Week 12 in Review: Almost Perfect New Year

If not for a run in with a perfect goalie, the Devils start to 2017 would be just that…perfect.  A three game winning streak to finish off the week puts Albany in a position to claim the North Division lead back as we inch closer to the halfway point of the season.

12/26 vs. Providence: 4-2 L

Back on the ice the day after Christmas, the Devils continued their homestand against a hot Bruins team, while forced to go with an 11 F/7 D lineup thanks to injuries for several forwards.  After a scoreless first period, Albany would get off to a good start in the middle period.  While Josh Jacobs was serving a hooking penalty, Max Novak would pick up a shorthanded goal, his third of the season, 1:09 in for a 1-0 lead.  Providence would answer about three and a half minutes later on a Justin Hickman tally to tie things up at 1.  Jake DeBrusk would add a power play goal midway through to put the Bruins ahead 2-1.  The Devils would rally early in the third to tie the game at 2 on Brian Gibbons’ eighth goal of the season.  But, a shot from the corner off the stick of Bruins captain Tommy Cross would find the corner of the net just over Ken Appleby’s shoulder with 8:58 to go would put Providence ahead for good.  Colby Cave would seal the win late with an empty netter.  Otherwise, a solid evening for Appleby in net despite the loss, as he stopped 28 of 31 shots.  Three different Devils would have one assist each.

Lines:

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Petr Straka

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Jan Mandat-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-

Defense:

Reece Scarlett/Yohann Auvitu

Karl Stollery/Steve Santini

Andrew MacWilliam/Vojtech Mozik

Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Seth Helgeson, Joe Blandisi, Blake Pietila, Luke Gazdic, Ryan Kujawinski, Scott Wedgewood

Power Play: 0 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 26.  Shots Allowed: 32.

3 Stars: 1. Tommy Cross; 2. Justin Hickman; 3. Max Novak

Highlight Reel:

12/30 vs. Toronto: 4-2 W

The home portion of 2016 came to a close on Friday evening, as the Devils hosted the Marlies for the fourth time this season.  And it wasn’t long before the visitors found themselves in the lead, as a Colin Greening goal would put Toronto up 1-0 just 2:48 into the contest.  But Albany would answer on their second power play opportunity of the night, as John Quenneville would score his 9th to tie the game up at 1.  It appeared the Devils had taken the lead late, but the goal was waved off due to what the referees saw as goaltender interference, not to mention the goal had cleared the line just before the net was dislodged.  A three goal barrage in a 1:59 span late in the second would set the tone for the night, though…with 3:59 remaining, while on a power play, Andrew Nielsen would put the Marlies ahead 2-1.  But that lead would last just 57 seconds, as Ben Sexton would score his 6th to tie the game up at 2.  Quenneville would follow up 52 seconds later with his second of the night and 10th of the season to put the Devils ahead for good 3-2.  Blake Pietila would add an empty netter just as the clock was about to hit zero in the final period.  A much needed good night between the pipes for Mackenzie Blackwood, as he stopped 22 of 24 shots in win #6 for the rookie.  Carter Camper matched his season output in one night, dishing out three assists.  Reece Scarlett added two helpers of his own.

Lines:

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Jan Mandat-Blake Coleman-Brian Gibbons

Blake Pietila-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Brian Ward

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Steve Santini

Andrew MacWilliam/Vojtech Mozik

Karl Stollery/Reece Scarlett

Mackenzie Blackwood/Ken Appleby

Scratches: Joe Blandisi, Josh Jacobs, Ryan Kujawinski, Petr Straka, Scott Wedgewood

Power Play: 1 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 10.  Shots on Goal: 35.  Shots Allowed: 24.

3 Stars: 1. John Quenneville; 2. Carter Camper; 3. Andrew Nielsen.

Highlight Reel:

12/31 at Hartford: 3-1 W

To finish off the 2016 portion of the schedule, it was off to the capital of Connecticut to face off against a struggling Wolfpack.  And it didn’t take long to get things started…just 32 seconds after the puck dropped, Jan Mandat would score his fourth of the season for a 1-0 Devil lead.  Hartford thought they tied the game up midway through the second, but the goal was waved off.  The Wolfpack would then get their equalizer just seconds later, off the stick of Nicklas Jensen during a power play.  A goaltending duel between Ken Appleby and Magnus Hellberg would emerge soon after, as both teams were having trouble getting that go ahead score.  But Ben Sexton would come through in the clutch, picking up his 7th goal with 4:14 remaining in regulation to put the Devils ahead 2-1.  Blake Pietila would follow with his second straight empty net goal and 12th on the year with less than a minute remaining to top off 2016 with their second straight victory.  Appleby would pick up win #7 and stop 24 of 25 Hartford shots.  Pietila and three others would have one assist each.

Lines:

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Jan Mandat-Blake Coleman-Brian Gibbons

Blake Pietila-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Brian Ward

Defense:

Karl Stollery/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Joe Blandisi, Ryan Kujawinski, Scott Wedgewood, Petr Straka, Steve Santini

Power Play: 0 for 1.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 19.  Shots on Goal: 30.  Shots Allowed: 25.

3 Stars: 1. Ben Sexton; 2. Nicklas Jensen; 3. Ken Appleby.

Highlight Reel:

Sunday: You may have noticed Steve Santini was a late scratch from Saturday’s game in Hartford.  Sunday we learned why: he was recalled to New Jersey after John Moore was hurt in Saturday’s loss to the Capitals.

1/1 vs. Bridgeport: 3-2 W

To kick off 2017, it was back to home ice to host the Sound Tigers for the first time this season.  Much like the night before in Hartford, the Devils got off to a fast start.  Ben Sexton would pick up his 8th goal and third in 3 games this weekend just 1:32 into the contest for a 1-0 lead.  Then on their first power play opportunity midway through the period, Vojtech Mozik would score his third to double the lead, chasing Sound Tiger starter Eamon McAdam in favor of Stephon Williams (Jaroslav Halak did not travel).  Blake Coleman would add a power play goal of his own, his 10th, early in the second period for a 3-0 lead.  At that point, it appeared Mackenzie Blackwood and the Devils would cruise easily, despite being outshot.  Then the Sound Tigers decided to make things interesting with less than five minutes remaining in the contest.  In a span of 3:11, former Devil Steve Bernier (on a power play) and Andrew Rowe would score to cut the Devil lead to one.  But Albany would hold on in the end, finishing off a perfect 3 in 3 weekend and starting off 2017 on a positive note.  Blackwood picked up his second win of the week, stopping 30 of 32 shots.  Mozik and Karl Stollery added two assists, while two other Devils had one helper each.  Ryan Kujawinski returned to the lineup for the first time since mid-November.

Lines:

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Blake Pietila-Blake Coleman-Brian Gibbons

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Brian Ward

Defense:

Karl Stollery/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Mackenzie Blackwood/Ken Appleby

Scratches: Joe Blandisi, Jan Mandat, Scott Wedgewood, Petr Straka

Power Play: 2 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 13.  Shots on Goal: 19.  Shots Allowed: 32.

3 Stars: 1. Vojtech Mozik; 2. Karl Stollery; 3. Mackenzie Blackwood.

Highlight Reel:

My Player of the Week:

Do I really have to pick just one?  There are quite a few candidates to choose from this week: 9 Devils had at least two points.  So I will do a three player split between Blake Pietila (2 G, 2 A), Karl Stollery (4 assists) and Ben Sexton (3 goals in 3 straight and two fights).

Team Leaders:

Goals: Blake Pietila (12)

Assists: John Quenneville (16)

Points: John Quenneville (26)

+/-: Blake Coleman (+14)

Penalty Minutes: Ben Thomson (52)

Wins: Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood (7)

GAA: Ken Appleby (1.83)

Save Percentage: Ken Appleby (.929)

Up North with the Thunder:

After an extended break, Adirondack returned to home ice on New Year’s Eve for their lone game of the week, and despite outshooting Reading 42-26, they would drop a 5-2 decision to the Royals.  Ty Loney picked up his 12th goal, while Patch Alber added one assist.  The Thunder will start the 2017 portion of the schedule on a three game road trip, starting in Norfolk on Wednesday before going north to Reading on Friday and Saturday for a two game set against the Royals.

This Week’s Schedule:

Three games on tap for the first week of 2017.  Wednesday the Devils will host St. John’s, then they hit the road for the next two.  Friday night it’s back to Utica to take on the Comets, then a test on Saturday as they face a very good Lehigh Valley team in Allentown.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s