Week 10 in Review: Looking Up

A much better stretch this week for the Devils, as they got back on track on the road against two division rivals, and managed to snag 4 out of 6 points and jump back into second place in the North.

12/14 at Utica: 3-2 W (OT)

The week began in Utica, where the Devils were looking to break a rare two game losing skid against the Comets.  Both teams would trade goals within 32 seconds of each other in the first–Blake Pietila would give the Devils a brief 1-0 lead with his 9th goal of the season, only to have Alexandre Grenier quickly tie things up.  In the second period, a similar turn of events, as the teams would trade goals within 57 seconds.  Ben Sexton would pick up a rare Albany power play goal, his fifth, for a 2-1 Devil lead, only to see Pascal Pelletier tie it back up on a power play shortly thereafter.  A very quiet third period would send the game into overtime, where the Devils would put up 7 shots on Comets goaltender Thatcher Demko, who had defeated Albany in his last two starts.  He was not about to get a third win, though, as on the 7th shot Pietila would score his second goal of the game with 40 seconds remaining to break a three game skid for the Devils.  Mackenzie Blackwood snapped a personal three game losing streak, stopping 19 of 21 shots and picking up his 5th win.  Four Devils would have one assist each, while Yohann Auvitu made his Albany debut.

Lines:

Ben Sexton-Kevin Rooney-Jan Mandat

Blake Coleman-Blake Pietila-Brian Gibbons

John Quenneville-Joe Blandisi-Petr Straka

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Max Novak

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Steve Santini

Reece Scarlett/Yohann Auvitu

Karl Stollery/Vojtech Mozik

Mackenzie Blackwood/Ken Appleby

Scratches: Andrew MacWilliam, Josh Jacobs, Carter Camper, Ryan Kujawinski, Scott Wedgewood, Brandon Gormley

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 1 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 9.  Shots on Goal: 33.  Shots Allowed: 21.

3 Stars: 1. Blake Pietila; 2. Mackenzie Blackwood; 3. Pascal Pelletier.

Highlight Reel:

12/17 at Toronto: 3-1 W

For the first time since last May, when they were eliminated in Game 7 of the Division Finals, the Devils found themselves in Toronto.  But…instead of playing at Ricoh Coliseum, they found themselves at the home of the Maple Leafs, Air Canada Centre, as they had an early afternoon puck drop against the slumping Marlies.  The first period was probably one of the best periods the Devils have played all season…they held Toronto to four shots, all during the second half of the first, and Brian Gibbons would strike twice, the second coming via a power play goal for a 2-0 Albany lead.  In the second, Blake Coleman would extend his scoring streak to five games with his 7th goal of the season to put the Devils up 3-0.  Andreas Johnsson would break up Ken Appleby’s shutout bid with 3:42 to go in the second to cut the lead to two.  Toronto had a chance in the third to cut the lead to 3-2 when Colin Smith was awarded a penalty shot, the first one against a Devils goaltender this season, and Appleby would come up with the save.  The Devils would find themselves down 6 on 5 for the last 4:11 of the contest, as goaltender Antoine Bibeau was pulled quite early for an extra attacker, but were able to prevent any chance of a Marlies comeback, and they would pick up their second straight win.  Appleby had an outstanding day in net, stopping 34 of 35 shots.  Joe Blandisi added two assists, while Gibbons, Coleman, and two others had one helper each.

Lines:

John Quenneville-Joe Blandisi-Petr Straka

Blake Coleman-Blake Pietila-Brian Gibbons

Kevin Rooney-Jan Mandat-Ben Sexton

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Max Novak

Defense:

Reece Scarlett/Yohann Auvitu

Seth Helgeson/Steve Santini

Karl Stollery/Vojtech Mozik

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Andrew MacWilliam, Carter Camper, Ryan Kujawinski, Scott Wedgewood, Brandon Gormley

Power Play: 1 for 5.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 15.  Shots on Goal: 25.  Shots Allowed: 35.

3 Stars: 1. Brian Gibbons; 2. Ken Appleby; 3. Blake Coleman.

Highlight Reel:

12/18 at Toronto: 4-1 L

For the rematch on Sunday afternoon, a few changes: first, the venue switched from Air Canada Centre to Ricoh Coliseum.  The Devils also made a few lineup changes: going with an 11 F/7 D setup, Joe Blandisi and Vojtech Mozik, who were both banged up during Saturday’s win, came out in favor of Andrew MacWilliam and Brandon Gormley, seeing their first action of the week.  Mackenzie Blackwood would draw the start in net, hoping to build upon Wednesday’s win in Utica.  Unfortunately, it would be the Marlies getting off to a hot start in the first period.  Byron Froese and Rinat Valiev (on a power play) would pick up goals less than three minutes apart midway through the period for a 2-0 lead.  Toronto would make it 3-0 midway through the second on Froese’s second of the contest, and a power play tally to boot.  Albany would finally get on the board late in the second as Jan Mandat would pick up his second goal of the year to cut the lead to 3-1.  The Marlies would seal the two game split late in the third on an empty netter off the stick of Dmytro Timashov.  Blackwood finished with 29 saves on 32 shots.

Lines:

Ben Sexton-Brian Gibbons-John Quenneville

Blake Pietila-Blake Coleman-Petr Straka

Jan Mandat-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley- (rotating)

Defense:

Reece Scarlett/Yohann Auvitu

Seth Helgeson/Steve Santini

Karl Stollery/Andrew MacWilliam/Brandon Gormley

Mackenzie Blackwood/Ken Appleby

Scratches: Joe Blandisi, Carter Camper, Ryan Kujawinski, Vojtech Mozik, Scott Wedgewood

Power Play: 0 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 20.  Shots on Goal: 30.  Shots Allowed: 33.

3 Stars: 1. Byron Froese; 2. Antoine Bibeau; 3. Rinat Valiev.

Highlight Reel:

My Player of the Week:

It’s split between the two Blakes this week.  Pietila with two goals and one assist, Coleman quietly having a nice comeback season after a one goal/two assist week.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Blake Pietila (10)

Assists: Joe Blandisi (14)

Points: John Quenneville (21)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik/Blake Coleman (+10)

Penalty Minutes: Andrew MacWilliam (48)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood/Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood (5)

GAA: Ken Appleby (1.88)

Save Percentage: Ken Appleby (.928)

Up North with the Thunder:

It was a rough week for the boys in Adirondack, as they dropped two of three against division rival Brampton.  The Thunder and Beast split a two game set in Canada on Thursday morning and Friday evening.  The Beast would take a 5-2 win on Thursday, as Adirondack was unable to climb out of a 4-0 hole midway through the contest.  Greg Wolfe would score his third, while Ty Loney added one assist.  The Thunder would get their revenge in a big way on Friday with a 7-3 win, as Alex Wall had two assists and Patch Alber added a helper.  Then back in Glens Falls on Saturday, the Beast would shut out the Thunder 3-0 (and it was Adirondack’s Teddy Bear Toss night…awkward).

It’s a busy week leading up to Christmas for Adirondack, as they host Reading on Tuesday, then hit the road on Thursday to take on Elmira, and finally finish the week in Reading on Friday.

This Week’s Schedule:

One game on the docket before the Devils and the rest of the AHL go on break for the holiday…a home game on Wednesday against Binghamton, the third time in December the Senators will be paying a visit to the Capital Region.

 

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