Week 6 in Review: Of Curses and Heartbreak

Just when you thought things were back to normal in Albany…everything happens.  And two out of six points and an injured goaltender later…

11/16 at Rochester: 3-1 W

The road trip began on Wednesday night in Rochester, as the Devils looked to extend a nearly year long shutout streak against the Amerks.  And judging by the first period, it looked like a real possibility.  Despite a 15-2 shot differential in the first twenty minutes of the contest, it took till nearly the end of the period for Albany to get on the board, thanks to Miles Wood’s first professional goal.  Joe Blandisi’s fourth goal of the season (and his third in 3 games) would double the lead for the visitors midway through the middle period.  But while on a power play with 24 seconds remaining in the second, the Amerks finally broke their scoreless drought after a full 3 hours, 21 minutes, and 45 seconds (but who’s counting?), cutting the lead in half on a Tyson Strachan tally.  Despite outshooting the Devils 10-7 in the third, the Amerks were unable to get the equalizer, and an empty netter by Rod Pelley late (his third straight game with a goal) would seal a third straight win.  Scott Wedgewood stopped 20 of 21 Amerk shots, while three Devils each had assists.  The game also marked the debuts of both Petr Straka (2 SOG) and Luke Gazdic (12 PIM).

Lines:

Miles Wood-Joe Blandisi-Ben Sexton

John Quenneville-Brian Gibbons-Petr Straka

Ben Thomson-Kevin Rooney-Jan Mandat

Luke Gazdic-Rod Pelley-Ryan Kujawinski

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Andrew MacWilliam/Reece Scarlett

Karl Stollery/Josh Jacobs

Scott Wedgewood/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Steve Santini, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Brandon Baddock, Carter Camper, Brandon Gormley

Power Play: 0 for 6.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 29.  Shots on Goal: 31.  Shots Allowed: 21.

3 Stars: 1. Joe Blandisi; 2. Miles Wood; 3. Tyson Strachan.

Highlight Reel:

11/18 at Binghamton: 6-2 L

It was off to the House of Horrors…I mean Binghamton…on Friday, as Albany paid the Senators a visit.  And if you believe in curses…well, the first period was beyond explanation.  Before most of the building was probably even settled into their seats, Buddy Robinson and Patrick Sieloff scored within the first 39 seconds of the contest for a 2-0 lead.  To add to the insult, Robinson would add his second two minutes later for a 3-0 lead, ending Mackenzie Blackwood’s night after 1 save on 4 chances.  But the home team wasn’t done just yet…Curtis Lazar would add a goal, and 4:56 in the Devils were staring at a 4 goal deficit.  Things would start to look up for the Devils in the second as they tried to get back into the contest.  Petr Straka’s first Devil goal would break up the shutout bid 7:19 into the middle stanza.  Brian Gibbons would pick up his 3rd goal on a power play with 3:43 left in the period to cut the Senators lead in half.  As if the night couldn’t get any worse for Albany…Scott Wedgewood, who was filling in quite well in a relief appearance, was forced to leave the game in the third due to an apparent hand/wrist injury, putting Blackwood back in the net.  And the Senators would put the game away late with two goals in the last 5:28 of the game to halt Albany’s win streak at 3.  Blackwood had a night he’d like to forget, only stopping 2 of 7 shots in 12:01, while Wedgewood stopped 15 of 16 in 47:37 of work before exiting.  Four Devils would add assists.

Lines:

Miles Wood-Joe Blandisi-Ben Sexton

John Quenneville-Brian Gibbons-Petr Straka

Luke Gazdic-Rod Pelley-Blake Coleman

Ben Thomson-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Andrew MacWilliam/Reece Scarlett

Karl Stollery/Brandon Gormley

Mackenzie Blackwood/Scott Wedgewood

Scratches: Steve Santini, Josh Jacobs, Brandon Baddock, Jan Mandat, Carter Camper, Ryan Kujawinski

Power Play: 1 for 6.  Penalty Kill: 7 for 8.  Penalty Minutes: 28.  Shots on Goal: 28.  Shots Allowed: 23.

3 Stars: 1. Buddy Robinson; 2. Chris Carlisle; 3. Matt O’Connor.

Highlight Reel:

Saturday: On Friday night, Ken Appleby was in net in Utah picking up a win for the Thunder.  Saturday, he was backing up in Syracuse, getting the recall after Wedgewood’s injury.

11/19 at Syracuse: 3-2 L

Without Wedgewood, it was off to Syracuse, as the Devils looked to rebound from the night before.  Mackenzie Blackwood got a chance to redeem himself after a disastrous start, and early on he proved that, stopping all 9 Crunch shots in the first twenty minutes.  In the second, the Devils found themselves in a 2-0 hole rather quickly, as Matt Taormina and Tanner Richard would score 1:32 apart early in the period.  But Albany would rally to tie in the second half of the period, thanks to power play goals from Brandon Gormley (his 1st as a Devil) and John Quenneville (his 5th).  The third period was rather quiet at first…no penalties called and both teams each had chances to take the lead.  But just as everyone figured things would be settled in overtime…Erik Condra would get a pass and score on Blackwood with just 1.9 seconds left on the clock, turning a at least 3 point week into a 1-2 week for the Devils.  Blackwood, despite the loss, rebounded very nicely from Friday evening, stopping 27 of 30 shots.  Four different Devils had one assist each.

Lines:

John Quenneville-Kevin Rooney-Petr Straka

Miles Wood-Joe Blandisi-Brian Gibbons

Ben Thomson-Blake Coleman-Max Novak

Luke Gazdic-Rod Pelley-Ben Sexton

Defense:

Andrew MacWilliam/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Brandon Gormley

Karl Stollery/Josh Jacobs

Mackenzie Blackwood/Ken Appleby

Scratches: Steve Santini, Brandon Baddock, Jan Mandat, Carter Camper, Vojtech Mozik, Ryan Kujawinski, Scott Wedgewood

Power Play: 2 for 6.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 6.  Shots on Goal: 31.  Shots Allowed: 30.

3 Stars: 1. Erik Condra; 2. Yanni Gourde; 3. Matt Taormina.

Highlight Reel:

My Player of the Week:

A few to choose from…but let’s go with the new guy.  For someone who had not even played till this week, Petr Straka settled into the lineup quite nicely, picking up a goal and an assist in his first 3 games.

Team Leaders:

Goals: John Quenneville (5)

Assists: Joe Blandisi (8)

Points: Joe Blandisi (12)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+8)

Penalty Minutes: Andrew MacWilliam (44)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (5)

GAA: Ken Appleby (1.85)

Save Percentage: Ken Appleby (.929)

Up North with the Thunder:

The Thunder wrapped up an extended trip out west with a 3 game series in Utah against Alexandre Carrier and the Grizzlies, taking two out of three.  On Monday, Adirondack dropped a 5-2 decision, with Brian Ward and Ty Loney each picking up a goal.  Friday night, the Thunder returned the favor with a 2-1 win, as Ken Appleby stopped 24 of 25 shots in picking up his fourth win before flying cross country to join the Devils in Syracuse.  Adirondack would finish off the three game set with a 3-2 win on Saturday night, as Loney would score again, and both Mathieu Brodeur and Alex Wall had two assists each. Adirondack finally returns home to Glens Falls this week, as they kick off a 7 game homestand with a two game set against Florida on Tuesday and Saturday.

This Week’s Schedule:

A sort of odd schedule this week for Albany, as they play a rare Tuesday night home game against Toronto (which originally was scheduled for Wednesday…thanks Siena College).  Friday night they hit the road for Hartford, then on Saturday afternoon against Rochester…the Rats are back.  The long awaited return of the River Rat jerseys is finally upon us!

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Game 15: Albany at Syracuse

Location: Onondaga County War Memorial, Syracuse, NY.

Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: First meeting of 8.  Future matchups: December 9th @ Syracuse; January 18th, February 2nd & February 15th @ Albany; March 18th @ Syracuse; April 5th @ Albany; April 8th @ Syracuse

Media Kit

Standings:

Albany: 9-5-0-0, 14 points, .643, 2nd place in North Division

Syracuse: 7-4-0-1, 15 points, .625, 3rd place in North Division

Crunch Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Cory Conacher, 12 points (3 G, 9 A); Yanni Gourde, 9 points (4 G, 5 A); 2 tied with 8 points

Adam Wilcox, 5-3-0, 2.50 GAA; Kristers Gudlevskis, 2-1-1, 3.47 GAA

Last Game, Crunch: Syracuse lost to Hershey 5-1 in Pennsylvania on Friday night.

Latest News/Notes:

The Crunch have won 3 of 5 games during the month of November (3-1-0-1); Syracuse team captain Luke Witkowski is currently on recall to Tampa Bay; from the Devils alumni department, defenseman Matt Taormina has one goal and 5 assists in 6 appearances, while Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond has one assist in 5 games, along with 9 penalty minutes; with an assist Friday night, Joe Blandisi tied the recently called up Blake Pietila for the team scoring lead with 11 points.

Hershey Bears’ special teams bury Syracuse Crunch (syracuse.com)

CrunchCast (Raw Charge)

A-Devils Podcast: Quenneville is a bit old school (thealbanydevils.com)

Devils shell shocked by an early barrage (Times Union)

Broadcast Info: AHL Live or ESPN Radio Syracuse

Social: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @SyracuseCrunch, @syrhockey, @CrunchSyracuse

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Game 14: Albany at Binghamton

Location: Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena, Binghamton, NY.

Time: 7:05 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 1-0.

Media Kit

Standings:

Albany: 9-4-0-0, 18 points, .692, 2nd place in North Division

Binghamton: 3-8-0-1, 7 points, .292, 6th place in North Division

Senators Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

3 tied with 5 points

Chris Driedger, 2-2-1, 2.18 GAA; Matt O’Connor, 1-5-0, 2.86 GAA

Last Game, Senators: Binghamton dropped a 4-1 decision to St. John’s on home ice Tuesday night.

Latest News/Notes:

The Senators have dropped their last 3 in a row and 8 out of their last 10; they wrap up a 5 game homestand tomorrow night against Hartford; prior to Wednesday’s game, Blake Pietila was recalled to New Jersey after Taylor Hall was placed on IR due to knee surgery; with his empty net goal Wednesday, Rod Pelley has goals in three straight games.

B-Sens drop third in a row (Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin)

Ottawa Senators Recall Forward Max McCormick (binghamtonsenators.com)

Albany Devils top Rochester Americans with strong start (Times Union)

New Jersey Devils Prospect Update 11/15/16 (All About the Jersey)

Broadcast Info: AHL Live or US 96.9 FM

Social: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @SenatorsAHL

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Game 13: Albany at Rochester

Location: Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, NY.

Time: 7:05 PM.

Season Series: First meeting of 8.  Future matchups: November 26th @ Albany; January 27th @ Rochester; January 28th @ Albany; February 10th @ Rochester; April 3rd @ Albany; April 14th @ Rochester; April 15th @ Albany

Media Kit

Standings:

Albany: 8-4-0-0, 16 points, .667, 3rd place in North Division

Rochester: 7-6-0-0, 14 points, .538, 4th place in North Division

Amerks Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

2 tied with 16 points

Linus Ullmark, 6-3-0, 2.69 GAA; Jason Kasdorf, 0-3-0, 5.75 GAA

Last Game, Amerks: Rochester defeated Springfield 3-2 on the road Sunday afternoon.

Latest News/Notes:

The Amerks will play 4 out of their next 5 games on home ice, with a road trip to Utica on Saturday mixed in; the Amerks have not scored on Devil goaltending since the first period on December 19, 2015, a span of 242:09 over four games; defenseman Paul Geiger, who appeared in 9 games for Albany late last season on an amateur tryout, has one goal in 5 games for Rochester; forward Petr Straka, acquired Saturday afternoon from the Flyers, arrived on Monday and is expected to play; New Jersey reassigned Luke Gazdic, out since preseason due to injury, to Albany on Monday after clearing waivers; Steve Santini is not expected in the lineup due to an injury suffered in Saturday’s game.

Carrier expected to keep top line slot for Sabres (The Buffalo News)

Sabres Recall Three from Rochester (amerks.com)

Straka on other side now (Times Union)

Devils happy with play of rookie Nick Lappin (NorthJersey.com)

Broadcast Info: AHL Live or ESPN Radio Rochester

Social: @AlbanyDevils, @AmerksHockey, @LetsGoAmerks

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Week 5 in Review: There’s No Place Like Home

Sometimes a little home cooking…and a few friends sticking up for you…helps get a team back on track.  And it worked for the Devils this week, breaking a brief losing streak and getting back to the team we saw in October.

11/11 vs. Hershey: 6-3 W

Back home for the first time since October 29th, the Devils looked to get some revenge from last Saturday’s shutout loss with a rematch against the Bears.  And it didn’t take very long to get things started.  Just 28 seconds after the opening puck drop, Joe Blandisi would score his second goal of the season for a very quick 1-0 lead.  Vojtech Mozik, in his first game back after sitting all week as New Jersey’s seventh defenseman, picked up a power play goal late in the period to double the lead.  The Devils would outshoot their visitors 16-4 through the first twenty minutes.  Hershey would get on the board early in the second on a Jakub Vrana power play goal, but a beautiful breakaway by Brian Gibbons would restore Albany’s two goal advantage.  But Hershey was not about to go away quietly, as a goal by Stanislav Galiev with 90 seconds remaining in the middle period would cut Albany’s lead to 3-2.  The Devils appeared to put it away midway through the third…Blandisi was awarded a penalty shot and would be successful, giving Albany their two goal lead back.  But the Bears would again answer with the man advantage, as Travis Boyd would pick up his first goal of the season to again cut Albany’s lead to one.  Finally, with less than 3 minutes to go in the contest, the captain would put the game away…Rod Pelley’s first of the season would put the Devils up 5-3.  Kevin Rooney would add an empty netter for good measure.  But all that was just the lead in to what would happen with 26 seconds remaining, as a near brawl near the benches would break out after a high stick injured Blake Coleman.  Both teams would combine for a total of 86 penalty minutes and 9 players leaving early.  The other story of the night?  Scott Wedgewood barely had to break a sweat in picking up the win–he only stopped 8 of 11 shots.  Blandisi added two assists to go with his two goal night, Blake Pietila had two helpers, while two other Devils had one assist each.

Lines:

John Quenneville-Brian Gibbons-Ben Sexton

Miles Wood-Blake Pietila-Joe Blandisi

Ben Thomson-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Blake Coleman-Rod Pelley-Ryan Kujawinski

Defense:

Andrew MacWilliam/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Karl Stollery/Steve Santini

Scott Wedgewood/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Josh Jacobs, Brandon Baddock, Jan Mandat, Carter Camper, Brandon Gormley

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 56.  Shots on Goal: 26.  Shots Allowed: 11.

3 Stars: 1. Joe Blandisi; 2. Brian Gibbons; 3. Travis Boyd.

Highlight Reel:

11/12 vs. St. John’s: 4-3 W

A brief two game week wrapped up on Saturday afternoon, as the IceCaps came in for their second visit of the season.  And the Devils would see a familiar face in the other net–Yann Danis.  But it would be Blake Pietila stealing the spotlight on this day.  He got the scoring started with a power play tally 12:51 into the opening period for a 1-0 Devil lead.  Second period was a struggle once again for Albany, as the IceCaps would take the game over.  Nikita Scherbak would tie the game up less than 2 minutes into the period.  Michael McCarron and Mark Barberio would score power play goals 2:43 apart to put the visitors up 3-1.  But Pietila would come through with his second goal of the day with just 36 seconds to go in the period to cut the lead to 3-2.  After a strong showing by Albany in the first, the IceCaps would flip the script in the second, outshooting the Devils 18-8.  But in the third, Albany would put up a late rally.  With just 4:11 remaining in regulation, Rod Pelley’s second goal in as many days would tie the game up at 3.  Then just 1:46 later, Pietila would finish off his first pro hat trick and the Devil rally, putting the hosts ahead 4-3.  St. John’s could only muster 4 shots on goal in the final 20 minutes, and Albany finished off their second straight win in dramatic fashion.  Mackenzie Blackwood rebounded from his quick exit in Hershey the weekend before, stopping 27 of 30 shots.  Karl Stollery added two assists, while six other Devils had one helper each.

Lines:

John Quenneville-Brian Gibbons-Ben Sexton

Joe Blandisi-Blake Pietila-Miles Wood

Max Novak-Kevin Rooney-Ben Thomson

Ryan Kujawinski-Rod Pelley-Jan Mandat

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Karl Stollery/Steve Santini

Andrew MacWilliam/Reece Scarlett

Mackenzie Blackwood/Scott Wedgewood

Scratches: Josh Jacobs, Blake Coleman, Brandon Baddock, Carter Camper, Brandon Gormley

Power Play: 2 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 6.  Penalty Minutes: 14.  Shots on Goal: 31.  Shots Allowed: 30.

3 Stars: 1. Blake Pietila; 2. Rod Pelley; 3. Nikita Scherbak.

Highlight Reel:

Roster Move: During Saturday’s game, a trade between New Jersey and Philadelphia saw forward Petr Straka come to New Jersey for a conditional 7th round draft pick in 2017 or 2018.  Straka was in his fourth season with the Phantoms, but had been a healthy scratch all season despite being a regular in the lineup the previous three years.  He has just three NHL games under his belt, picking up two assists for the Flyers in 2014-15.  He will report to Albany early next week.

My Player of the Week:

A five point week, including your first hat trick?  Blake Pietila was an easy choice.  Honorable mention to Joe Blandisi and his four point performance on Friday.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Blake Pietila (6)

Assists: 2 tied with 5

Points: Blake Pietila (11)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+8)

Penalty Minutes: Joe Blandisi (36)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (4)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (2.44)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.905)

Up North with the Thunder:

Adirondack spent the week in Idaho, where they took 3 out of 6 points from Joe Faust and the Steelheads.  On Wednesday, the Thunder posted a 6-3 win, as Ken Appleby stopped 26 of 29 shots.  Brian Ward scored twice, while Alex Wall and Mathieu Brodeur added one goal each.  Idaho would pick up a 4-3 shootout win on Friday night, with Ward and Ty Loney scoring for the Thunder.  The Steelheads would finish off the 3 game set with a 4-2 win on Saturday.  Appleby stopped 27 of 31 shots in the loss, the first in regulation on the road for the Thunder this season.  Adirondack heads to Utah this week for a three game series against the Grizzlies to finish off their western road swing.

This Week’s Schedule:

The Devils head on an Empire State three game road swing this week.  Wednesday they head west on Interstate 90 for their first visit to Rochester.  Friday it’s west on Interstate 88 to Binghamton to face the Senators.  Then on Saturday the trip finishes in Syracuse.

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Game 12: Albany vs. St. John’s

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

Time: 5:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 1-0.

Media Kit

Standings:

Albany: 7-4-0-0, 14 points, .636, 3rd place in North Division

St. John’s: 6-6-1-0, 13 points, .500, 5th place in North Division

IceCaps Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Chris Terry, 13 points (5 G, 8 A); Charles Hudon, 12 points (8 G, 4 A); Sven Andrighetto, 11 points (5 G, 6 A)

Charlie Lindgren, 6-2-0, 2.25 GAA; Yann Danis, 0-1-1, 4.47 GAA

Last Game, IceCaps: St. John’s lost to Springfield 3-1 in Massachusetts on Friday night.

Latest News/Notes:

This is game 2 of a 6 game road swing for the IceCaps, who will head west to Binghamton, Rochester, and Toronto after today before finally returning home on November 25th; forward Charles Hudon is the active AHL leader in goals (8); just after St. John’s visit to Albany in October, they signed former Devil All Star goaltender Yann Danis to an AHL contract; fellow former Devil Stefan Matteau is on a four game goal scoring streak; after another 56 minutes in penalties last night, the Devils lead the AHL in average penalty minutes per game (24.36).

Joe Blandisi gets message, leads Devils to victory (Times Union)

Messy finish to good Albany Devils game (Times Union)

Scherbak is an IceCaps’ work in progress (The Telegram)

Springfield Sinks St. John’s 3-1 (stjohnsicecaps.com)

Broadcast Info: AHL Live or stjohnsicecaps.com

Social: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @IceCapsAHL

 

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Game 11: Albany vs. Hershey

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Hershey leads 1-0.

Media Kit

Standings:

Albany: 6-4-0-0, 12 points, .600, 3rd place in North Division

Hershey: 6-2-2-0, 14 points, .700, 2nd place in Atlantic Division

Bears Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Chris Bourque, 9 points (1 G, 8 A); 2 tied with 8 points

Joe Cannata, 4-1-1, 2.83 GAA; Vitek Vanecek, 2-1-1, 1.51 GAA

Last Game, Bears: Hershey defeated Rochester 5-3 on home ice Sunday afternoon.

Latest News/Notes:

Hershey comes into the weekend winners of their last five straight and have earned at least one point in 8 straight; the Bears begin their seccond straight 3 in 3 weekend with a road game, then return home to host Bridgeport on Saturday and Lehigh Valley on Sunday; forward Paul Carey is on a 6 game point streak since October 26th; after New Jersey finished off a 1-1-1 road trip, they returned Vojtech Mozik, who did not appear in either game, to Albany on Monday; also on Monday, Alex Wall was released from his PTO without making an appearance; Carter Camper is the lone injured Devil, he remains out indefinitely.

Hershey Takes Weekend Sweep With 5-3 Win Over Rochester (Chocolate Hockey)

The Hershey Bears take the Mannequin Challenge (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

AHL Notebook: Albany Dealing with Roster Upheaval (NHL.com)

Video: Quenneville fitting in nicely with Albany Devils (The Daily Gazette)

Broadcast Info: AHL Live or Fox Sports 1460

Social: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheHersheyBears

 

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