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Week 19 in Review: Closer to the Top

Nothing like a little bit of home cooking to keep you on track.  And with a four out of six point week, the Devils continued to creep ever closer…but not close enough…to taking back first place in the North.

2/15 vs. Syracuse: 6-1 W

The homestand would kick off on Wednesday with a #1 vs #2 divisional battle, as the Devils played host to the Crunch for the second time in two weeks.  Albany would get off to a good start late in the first period, as Kevin Rooney (9th) and Ben Sexton (18th on a power play) would score 2:58 apart for a 2-0 advantage.  In the second period…the rout was on, as the Devils outshot the Crunch 18-6 and turned up the offense.  In a span of 8:42, Brian Gibbons (11th), Blake Coleman (17th), John Quenneville (11th on a power play), and Vojtech Mozik (8th on a power play) would all light the lamp, extending the Devils lead to 6-0, chasing Crunch starter Adam Wilcox out after two periods in favor of Kristers Gudlevskis.  The goalie switch seemed to help Syracuse in the third, as they held the Devils off the scoresheet in the third, holding them to 6 shots.  Adam Comrie’s goal 4:34 into the third would break up the shutout bid, but Syracuse just could not get any closer.  The benefactor of all this was Mackenzie Blackwood, who played brilliantly in win #10, stopping 26 of 27 shots.  Twelve Devils registered at least one point, lead by two assists each from Andrew MacWilliam and Reece Scarlett.  And as a bonus, Sexton notched the famous Gordie Howe Hat Trick, with a second period assist and a fight with Dominik Masin.

Lines:

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Petr Straka

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Luke Gazdic-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Defense:

Karl Stollery / Vojtech Cinemas

Reece Scarlett / Yohann Auvitu

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Mackenzie Blackwood/Ken Appleby

Scratches: Jan Mandat, Blake Pietila, Nick Lappin, Scott Wedgewood, Brandon Gormley, Jacob MacDonald

Power Play: 3 for 8.  Penalty Kill: 7 for 7.  Penalty Minutes: 31.  Shots on Goal: 35.  Shots Allowed: 27.

3 Stars: 1. Ben Sexton; 2. Blake Coleman; 3. Brian Gibbons.

Highlight Reel:

2/17 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 4-0 W

Friday night came a huge test for the Devils, as the #1 team in the American Hockey League, the Penguins, were in town for a visit.  And…they passed with flying colors.  Blake Coleman would get things going in the right direction just :58 after the opening puck drop, scoring his 18th goal of the season off a misplay for a 1-0 lead.  That slim lead would hold up, as Mackenzie Blackwood and the defense would hold Wilkes-Barre to 7 first period shots (at one point shots were 9-0 Devils), then to 8 in the second.  In the third, the Penguins believed they had tied the game up…but the play was whistled dead just before the puck would cross the line.  The Devils offense would end up putting the game away for good with a 3 goal outburst…Ben Sexton would score his 19th to double the Devil lead.  Max Novak would follow up that goal with his 5th for a 3-0 lead, then Nick Lappin would put the exclamation point on with an empty netter, his 6th.  Blackwood was sensational for the second straight game, stopping all 24 Penguin shots in his first professional shutout, the Devils’ first of the season.  Brian Gibbons and Yohann Auvitu each added two assists, while Lappin and two others had one helper each.

Lines:

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Nick Lappin

Petr Straka-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Luke Gazdic-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Defense:

Karl Stollery / Vojtech Cinemas

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Reece Scarlett / Yohann Auvitu

Mackenzie Blackwood/Ken Appleby

Scratches: Jan Mandat, Blake Pietila, Ryan Kujawinski, Scott Wedgewood, Brandon Gormley, Jacob MacDonald

Power Play: 0 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 1 for 1.  Penalty Minutes: 2.  Shots on Goal: 34.  Shots Allowed: 24.

Highlight Reel:

2/18 vs. Bridgeport: 3-2 L

Fifteen and a half hours later, it was back on ice for Albany, as they finished out the week against a very hot Sound Tigers squad.  The Devils dodged a bullet with not having to face Jaroslav Halak, winner of his last 11 starts, but Bridgeport would be first to strike.  Jon Landry would put the visitors up 1-0 with a shot from the corner.  Carter Camper would tie the game up late in the period with a power play tally, his fourth of the season.  The Sound Tigers would put this one away early in the second period, as goals by Josh Ho-Sang and Carter Verhaeghe 2:05 apart would put the Devils down 3-1.  Nick Lappin would remain hot to start the third, scoring his 7th on a power play to cut the lead to 3-2.  But that was all the Devils could manage, and their brief two game winning streak was snapped.  Ken Appleby drew back in and played well despite the loss, stopping 25 of 28 shots.  Lappin would extend his point streak to 10 games with a goal and an assist, while Camper and two others had one helper each.

Lines:

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Nick Lappin

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Petr Straka-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Luke Gazdic-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Defense:

Reece Scarlett/Jacob MacDonald

Karl Stollery/Vojtech Mozik

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Jan Mandat, Blake Pietila, Ryan Kujawinski, Scott Wedgewood, Brandon Gormley, Yohann Auvitu

Power Play: 2 for 2.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 6.  Shots on Goal: 33.  Shots Allowed: 28.

3 Stars: 1. Josh Ho-Sang; 2. Carter Camper; 3. Carter Verhaeghe.

Highlight Reel:

Roster Moves: At noontime, Sergey Kalinin cleared waivers and was reassigned to Albany.  Less than three hours later, he was traded to the Maple Leafs for defenseman Viktor Loov, who will join Albany next week.  A native of Sweden, Loov has spent all of this season with the Marlies, where in 41 games he has two goals and four assists.  A 2012 seventh round pick by Toronto, Loov has had at least one cup of coffee in the NHL, appearing in four games for the Maple Leafs last season after completing nearly three full seasons with the Marlies.

My Player of the Week:

This was decided before the week was even over…two wins, one goal given up over those two games, and shutting out the best team in the AHL?  A well deserved honor for Mackenzie Blackwood.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Ben Sexton (19)

Assists: John Quenneville (26)

Points: John Quenneville (37)

+/-: Blake Coleman (+17)

Penalty Minutes: Andrew MacWilliam (81)

Wins: Ken Appleby (14)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (2.18)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.912)

Up North with the Thunder:

Good news: 3 out of 6 points earned.  Bad: The Thunder would go 0-0-2-1 doing so.

On Tuesday, Adirondack would rally from a 5-3 deficit with 4:26 remaining in regulation to tie Reading at 5, only to lose 6-5 in a shootout on home ice.  Five different players would score for the Thunder, with Brock Montgomery leading the way with one goal and two assists.  The Thunder traveled south for a two game set against Atlanta, losing 3-2 in overtime to the Gladiators on Friday.  In the rematch on Saturday, Adirondack rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third and tied the game with 23 seconds remaining in regulation, then lose 4-3 in overtime.  One game Devil J.P. Anderson drew the start in net and stopped 27 of 31 shots.

After finishing up their southern swing on Sunday in South Carolina, the Thunder return home next weekend for a pair of games, hosting Reading on Friday and Brampton on Saturday.

This Week’s Schedule:

A three game week against divisional foes is on the agenda.  Monday, the Devils finish off the homestand with a Presidents Day afternoon tilt against Utica.  Then it’s the start of a season long six game road swing, starting Friday and Saturday with a pair in Newfoundland against St. John’s.

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Week 18 in Review: A Long Winter’s Week

It was a busy 4 game week that produced mixed results for the Devils…two comebacks and two days where you wished you could hit the reset button.

2/7 vs. Providence: 4-1 L

A busy week got underway on a rare Tuesday night, as the Devils played host to a well rested Bruins team that was only playing in its second game since the All Star break.  Providence would get things started in the first, as Alex Grant would get a shot in from the corner just five seconds into their first power play opportunity for a 1-0 advantage.  Vojtech Mozik would tie things up with a power play goal, his seventh of the season.  The Bruins would take the lead back for good with 6 and a half minutes remaining in the first on an Anton Blidh tally.  Second period was mostly Providence, as they held the Devils to just 4 shots and went ahead 3-1 on a Jordan Szwarz power play goal.  Peter Mueller would seal the Devils third straight defeat late in the third with an empty netter.  Ken Appleby drew the start and was a little better than Saturday’s loss in Binghamton, stopping 22 of 25 shots.  Nick Lappin was the only other Devil to register a point, assisting on Mozik’s goal.

Lines:

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Nick Lappin

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Ben Sexton

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Blake Pietila

Luke Gazdic-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Defense:

Vojtech Mozik/Brandon Gormley

Reece Scarlett/Yohann Auvitu

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/J.P. Anderson

Scratches: Karl Stollery, Joe Blandisi, Max Novak, Jan Mandat, Mackenzie Blackwood, Scott Wedgewood, Petr Straka, Jacob MacDonald

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 1 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 18.  Shots on Goal: 20.  Shots Allowed: 26.

3 Stars: 1. Anton Blidh; 2. Colby Cave; 3. Vojtech Mozik.

Highlight Reel:

2/10 at Rochester: 3-2 W

A three in three road trip kicked off Friday night in Rochester, as the Devils looked to avenge their pre-All Star break loss to the Amerks.  For the first forty minutes, a whole lot of shots on goal–47, to be exact–for both sides, but Ken Appleby and Linus Ullmark stopped all of them.  Finally, 41:35 into the contest, the first goal would come, courtesy of Rochester’s Cole Schneider, putting the home team ahead 1-0.  Ben Thomson would answer at the 8:59 mark with his 4th goal of the season, tying things up at 1.  Just under two minutes later, Karl Stollery would put Albany ahead 2-1 with his first marker of the season.  Just as it looked like the Devils were going to hold on for the win, former Devils ATO Paul Geiger would re-tie the game with 2:06 remaining in regulation.  Fifteen seconds after the tying goal, Amerks forward Evan Rodrigues would get called for a high stick…and the Devils would make Rochester pay.  With 45 seconds remaining on the clock, Nick Lappin would score on the ensuing power play to put Albany up 3-2.  The Amerks would pull Ullmark, but were unable to come up with a quick equalizer, and the Devils 3 game losing streak would come to an end.  Appleby rebounded nicely after struggling the last two starts, stopping 28 of 30 shots in his 14th win.  Stollery and five other Devils had one assist each.

Lines:

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Nick Lappin

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Luke Gazdic-Max Novak-Ben Thomson

Petr Straka-Kevin Rooney-Jan Mandat

Defense:

Vojtech Mozik/Karl Stollery

Reece Scarlett/Yohann Auvitu

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Joe Blandisi, Rod Pelley, Blake Pietila, Ryan Kujawinski, Scott Wedgewood, Brandon Gormley, Jacob MacDonald

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 5 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 10.  Shots on Goal: 35.  Shots Allowed: 30.

3 Stars: 1. Nick Lappin; 2. Karl Stollery; 3. Linus Ullmark.

Highlight Reel:

2/11 at Toronto: 5-4 W (OT)

The road trip moved over the border into Toronto, as the Devils and Marlies kicked off a two game weekend set.  And at first…it was all Marlies.  They would outshoot the Devils 18-9 and score 3 on Mackenzie Blackwood, making his first start in over two weeks thanks to illness.  Eric Faille, on recall from Orlando, would get things started 2:57 into the contest with his first goal.  Byron Froese would add his 22nd goal midway through to double the Toronto lead.  Then, with the Devils on a power play, Travis Dermott would pick up a shorthanded goal for a 3-0 advantage.  Petr Straka would score his first goal since returning to the lineup and third of the season late to cut the lead to 2.  But, Toronto was not finished.  Justin Holl would score the second shorthanded goal for Toronto on the day, going end to end, for a 4-1 Marlies lead.  Jan Mandat would answer that with a power play goal, his fifth, to again cut the lead to 2 goals.  Then, we think this happened:

Call it Secret Stuff, call it a rally…but third period was absolutely all Devils, as they held the Marlies to just 4 shots on goal.  And one player would singlehandedly give Albany at least one point…Ben Sexton would score twice in a span of 2:23 late in the third to tie the game up at 4 apiece, sending the game to an unlikely overtime session.  It was late in that extra frame that the unlikely Devil comeback…and another chapter of It was 4-1 Toronto jokes…would be completed.  Yohann Auvitu would score the overtime winner with 49 seconds remaining to finish off the Devil victory.  Blackwood rebounded from a very shaky start to pick up win #9, stopping 33 of 37 shots.  Blake Coleman and Nick Lappin each had two assists, while Straka and four others had one assist each.

Lines:

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Nick Lappin

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Petr Straka-Kevin Rooney-Jan Mandat

Luke Gazdic-Max Novak-Ben Thomson

Defense:

Vojtech Mozik/Karl Stollery

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Yohann Auvitu/Jacob MacDonald

Mackenzie Blackwood/Ken Appleby

Scratches: Rod Pelley, Blake Pietila, Ryan Kujawinski, Reece Scarlett, Scott Wedgewood, Brandon Gormley

Power Play: 1 for 6.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 45.  Shots Allowed: 37.

3 Stars: 1. Yohann Auvitu; 2. Seth Griffith; 3. Ben Sexton.

Highlight Reel:

2/12 at Toronto: 6-2 L

Less than 24 hours later, the rematch, with Ken Appleby and Garret Sparks taking over in net.  And like the day before, it would the Marlies getting off to a good start.  Travis Dermott would score his third on the power play 3:08 into the contest for a 1-0 lead.  Justin Holl would double the lead early in the second with his 3rd goal.  Eighteen seconds later, Carter Camper would cut the lead in half with his third goal of the season.  Later in the second, with Albany on a four minute power play, Toronto would jump ahead 3-1 on a Byron Froese shorthanded goal, the third given up by the Devils in the last two days.  But the special teams would redeem themselves, as Reece Scarlett would score, his third of the season, to cut the Toronto lead to 3-2.  Sadly, there was no comeback in the Devils on this day, as the Marlies blew the game wide open midway through the third.  In a span of 3:14, Frank Corrado, Holl with his second of the day, and Andreas Johnsson would all score to put Toronto ahead 6-2.  Appleby took the hard loss, stopping 25 of 31 shots.  Three Devils would have one assist each.

Lines:

Petr Straka-Kevin Rooney-Jan Mandat

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Nick Lappin

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Luke Gazdic-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Defense:

Karl Stollery/Reece Scarlett

Yohann Auvitu/Jacob MacDonald

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Max Novak, Blake Pietila, Ryan Kujawinski, Vojtech Mozik, Scott Wedgewood, Brandon Gormley

Power Play: 1 for 7.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 12.  Shots on Goal: 33.  Shots Allowed: 31.

3 Stars: 1. Justin Holl; 2. Andreas Johnsson; 3. Travis Dermott.

Highlight Reel:

My Player of the Week:

One name showed up in the boxscore in all four games this week: Nick Lappin, with one power play goal and four assists.  He has registered at least one point in his last eight games.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Ben Sexton (17)

Assists: John Quenneville (23)

Points: John Quenneville (33)

+/-: Blake Coleman/Vojtech Mozik (+15)

Penalty Minutes: Andrew MacWilliam (79)

Wins: Ken Appleby (14)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (2.18)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.912)

Up North with the Thunder:

Adirondack had a relatively busy week as well with three games on tap.  It started on a good note Tuesday as they picked up their sixth straight victory with a 3-2 win at home against South Carolina.  The streak would come to a halt in Manchester on Saturday, as the Monarchs would take a 3-2 victory.  But Adirondack would get their revenge in a big way on Sunday afternoon at home, as they crushed Manchester 10-4, setting a new franchise record for goals in one game.  Greg Wolfe and Mikkel Aagaard would each have five point games, with both scoring twice and assisting on three others.  All but three players would pick up at least one point, and the power play had an especially good day, going 5 for 6.

This week is a busy one for the Thunder: they host Reading on Valentine’s Day, then hit the road for a three in three weekend starting in Atlanta on Friday and Saturday night against the Gladiators, then up to South Carolina on Sunday afternoon.

This Week’s Schedule:

It’s a busy three game week, but all are on home ice.  Wednesday the division leading Crunch make their second visit in two weeks.  Friday night the best team in the league, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, make their only appearance.  Then a quick turnaround on Saturday afternoon as Bridgeport comes in, as the Times Union Center does the rare hockey/basketball doubleheader (Siena has a 7 PM home game that night).

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Week 17 in Review: One Step Up, Two Steps Back

All Star Break over.  The most negative stretch of news in team history is (sort of) behind us.  Time to get back on the ice.

With three straight games to finish the week, it was a busy one.  But the Devils would discover that holding a lead wasn’t as easy as they thought.

2/2 vs. Syracuse: 3-2 W

Distractions aside, it was back to work for the Devils on a rare Thursday game night, as they welcomed the first place Crunch.  Nick Lappin’s 3rd goal of the season would put the hosts up 1-0 late in the first period.  Then much like on Saturday, the Devils seemingly looked like they were taking control of the contest in the middle stanza.  Brian Gibbons would pick up his 10th goal early in the period to double the Albany lead.  Ben Sexton, who was still recovering from illness and forced into duty with the callup of Joe Blandisi earlier in the day, would score his 14th for a 3-0 lead.  But like on Saturday, the Devils would sit back and allow the opponent to rally.  With Kevin Rooney off for an interference call, All-Star Yanni Gourde would score on a power play to break up the shutout.  With goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis pulled for a 5th man during a 4 on 4 situation,  Tanner Richard’s 10th goal with 5:23 to go in regulation would cut the lead to 3-2.  But despite a rush late, Albany was able to hold on to the one goal lead, and move to within .002 percentage points of first place in the North.  Another good outing from Ken Appleby, as he stopped 22 of 24 shots in his 13th win.  Three Devils would have one assist each.

Lines:

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Ben Sexton

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Nick Lappin

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Jan Mandat

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Max Novak

Defense:

Vojtech Mozik/Yohann Auvitu

Brandon Gormley/Jacob MacDonald

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/J.P. Anderson

Scratches: Blake Pietila, Reece Scarlett, Mackenzie Blackwood, Scott Wedgewood, Petr Straka

Power Play: 0 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 23.  Shots on Goal: 27.  Shots Allowed: 24.

3 Stars: 1. Nick Lappin; 2. Brian Gibbons; 3. Tanner Richard.

Highlight Reel:

2/3 vs. Lehigh Valley: 4-3 L

It was a quick turnaround on Friday, as the second best team in the AHL, the Phantoms, came calling.  Early on, it was the Devils getting off to a great start.  Blake Coleman (15th) and Nick Lappin (4th) would score 39 seconds apart late in the first for a 2-0 lead.  Scott Laughton would cut the lead in half just after the puck dropped for the second.  But in the third…things got interesting, and Lehigh Valley showed why they’re one of the best teams in the league.  In a span of 26 seconds, it went from a 2-1 Devil lead to a 3-2 Phantoms edge, thanks to goals from Corban Knight and Chris Conner.  Coleman would re-tie the game up with 5:48 to go in regulation with a power play goal, his second of the game and 16th of the season.  Less than a minute later, a hit by T.J. Brennan on John Quenneville would not only produce a five minute major for elbowing, but also a fight with Jan Mandat, who was hit with an instigator minor along with the fighting major.  Just over a minute later, a questionable hooking call on Coleman would put the Phantoms on a 4 on 3, and Andy Miele would cash in with the go ahead goal with 3:12 remaining.  Albany was unable to get anything going with the major power play time.  J.P. Anderson, pressed into duty with Mackenzie Blackwood catching illness and in the middle of a 3 in 3 week, was not bad in his Albany debut, stopping 24 of 28 shots.  Brian Gibbons added two assists, and three other Devils had one helper each.

Lines:

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Ben Sexton

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Jan Mandat

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Nick Lappin

Luke Gazdic-Rod Pelley-Max Novak

Defense:

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Vojtech Mozik/Yohann Auvitu

Jacob MacDonald/Brandon Gormley

J.P. Anderson/Ken Appleby

Scratches: Blake Pietila, Reece Scarlett, Ben Thomson, Mackenzie Blackwood, Scott Wedgewood, Petr Straka

Power Play: 1 for 5.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 25.  Shots on Goal: 31.  Shots Allowed: 28.

3 Stars: 1. Andy Miele; 2. Chris Conner; 3. Blake Coleman.

Highlight Reel:

2/4 at Binghamton: 6-2 L

That awkward moment when you go to your future home and play against the current tenant.  That was the case on Saturday in Binghamton.  It looked good for the Devils in the beginning…Ben Sexton would score his 15th goal of the season just 34 seconds after the puck dropped for a 1-0 advantage.  Then the infamous Curse of Broome County would strike once again.  Mike Blunden would tie the game up 5:20 into the period with his 5th goal.  Kyle Flanagan would give Binghamton a 2-1 lead midway through the first with his 5th.  In the second, it was more B-Sens: Flanagan would score his second, then Jason Akeson would score his 6th within a 5 minute span for a 4-1 Senators lead.  It would get physical late in the period, as two separate bouts would put Reece Scarlett (in his first game back in the lineup since he was the first illness victim) and John Quenneville in the showers early.  Binghamton would continue the rout into the third period, as Blunden and Akeson would each pick up their second goals of the night for a 6-1 lead.  Jacob MacDonald would give Albany a brief highlight late with his third goal since joining the Devils.  It was not a good night for Ken Appleby in net, as he was only able to stop 16 of 22 shots.  Blake Coleman and Nick Lappin had the lone assists.

Lines:

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Ben Sexton

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Nick Lappin

Ben Thomson-Kevin Rooney-Jan Mandat

Luke Gazdic-Rod Pelley-Max Novak

Defense:

Vojtech Mozik/Brandon Gormley

Reece Scarlett/Jacob MacDonald

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/J.P. Anderson

Scratches: Blake Pietila, Ryan Kujawinski, Mackenzie Blackwood, Scott Wedgewood, Petr Straka, Yohann Auvitu

Power Play: 0 for 1.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 44.  Shots on Goal: 35.  Shots Allowed: 22.

3 Stars: 1. Kyle Flanagan; 2. Mike Blunden; 3. Jason Akeson.

Highlight Reel:

My Player of the Week:

Out of the three games this week, one line was the most consistent: Blake Coleman (4 points), Ben Sexton (3 points), and Brian Gibbons (3 points).  So we’ll call it My Line of the Week I guess?

Team Leaders:

Goals: Blake Coleman (16)

Assists: John Quenneville (20)

Points: John Quenneville (30)

+/-: Blake Coleman (+14)

Penalty Minutes: Andrew MacWilliam (74)

Wins: Ken Appleby (13)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (2.18)

Save Percentage: Ken Appleby/Scott Wedgewood (.912)

Up North with the Thunder:

It was a very good week for the other boys in red, as they have won five straight, including all four games this week.

On Sunday in Elmira, Adirondack would score the go ahead goal with 4:25 remaining in regulation to win 3-2.  Next, they would start the month of February in Virginia, as they took a 4-3 win against Norfolk.  Before getting the call to back up Ken Appleby on Thursday, J.P. Anderson would be getting the win in net, as he stopped 23 of 26 shots.  Brian Ward scored his 15th, while Brandon Baddock and Ty Loney would each get an assist.  Friday night the two teams started a two game set in Glens Falls, with the Thunder prevailing 5-2.  Loney and Ward would each have a goal, with Loney adding two assists.  The Thunder would finish off the sweep of Norfolk in dramatic fashion on Saturday, scoring the game winning power play goal with 1:15 to go in regulation to cap off a 4-3 win. Loney would score his 18th and assist on another.  Ward was forced to leave the game in the second with a concussion after a nasty hit.

On tap this week: the Thunder host South Carolina on Tuesday, then play a home and home series with Manchester on Saturday (road) and Sunday (home).

This Week’s Schedule:

A very busy week for the Devils as they have four games on tap.  Tuesday they host Providence, then hit the road for a 3 in 3 weekend.  Friday night they return to Rochester to face the Amerks, then head north on the border for two games on Saturday and Sunday afternoon against Toronto.

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Week 16 in Review: Splitting into the Break

After the mid week drama…the show must go on.

And it was a mixed showing for the Devils in their brief two game week, going 1-1 in two very different performances.

1/27 at Rochester: 2-1 W

The three game road swing ended on Friday night in Rochester, as the Devils visited the Amerks for the second time this season.  The visitors would get off to a quick start less than 4 minutes into the contest, as Yohann Auvitu made a triumphant return to the lineup by scoring his first AHL goal for a 1-0 lead.  Rochester responded with a goal from Tim Kennedy less than 4 minutes later to tie things up at 1.  In the second, on the Devils only power play chance of the evening, Vojtech Mozik would pick up his 6th goal to put Albany ahead 2-1.  From there, the defense would shut down the Amerks completely, only allowing 19 shots on goal for the full 60 minutes.  Mackenzie Blackwood would get the nod in goal, only needing to make 18 saves in his 8th win of the season.  Joe Blandisi assisted on both Devil goals, with Brian Gibbons and Jacob MacDonald getting the other helpers.

Lines:

Joe Blandisi-Blake Coleman-Brian Gibbons

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Nick Lappin

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Jan Mandat

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Max Novak

Defense:

Vojtech Mozik/Yohann Auvitu

Jacob MacDonald/Brandon Gormley

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Mackenzie Blackwood/Ken Appleby

Scratches: Seth Helgeson, Steve Santini, Karl Stollery, Brandon Baddock, Ben Sexton, Blake Pietila, Reece Scarlett, Scott Wedgewood, Petr Straka, Justin Agosta

Power Play: 1 for 1.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 9.  Shots on Goal: 36.  Shots Allowed: 19.

3 Stars: 1. Vojtech Mozik; 2. Joe Blandisi; 3. Tim Kennedy.

Highlight Reel:

1/28 vs. Rochester: 5-3 L

Less than 24 hours later, both teams would meet again, this time on Albany’s ice.  And at first glance, it looked like Rochester forgot there was an afternoon game, as the Devils simply dominated in the first.  In a span of 7:03, Blake Coleman (14), Yohann Auvitu (2nd in 2 days) and Nick Lappin (2) would all score on Linus Ullmark for a 3-0 lead.  As for the Amerks, they could only muster 3 shots for the entire period.  Then something like this happened:

The Americans found their game and would rally.  It only took 3:56 for Daniel Muzito-Bagenda, Vaclav Karabacek, and Cole Schneider to tie the game up at 3.  They would outshoot Albany 10-6 for the middle period.  The carnage continued into the third, as the Amerks would finish the improbable comeback.  Tim Kennedy would put Rochester ahead 4-3 midway through the period, then Justin Bailey would add an insurance goal late.  The Devils could only muster 4 shots in the final 20 minutes.  So if you’re keeping track: Albany outshot Rochester 16-3 after 20, the Amerks would outshoot the Devils 21-10 in the final 40.  It was an uncharacteristic off day for Ken Appleby in net, as he was only able to stop 19 of 24 shots.  Auvitu and four others would have one assist each.

Lines:

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Nick Lappin

Joe Blandisi-Blake Coleman-Brian Gibbons

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Jan Mandat

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Max Novak

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Brandon Gormley

Vojtech Mozik/Yohann Auvitu

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Steve Santini, Karl Stollery, Brandon Baddock, Ben Sexton, Blake Pietila, Reece Scarlett, Petr Straka, Scott Wedgewood

Power Play: 0 for 2.  Penalty Kill: 5 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 22.  Shots on Goal: 26.  Shots Allowed: 24.

3 Stars: 1. Tim Kennedy; 2. Cole Schneider; 3. Yohann Auvitu.

Highlight Reel:

My Player of the Week:

This was a pretty easy choice this week.  Two games, two goals.  A nice return from injury for Yohann Auvitu.  Where he will be come next week is the next question.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Blake Coleman (14)

Assists: John Quenneville (19)

Points: John Quenneville (29)

+/-: Blake Coleman (+15)

Penalty Minutes: Andrew MacWilliam (72)

Wins: Ken Appleby (12)

GAA: Ken Appleby (2.05)

Save Percentage: Ken Appleby (.920)

Up North with the Thunder:

A solid week for the other team in red, as they went 2-1 on home ice.  The Thunder began the week with a 3-2 shootout win over Reading on Tuesday.  Greg Wolfe scored the tying goal late in the third period, and picked up a goal in the shootout round.  Reading would return on Friday and got revenge with a 5-1 win, as Gunnar Hughes broke up the Royals shutout bid early in the third.  Adirondack would rebound nicely on Saturday with an 8-2 thrashing of Elmira.  Patch Alber picked up 4 points, including his first goal in over two years.  Brian Ward scored twice and added an assist, Alex Wall had three assists, and Ty Loney and Wolfe added one goal and one helper each.

After finishing the month of January in Elmira on Sunday, the Thunder kick off February with a 3 game set against Norfolk, starting in Virginia on Wednesday followed by a home set on Friday and Saturday.

This Week’s Schedule:

Thanks to a team wide illness, no one is going to Allentown for All Star festivities, meaning everyone gets a few days off.  But it’s back to work starting Thursday night, as Syracuse comes in.  Friday night Lehigh Valley comes in for their lone appearance of the season.  Then Saturday it’s off to Binghamton to take on the Senators.

And stay tuned on Tuesday as I’ll have a wrapup of events in Pennsylvania from All Star skills and the challenge on Monday.

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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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Week 14 in Review: Patchwork Makes It Work

So…four forwards injured or ill.  Three other players called up to New Jersey due to injury/extended travel west.  Four new players plugged in to fill the void.

And…it actually worked!  Taking 5 out of 6 points for the week is not a bad showing, despite the lineup challenges.

1/11 at Springfield: 3-2 W (OT)

To start the week, all the Devils had to do was make a quick trip east on the Mass Pike to Springfield, for their first ever matchup against the Thunderbirds and former River Rats captain Geordie Kinnear.  Both teams would trade goals in the first period…Brent Regner would give Springfield an early lead, only to have Carter Camper tie things up later on with his second goal of the season.  After a relatively quiet second period, things would get interesting in the final 20 minutes.  Ryan Kujawinski would finally pick up goal #1 of the season with 13:26 remaining to put the Devils ahead 2-1.  And just as it looked like the Devils would pull it out in regulation…the T-Birds were not ready to pack it in just yet.  With former Devil Mike McKenna pulled for an extra attacker, their lone All Star selection, Mackenzie Weegar, would get the puck past Ken Appleby with 1:41 remaining to tie the game up at 2.  But in the end, the road team would get the last laugh…Ben Sexton would score the game winner, his 10th, with 1:40 remaining in the extra period to give the Devils the extra point.  Appleby would stop 33 of 35 shots in his 9th win of the season.  A pair of PTOs, Brian Ward (Adirondack) and Jacob MacDonald (Toledo), would each have one assist, along with three other Devils.

Lines:

Brian Gibbons-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Max Novak-Blake Pietila-Tylor Spink

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Brian Ward

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Ty Loney

Defense:

Vojtech Mozik/Brandon Gormley

Reece Scarlett/Jacob MacDonald

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

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

Power Play: 0 for 5.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 8.  Shots on Goal: 37.  Shots Allowed: 35.

3 Stars: 1. Ben Sexton; 2. Mackenzie Weegar; 3. Mike McKenna.

Highlight Reel:

1/13 vs. Springfield: 3-2 L (OT)

Friday night came the rematch on Albany’s home ice, with the only changes coming in net: Mackenzie Blackwood and Reto Berra got their turns in net.  This time, it would be Albany jumping out to the early lead…with Andrew MacWilliam in the penalty box serving an interference call, Jacob MacDonald (or as I have dubbed him, Last Week’s New Guy…got to keep the PTOs straight somehow) would get his first AHL goal shorthanded to make it 1-0.  After struggling to get shots on net, the Thunderbirds would find their way onto the scoresheet midway through the second, as former Ranger Dylan McIlrath, who was sent to Springfield by the Panthers for a conditioning stint, would tie the game up at 1.  But, less than two minutes later, Ben Sexton would pick up a power play goal, his 11th, to put Albany back on top 2-1.  Much like Wednesday night, the Devils were looking to hold on to that lead through the third…and then the same thing happened again.  With Berra pulled, the T-Birds would tie the game at 2 with just 52 seconds remaining in regulation.  Unfortunately for Albany, this overtime round would not end the way they wanted it…on the T-Birds first shot of the extra period, Shane Harper would pick up the game winner less than two minutes in for the extra point.  It marked the first overtime loss for the Devils this season, and also the first loss at home when holding a lead after the first or second period (they were 10-0 going in).  Blackwood did not have much work to do, only stopping 16 of 19 shots.  Three Devils would have one assist each.

Lines:

Blake Pietila-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Ty Loney

Tylor Spink-Brian Gibbons-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Brian Ward

Defense:

Vojtech Mozik/Brandon Gormley

Reece Scarlett/Jacob MacDonald

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Mackenzie Blackwood/Ken Appleby

Scratches: Joe Blandisi, Jan Mandat, John Quenneville, Nick Lappin, Scott Wedgewood, Petr Straka, Justin Agosta

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 26.  Shots Allowed: 19.

3 Stars: 1. Shane Harper; 2. Matt MacKenzie; 3. Jacob MacDonald.

Highlight Reel:

1/14 at Binghamton: 3-2 W

To finish off the week, the Devils headed west to Binghamton to take on the Senators.  Unlike the last time the team visited Broome County in November, when the Sens had a 3-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the contest, it would be Albany getting off to a strong start in the first.  Just 14 seconds after getting their first power play opportunity of the night, Ben Sexton would continue his big week, picking up his 12th goal for a 1-0 lead.  After the Senators had a potential tying goal waved off, the Devils would double their lead on Brandon Gormley’s 2nd goal of the season.  In the second, despite a 20-9 shot differential in favor of Albany, it would be Binghamton getting into the game.  Jason Akeson and Max McCormick would tie the game up with goals 1:40 apart.  However, Sexton would end up with the last laugh late in the period, as his second power play goal of the night would put the Devils back ahead 3-2.  Albany was able to prevent the Senators from re-tying the game, actually surviving a sixth attacker situation late in this one to pull out the win.  Another strong outing from Ken Appleby, who stopped 21 of 23 shots in win #10.  Carter Camper added two assists, while Gormley and PTO pickup Ty Loney had one helper each.

Lines:

Ryan Kujawinski-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Brian Gibbons-Blake Pietila-Ty Loney

Brian Ward-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Tylor Spink-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Defense:

Josh Jacobs/Brandon Gormley

Andrew MacWilliam/Justin Agosta

Reece Scarlett/Jacob MacDonald

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Joe Blandisi, Jan Mandat, John Quenneville, Vojtech Mozik, Nick Lappin, Scott Wedgewood, Petr Straka

Power Play: 2 for 2.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 9.  Shots on Goal: 34.  Shots Allowed: 23.

3 Stars: 1. Ben Sexton; 2. Brandon Gormley; 3. Max McCormick.

Highlight Reel:

My Player of the Week:

This week is basically a slam dunk choice…Ben Sexton stepped it up this week with most of the firepower out of the lineup.  With four goals, two of those game winners, he may have a legitimate shot at AHL Player of the Week honors.  Honorable mentions to two of the PTOs, Jacob MacDonald and Ty Loney, for stepping in and doing a great job filling in.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Blake Pietila/Ben Sexton (13)

Assists: John Quenneville (17)

Points: John Quenneville (27)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+11)

Penalty Minutes: Andrew MacWilliam (61)

Wins: Ken Appleby (10)

GAA: Ken Appleby (1.87)

Save Percentage: Ken Appleby (.929)

Up North with the Thunder:

It wasn’t the greatest of weeks for Adirondack, as they went 1-2 and were outscored 14-11.  Their lone win came on Wednesday night, a 5-1 win at home against Elmira.  Before getting the PTO call, Ty Loney had one goal and two assists, while local product and captain Peter MacArthur picked up a hat trick.  On Friday, the Thunder had a 2-0 lead after one, proceeded to give up 4 goals to Manchester in the second, score three more of their own, blow the lead in the third, tie the game up with 7 seconds remaining in regulation, then ultimately lose 7-6 to the Monarchs in overtime.  The two teams would continue their weekend set Saturday in New Hampshire, where Manchester would take a 6-3 decision.  Adirondack and Manchester finish up their three game series on Monday afternoon in Glens Falls, then the Thunder will host the ECHL All Star Game on Wednesday evening.  Adirondack will hit the road for the weekend, starting Friday in Reading then heading south to Norfolk on Saturday.

This Week’s Schedule:

A big divisional week lies ahead for the Devils.  On Wednesday, they will host Syracuse for the first time all season in a 1st vs. 2nd battle.  Then it’s off to Newfoundland for the next two, as they face St. John’s on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

 

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Week 13 in Review: Of Domination and Deficits

This week was a tale of two teams.

First, you got a team where everything clicked at home.  Then to the (sort of) long road west, later south…and the whistling returned, among other things.

The result?  A 1-2 week for the Devils.

1/4 vs. St. John’s: 6-2 W

The week began with the third visit of the season from the IceCaps, who were in the midst of a long 10 game divisional road swing.  Much like the last two games, it was the Devils getting off to a quick start, as Carter Camper finally scored his first goal of the season just 1:14 into the contest for a 1-0 lead.  Blake Coleman would double the lead 33 seconds into the middle period with his 11th goal of the season.  The IceCaps would find their way onto the scoresheet 3:25 in on a Nikita Scherbak goal, only to have Brian Gibbons score his 9th 36 seconds later for a 3-1 lead.  On the first power play opportunity for either side, Blake Pietila took advantage and picked up his 13th goal for a 3 goal advantage.  Thirty-five seconds after that goal, the IceCaps would answer with Brett Lernout’s first goal of the season to make it 4-2.  However, Coleman would come through with his second goal of the period for a 5-2 Devil lead, chasing IceCap starter Charlie Lindgren in favor of former Devil Yann Danis.  The Devil scoring wasn’t quite finished…Ben Sexton would cap off a 5 goal second period with his 9th on a power play to give Albany a 6-2 lead.  Ken Appleby would be the benefactor of all this offense, as he only needed to stop 20 of 22 shots to pick up win #8 and a fourth straight victory for Albany.  Nine Devil skaters would pick up at least one point, lead by Coleman’s three: Gibbons, Sexton, Pietila, and Camper would finish with one goal/one assist, while Max Novak, John Quenneville, Reece Scarlett, and Yohann Auvitu added one assist each.

Lines:

Blake Pietila-Blake Coleman-Brian Gibbons

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Brian Ward

Defense:

Reece Scarlett/Yohann Auvitu

Karl Stollery/Vojtech Mozik

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Seth Helgeson, Joe Blandisi, Jan Mandat, Scott Wedgewood, Brandon Gormley, Petr Straka

Power Play: 2 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 6.  Shots on Goal: 32.  Shots Allowed: 22.

3 Stars: 1. Blake Coleman; 2. Brian Gibbons; 3. Blake Pietila.

Highlight Reel:

1/6 at Utica: 4-2 L

A three game road trip began down the Thruway on Friday night, as the Devils traveled to Utica to take on a struggling Comets team that was winless in their last 9 games. With Josh Jacobs serving a double minor for a high stick (his second high stick in a span of 3:24), Colby Robak would give the home team a 1-0 lead in the first with a power play goal.  Max Novak would match that later in the period with his fourth of the season just as the man advantage was about to expire.  Alexandre Grenier would put Utica ahead 2-1 in the second with his 9th goal of the season.  Just 14 seconds after the puck dropped to begin the third, Curtis Valk would put the Comets ahead 3-1 with his 11th goal of the season.  Blake Coleman continued his hot play as of late, scoring his 13th with 8:06 remaining to cut the Comet lead to 3-2.  Wacey Hamilton would put the final nail in the coffin late with an empty netter, bringing the Albany win streak to a halt at four games.  Mackenzie Blackwood would end up with the loss in net, stopping 28 of 31 shots.  Coleman and three other Devils would have one assist each.

Lines:

Blake Pietila-Blake Coleman-Brian Gibbons

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson/Rod Pelley

Defense:

Reece Scarlett/Yohann Auvitu

Karl Stollery/Vojtech Mozik

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Jacob MacDonald

Mackenzie Blackwood/Ken Appleby

Scratches: Joe Blandisi, Jan Mandat, Scott Wedgewood, Brandon Gormley, Petr Straka, Brian Ward

Power Play: 1 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 7 for 8.  Penalty Minutes: 18.  Shots on Goal: 24.  Shots Allowed: 32.

3 Stars: 1. Colby Robak; 2. Blake Coleman; 3. Darren Archibald.

Highlight Reel:

Saturday: Albany found themselves down another defenseman, as Yohann Auvitu was summoned back to New Jersey before the parent Devils took on Edmonton.

1/7 at Lehigh Valley: 2-0 L

The week finished off in Allentown, as the Devils finally faced their old North Country rivals (that they never see anymore) the Phantoms.  It would be a battle of two very good rookie goaltenders, Alex Lyon for Lehigh Valley and Ken Appleby for Albany.  Appleby would be tested late in the first period after Jordan Weal was awarded a penalty shot, but the Phantoms All Star forward would be denied by the goalpost.  The Phantoms would find their way onto the scoreboard midway through the second, as just seconds after Ryan Kujawinski was whistled for an elbowing penalty, Greg Carey would pick up his 17th goal of the season to put the home team ahead 1-0.  Late in the period, during a Devils power play, Reece Scarlett would turnover the puck, which landed on the stick of Scott Laughton.  He would proceed on a break and score, doubling the Phantom lead.  Albany did manage to outshoot Lehigh Valley 10-7 in the third, and had a late 6 on 4 opportunity, but the offense was simply unable to get anything past Lyon, who picked up his second shutout of the season.  Appleby played well despite the loss, stopping 31 of 33 shots.

Lines:

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Blake Pietila-Blake Coleman-Brian Gibbons

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Brian Ward-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Defense:

Karl Stollery/Vojtech Mozik

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Reece Scarlett/Jacob MacDonald

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

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

Power Play: 0 for 7.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 20.  Shots on Goal: 31.  Shots Allowed: 33.

3 Stars: 1. Alex Lyon; 2. Scott Laughton; 3. Greg Carey.

Highlight Reel:

My Player of the Week:

Again, another great week from Blake Coleman, adding three more goals and two more assists to his comeback season.  Still considered a rookie by AHL rules, he has joined teammate John Quenneville in the top 10 among league rookies in scoring, ranks third among rookies in goals (13), and is tied for first in the league in game winning goals with 4.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Blake Pietila/Blake Coleman (13)

Assists: John Quenneville (17)

Points: John Quenneville (27)

+/-: Blake Coleman (+15)

Penalty Minutes: Andrew MacWilliam (57)

Wins: Ken Appleby (8)

GAA: Ken Appleby (1.86)

Save Percentage: Ken Appleby (.929)

Up North with the Thunder:

Much like the Devils, the Thunder also went 1-2 on the week, with all three games away from Glens Falls.  Adirondack would start the trip with a 4-2 loss against Norfolk on Wednesday night.  Ty Loney picked up his 13th goal in the third period in the loss.  On Friday, the Thunder would pick up a 4-2 win against Reading, as Loney scored his 14th and Alex Wall added a goal and an assist.  The Royals would get their revenge on Saturday with a 4-3 win.

The Thunder return home next week for a pair of games, hosting Elmira on Wednesday and Manchester on Friday, then they travel to New Hampshire on Saturday for the middle game of a three game set with the Monarchs.

This Week’s Schedule:

Three games coming up for the Devils this week.  On Wednesday, Albany finishes off a three game road trip in Springfield, starting a home and home set against the Thunderbirds.  After returning home on Friday to face the T-Birds, it’s off to Binghamton on Saturday night to take on the Senators.

Also coming up this week: the official midpoint of the season hits on Friday!  Expect my annual halfway stat review to be up sometime on Saturday.

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