutes in net to pick up the first of hopefully many wins.  Karl Stollery added two helpers, while Wood would pick up an assist in his Albany debut.

Lines:

John Quenneville-Blake Pietila-Nick Lappin

Miles Wood-Blake Coleman-Joe Blandisi

Brian Gibbons-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Ben Sexton

Defense Pairings:

Karl Stollery/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Brandon Gormley/Steve Santini

Mackenzie Blackwood/Scott Wedgewood

Scratches: Josh Jacobs, Brandon Baddock, Andrew MacWilliam, Jan Mandat, Carter Camper, Ryan Kujawinski, Ken Appleby

Power Play: 0 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 5 for 6.  Penalty Minutes: 14.  Shots on Goal: 34.  Shots Allowed: 45.

Three Stars: 3. Peter Cehlarik; 2. Austin Czarnik; 1. Blake Coleman.

Highlight Reel:

AHL Live has your highlights here.

My Player of the Week:

Again, no clear cut choices out of the weekend slate.  So I will salute the two rookies who made a splash in their debuts this weekend, Jan Mandat (game winner and awesome celebration to follow) and Mackenzie Blackwood (42 saves in your first start is quite the workload).

Team Leaders:

Goals: 2 tied with 3

Assists: 4 tied with 3

Points: 2 tied with 4

+/-: Karl Stollery (+5)

Penalty Minutes: Andrew MacWilliam (26)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (3)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.67)

Save Percentage: Mackenzie Blackwood (.933)

Up North with the Thunder:

Adirondack had only one game this week: their home opener on Saturday evening, a 4-3 loss to Manchester.  Mathieu Brodeur picked up his first goal of the season on a power play, while Ty Loney and Brian Ward each had one assist.  Albany camp invitee Joe Pedenza scored twice for the Monarchs.  The Thunder start a three game series against Elmira this week, starting on Tuesday night at home, then a home and home Friday out west and Saturday in the North Country.

This Week’s Schedule:

Three more games this week, but they’re a little more spread out.  Wednesday, the Devils travel southwest to Wilkes-Barre Township for their only visit of the season to face the Penguins.  Then it’s a playoff rematch on Friday and Saturday at home to finish off October…for the first time since May, the Marlies will be in to visit.  Can the Devils make it to 8-0?  Toronto could be a serious challenge.

Game 5: Albany at Providence

Location: Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island.

Time: 3:05 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 1-0.

Media Kit

Standings:

Albany: 4-0-0, 8 points, 1.000, 1st place in North Division

Providence: 1-3-0, 2 points, .250, 7th place in Atlantic Division

Bruins Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Matt Bartkowski, 3 points (1 G, 2 A); Peter Mueller, 2 points (1 G, 1 A); 9 players with 1 point

Malcolm Subban, 0-3-0, 4.89 GAA

Last Game, Bruins: Providence dropped a 4-1 decision to St. John’s at home on Friday night.

Latest News/Notes:

This is the second visit to Providence for the Devils in the last 9 days; the Bruins earned their first win last Sunday afternoon at home against St. John’s; goaltender Zane McIntyre was recalled to Boston on Saturday; Providence begins a 3 game road swing through the North Division later this week, with stops in Toronto, Utica, and Syracuse; Miles Wood was sent down by New Jersey to Albany Saturday afternoon to make room for Sergey Kalinin’s return from injured reserve, and may be in the lineup; defenseman Steve Santini was reassigned this morning, he too is expected to see action.

IceCaps 4, P-Bruins 1 (Providence Journal)

Bruins Recall Zane McIntrye on an Emergency Basis (Boston Bruins)

Rookie scores tie-breaking goal as Albany Devils get record setting victory (Times Union)

Albany Devils rewrite Albany’s AHL history books (wten.com)

Broadcast Info: AHL Live

Social: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @AHLBruins

 

Game 4: Albany vs. Utica

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

Time: 5:00 PM.

Season Series: First meeting of 8.  Future matchups: December 2nd @ Albany; December 3rd, December 14th, & January 6th @ Utica; February 20th @ Albany; March 4th @ Utica; March  24th @ Albany

Media Kit

Standings:

Albany: 3-0-0, 6 points, 1.000, 1st place in North Division

Utica: 1-2-0, 2 points, .333, 6th place in North Division

Comets Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Michael Chaput, 5 points (0 G, 5 A); 2 tied with 4 points

Richard Bachman, 1-1-0, 4.50 GAA; Thatcher Demko, 0-1-0, 5.00 GAA

Last Game, Comets: Utica picked up its first win of the season Friday night by defeating the Crunch 5-4 in Syracuse.

Latest News/Notes:

This is the first matchup between the teams since Albany defeated Utica in 4 games in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs in April; the Comets are finishing off a season opening 4 game road swing, getting swept by Toronto last weekend before defeating Syracuse on Friday; not surprisingly, their first 2 game homestand next week is already sold out, bringing their sellout streak to 57 straight games; in the all time series, Utica has yet to defeat Albany in regulation, with two overtime wins last season (and one during postseason).

Comets Outlast Crunch (uticacomets.com)

Subban pushing to ‘be better’ for Comets (Utica Observer-Dispatch)

AHLOTB: The Scarlett Letter (theahl.com)

Albany Devils extend win streak in shootout (Times Union)

Broadcast Info: AHL Live or KROCK 94.9 FM

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

Game 3: Albany vs. Binghamton

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: First meeting of 8.  Future matchups: November 18th @ Binghamton; December 4th, December 7th, & December 21st @ Albany; January 14th, February 4th, & March 10th @ Binghamton

Media Kit

Standings:

Albany: 2-0-0, 4 points, 1.000, tied for 1st place in North Division

Binghamton: 1-0-0, 2 points, 1.000, tied for 1st place in North Division

Senators Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

2 tied with 2 points

Chris Driedger, 1-0-0, 0.00 GAA

Last Game, Senators: Binghamton kicked off their season Saturday night with a 3-0 shutout win over Hershey on home ice.

Latest News/Notes:

If you count Binghamton’s preseason schedule, they have not allowed a goal in their last 125:55; after a quick trip east on Interstate 88, the Senators return home on Saturday to face Rochester; Brian Gibbons (family) is expected to return to Albany’s lineup after being away from the team opening weekend.

B-Sens Weekly Release (binghamtonsenators.com)

New opportunities on, off ice for Albany Devils player (Times Union)

New fighting rules has AHL enforcers on guard (Daily Gazette)

Broadcast Info: AHL Live or US Country 96.9 FM

Social: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @SenatorsAHL

Week 1 in Review: A Promising Beginning

So…losing your top 8 scorers, bringing in a new cast of characters, and trying to live up to last season’s success?

If the first two games are any indication…achievement unlocked.  For the first time in franchise history, it’s a 2-0 beginning.

10/14 @ Providence: 3-1 W

It was off to Rhode Island to kick off the 2016-17 season, as the Devils squared off against former River Rat Kevin Dean (making his head coaching debut) and the Bruins.  It was the visitors who came flying out of the gate to begin the first period, as Ben Thomson and John Quenneville (in his pro debut) would pick up goals just fifteen seconds apart for a quick 2-0 Devil advantage.  Then with 6:26 to go in the period, Blake Pietila would pick up a power play goal for a 3-0 lead, chasing Bruin starter Malcolm Subban out of the net in favor of Zane McIntyre.  The goaltending shakeup seemed to work in the home team’s favor, because in the second period they would finally show some signs of life.  They would outshoot Albany 12-4, with one of those shots a goal by Peter Mueller with 2:21 to go to make it a 3-1 contest.  Providence would continue to pour on the shots in the third, but Scott Wedgewood was up to the challenge, stopping all 14 chances he faced.  Albany’s fast start would prove to be enough in the end to pick up win #1 of the season.  Despite a few defensive woes (read: penalty trouble), Wedgewood would stop 31 of 32 shots overall and earn #1 star honors.  Carter Camper would pick up 2 assists in his Albany debut, while four others had one assist each.  The penalty kill was back in midseason form, going 6 for 6.

Lines:

Carter Camper-John Quenneville-Nick Lappin

Blake Pietila-Joe Blandisi-Blake Coleman

Kevin Rooney-Ryan Kujawinski-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Ben Sexton

Defense Pairings:

Andrew MacWilliam/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Karl Stollery/Brandon Gormley

Scott Wedgewood/Ken Appleby

Scratches: Josh Jacobs, Brandon Baddock, Brian Gibbons, Jan Mandat, Mackenzie Blackwood

Power Play: 1 for 2.  Penalty Kill: 6 for 6.  Penalty Minutes: 16.  Shots For: 18.  Shots Allowed: 32.

Three Stars: 3. Peter Mueller; 2. John Quenneville; 1. Scott Wedgewood.

Highlight Reel:

10/15 vs. St. John’s: 5-2 W

Back on home ice for the first time since May, Albany kicked off its local portion of the schedule by hosting the IceCaps.  And for the second straight day, the Devils would come out of the gate scoring in the first.  John Quenneville picked up his second goal 5:10 into the contest for an early 1-0 lead.  With Blake Pietila about to finish serving a questionable interference call, Kevin Rooney picked up his first goal shorthanded to double the lead.  Then things started getting a little, shall we say, chippy, midway through the period as back to back fights from Seth Helgeson and Andrew MacWilliam would leave the defense a little shorthanded.  St. John’s would get on the scoresheet just after the second period began, thanks to former River Rat Chris Terry, cutting the lead in half.  Then after two more questionable calls put Albany down in a 5 on 3 situation, Terry would pick up his second goal to tie the game at two.  Ben Thomson would then pick up his second goal in as many days to put the Devils back ahead 3-2.  Then more of the same rough stuff would see IceCaps forward leave, then MacWilliam would survive a round with the Wild Thing himself Bobby Farnham (who, surprisingly up to that point, had stayed out of any of the get togethers), only to be given a game misconduct due to a second fighting major.  Things would finally calm down in the third period, as no one was called for any kind of penalty.  But Albany would put the game away on Pietila’s second goal of the season and a Max Novak empty netter.  Through all of this, Scott Wedgewood did his usual Wedgewood, stopping 20 of 22 shots and even picking up an assist.  Ryan Kujawinski added two assists, while six other Devils had one helper each.

Lines:

Blake Coleman-Joe Blandisi-Blake Pietila

Carter Camper-John Quenneville-Nick Lappin

Kevin Rooney-Ryan Kujawinski-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Ben Sexton

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Andrew MacWilliam/Reece Scarlett

Karl Stollery/Brandon Gormley

Scott Wedgewood/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Josh Jacobs, Brandon Baddock, Brian Gibbons, Jan Mandat, Ken Appleby

Power Play: o for 3.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 37.  Shots For: 20.  Shots Allowed: 22.

Three Stars: 3. Kevin Rooney; 2. Chris Terry; 1. Ben Thomson.

Highlight Reel:

My Player of the Week:

There were quite a few candidates to choose from after two games, but…I’ll give the nod to Scott Wedgewood, who stopped a total of 51 out of 54 shots faced and at times singlehandedly kept the Devils in the lead.

Team Leaders:

Goals: 3 tied with 2

Assists: 5 tied with 2

Points: 8 tied with 2

+/-: Reece Scarlett (+4)

Penalty Minutes: Andrew MacWilliam (22)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (2)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.50)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.944)

Up North with the Thunder:

Much like the Devils, Adirondack kicked off their season this weekend with a pair of wins, sweeping a two game set in Manchester.  On Friday, in a 4-3 shootout win, Brian Ward and Greg Wolfe each scored, while Mathieu Brodeur and Ty Loney picked up one helper each.  Saturday the Thunder followed that up with a 5-3 win–Loney scored twice, while Brodeur and Patch Alber had assists.  The Thunder return home on Saturday to once again face Manchester in their only contest this week.

This Week’s Schedule:

Week 2 and already the first 3 in 3 weekend of the season is upon us.  Friday night Binghamton pays their first visit of the season.  Then a first round playoff rematch on Saturday afternoon as the Comets come calling to finish off the homestand.  Then it’s back to Rhode Island for the second time in 9 days on Sunday afternoon for a rematch with the Bruins.

Game 2: Albany vs. St. John’s

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

Time: 5:00 PM.

Season Series: First meeting of 8.  Future matchups: November 12th & January 4th @ Albany; January 21st & 22nd, February 24th & 25th @ St. John’s; April 7th @ Albany

Media Kit

Standings:

Albany: 1-0-0, 2 points, tied for 1st in North Division

St. John’s: 0-1-0, 0 points, 3rd in North Division

IceCaps Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Charles Hudon, 2 points (1 G, 1 A); 4 tied with 1 point

Zachary Fucale, 0-1-0, 5.09 GAA

Last Game, IceCaps: St. John’s opened their season with a 6-3 loss to the Wolfpack in Hartford on Friday night.

Latest News/Notes:

The IceCaps are on a six game road trip to start their season, with their home opener October 28th against Rochester; familiar faces to Albany/NJ fans on the roster include former River Rat Chris Terry (from the Carolina affiliation) and Bobby Farnham; today marks Albany’s home opener.

Albany Devils win Season Opener (Times Union)

IceCaps Drop Season Opener to Wolfpack (stjohnsicecaps.com)

Broadcast Info: AHL Live or stjohnsicecaps.com

Social: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @IceCapsAHL