Week 15 In Review: Going the Extra Mile

Sometimes, you need just a little more time to get what you want.

That was the case for the Devils this week, as they inched closer to returning to first place in the North Division with a pair of overtime victories…and nearly had a chance at a third.

1/18 vs. Syracuse: 3-2 W (OT)

It was a battle of 1 vs. 2 in the North Division, as the first place Crunch made their first visit of the season to the Capital Region after taking the first two matchups of the series on their home ice.  Ryan Kujawinski’s second goal of the season 6:04 into the contest would put the Devils ahead early 1-0.  Then, for awhile, it became a goaltenders duel between Ken Appleby and Adam Wilcox, as the two combined for 33 saves on 34 shots over the first forty minutes of the contest.  Vojtech Mozik looked to pick up an insurance goal on the power play 7 minutes into the third for a 2-0 Devil lead.  But, the Crunch were not about ready to throw in the towel just yet.  On a scrum in front of Appleby’s net, a questionable non-goaltender interference call would lead to Syracuse cutting the lead in half on Yanni Gourde’s 13th goal of the season.  Barely two and a half minutes after that…we would be tied at 2, thanks to a Tanner Richard goal.  For the third time in the last four games, the Devils found themselves needing overtime to settle things…and just 1:17 into the extra frame, Kevin Rooney would send everyone home happy with the game winner, his 8th of the season. Appleby would end up with 29 saves on 31 shots, picking up his third straight win, fourth in his last five starts, and 11th of the season.  Ben Sexton continued his hot play of late, contributing two assists, while three other Devils had one helper each.

Lines:

Ryan Kujawinski-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Brian Gibbons-Blake Pietila-Nick Lappin

Jan Mandat-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Ty Loney

Defense:

Vojtech Mozik/Brandon Gormley

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Reece Scarlett/Jacob MacDonald

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Joe Blandisi, John Quenneville, Scott Wedgewood, Petr Straka

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 8.  Shots on Goal: 26.  Shots Allowed: 31.

3 Stars: 1. Kevin Rooney; 2. Ken Appleby; 3. Tanner Richard.

Highlight Reel:

1/21 vs. St. John’s: 4-2 L

It was then off to a very snowy Newfoundland, as the Devils kicked off a two game set against the IceCaps, with the first game having to be pushed back due to a snowstorm in the area.  And before most of a sparse crowd were likely even in their seats, Vojtech Mozik was putting the visitors on the board 18 seconds after puck drop with his 5th goal of the season.  Jeremy Gregoire would tie things up midway through the opening period with his 6th goal.  Then while the Devils were on their second power play, a turnover would be stolen by Chris Terry, who broke in alone and scored for a 2-1 St. John’s lead.  Ryan Kujawinski would re-tie the contest late in the second period with his 3rd goal.  In the third, despite a 12-8 shot advantage for the Devils, it would be the home team pulling it out in the end.  On a scramble in front of Ken Appleby’s net, Michael McCarron would score with 5:09 remaining in regulation to put St. John’s ahead by one.  Max Friberg would add the empty netter late for the nail in the coffin.  Appleby played well despite the loss, only facing 18 shots and stopping 15.  Nick Lappin and Josh Jacobs would pick up the only helpers.  The game also marked the returns of both Joe Blandisi and John Quenneville to the lineup.

Lines:

Brian Gibbons-Joe Blandisi-Nick Lappin

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Blake Pietila

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Jan Mandat

Defense:

Vojtech Mozik/Brandon Gormley

Reece Scarlett/Jacob MacDonald

Josh Jacobs/Andrew MacWilliam

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Max Novak, Scott Wedgewood, Petr Straka, Ty Loney, Justin Agosta

Power Play: 0 for 2.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 12.  Shots on Goal: 28.  Shots Allowed: 19.

3 Stars: 1. Chris Terry; 2. Charlie Lindgren; 3. Brian Gibbons.

Highlight Reel:

1/22 vs. St. John’s: 2-1 W (OT)

About 18 hours after the final whistle, both teams would meet for the rematch, with the only difference being former Devil Yann Danis in net for the home team.  Much like the night before, it would be the Devils getting on the board first, courtesy of a power play goal by Jacob MacDonald, his second during his PTO stint.  Also like the night before, the IceCaps would find their way onto the scoresheet courtesy of a turnover…in this case, Charles Hudon would pick up his 12th goal with less than a minute remaining in the first for a 1-1 contest.  Then both Danis and Ken Appleby would go into lockdown, stopping a combined 33 shots (Danis 19, Appleby 14) over the final 40 minutes of regulation.  For the fourth time in two weeks, Albany would go to overtime, and for the third time in two weeks, they would get the extra point.  Joe Blandisi would score the game winner 1:18 in for the victory.  Appleby would stop 21 of 22 shots in the win.  Nick Lappin, John Quenneville, and Carter Camper would have one assist each.

Lines:

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Blake Pietila-Joe Blandisi-Nick Lappin

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Brian Gibbons

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Jan Mandat

Defense:

Reece Scarlett/Jacob MacDonald

Vojtech Mozik/Brandon Gormley

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Scott Wedgewood, Petr Straka, Ty Loney, Justin Agosta

Power Play: 1 for 5.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 6.  Shots on Goal: 32. Shots Allowed: 22.

3 Stars: 1. Joe Blandisi; 2. Yann Danis; 3. Brett Lernout.

Highlight Reel:

My Player of the Week:

There was one constant in all three games this week: the man between the pipes.  You may have noticed that Ken Appleby has started the last 4 games, winning three.  He leads all AHL rookies with a 1.89 goals against average and his .927 save percentage ranks fourth among all AHL netminders.  Have the Devils found a new #1 goaltender?  We shall see.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Blake Pietila/Blake Coleman/Ben Sexton (13)

Assists: John Quenneville (18)

Points: John Quenneville (28)

+/-: Blake Coleman (+15)

Penalty Minutes: Andrew MacWilliam (65)

Wins: Ken Appleby (12)

GAA: Ken Appleby (1.89)

Save Percentage: Ken Appleby (.927)

Up North with the Thunder:

It was All Star week in Glens Falls, as the full Thunder roster was set to face off against a team of ECHL All Stars.  But before that…Adirondack would drop a 5-3 decision to Manchester Monday afternoon at home.  On Wednesday night, the Thunder would lose 8-7 to the league All-Star crop, but did pick up two wins in the mid game Skills Competition: the team of Greg Wolfe, Peter MacArthur, Brian Ward, and Dana Fraser would win the Puck Control Relay, and Stepan Falkovsky would win Hardest Shot at 99 MPH.  Ward would pick up a goal during the second half of the game (the game was played in two halves with the skills in the middle), and Brandon Baddock would finally return to the lineup after being out since early December, picking up an assist in the first half.  The Thunder would return to their regular schedule on Friday in Reading, losing 2-1 in overtime.  They managed to salvage their week with a 7-4 drubbing of Norfolk in Virginia on Saturday.  Wolfe would score once and assist on two others, Ward added two helpers, and Baddock even added an assist.

Coming up this week: it’s a busy one, as the Thunder will have a three game homestand, starting on Tuesday against Reading.  They face the same Royals on Friday night, then host Elmira on Saturday.  They will finish out January on the road Sunday afternoon against the Jackals.

This Week’s Schedule:

It’s a relatively easy week for the Devils leading up to the All Star break.  They will take on Rochester in a home and home set, starting Friday night on the road before returning home Saturday afternoon.

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