Tag Archives: Road Trip

Week 26 Recap: No April Fooling this Playoff Team

First step of the journey is now complete.  After a 3-1 week that saw a few more franchise records broken, what’s left for the Devils to accomplish as the regular season winds down?

Tuesday: Not long after the pregamer went out, a second ATO signing was announced.  Kevin Rooney, a teammate of Trevor Mingoia at Providence, is another forward who just completed his senior campaign with the Friars.  He appeared in all 38 games, posting 6 goals and 4 assists.

3/29 vs. Hartford: 3-0 W

The week started with another rare Tuesday night matchup, as all the Devils needed was to get to overtime at the least against the Wolfpack and their playoff spot would be booked.  Turns out, they didn’t need the extra time to do so.  Max Novak would get things started less than 5 minutes into the game, picking up his third goal of the season for a 1-0 lead.  Brian O’Neill would pick up his 10th goal during the second to double the lead.  Then Paul Thompson would finish things off halfway through the third with his 13th goal for the 3-0 advantage.  That was all Yann Danis would need, as he stopped all 24 shots in picking up his seventh shutout of the season, third against Hartford.  It’s the second time in three seasons and third time in franchise history that a Devil team has punched a postseason ticket.  Reece Scarlett would add two assists, while Novak and Jim O’Brien had one helper each.  Also of note: it took just a hair over two hours to complete, as both teams combined for just 5 minor penalties, none in the third period.

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Brian O’Neill-Max Novak

Ben Johnson-Jim O’Brien-Paul Thompson

Graham Black-Kevin Rooney-Trevor Mingoia

Pierre-Luc Leblond-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Paul Geiger/Corbin McPherson

Brandon Burlon/Raman Hrabarenka

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Dan Kelly, Blake Coleman, Chris McKelvie, Ryan Kujawinski, Nick Lappin, Joe Faust, Justin Crandall, Alex Carrier

Power Play: 0 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 4.  Shots on Goal: 34.  Shots Allowed: 24.

Highlights:

Wednesday: New Jersey is finally getting healthy as they near the end of the regular season.  With Cory Schneider ready to return to the crease, Scott Wedgewood was sent back to Albany after quite a successful 4 game debut stint.  He finished 2-1-1 with a 1.24 GAA and one shutout.

Thursday: With Wedgewood returning to the fold, Ken Appleby was reassigned to Adirondack.  Also, Justin Crandall was released from his PTO and returned to Reading.

4/1 at Binghamton: 2-1 W (OT)

The Devils kicked off the month of April with a trip west to Binghamton to take on the Senators, who were hanging on to the very last thread to stay in the playoff hunt.  Unfortunately for them, the latest team to get into the postseason was not going to help their cause.  Brian O’Neill would get things started early in the first, picking up his 11th goal of the season for a 1-0 lead.  But, it only took about 90 seconds and a power play for the Senators to tie things up, as a Max McCormick shot just got past Scott Wedgewood, who was making his first appearance in net since returning from New Jersey.  After that, he and Senators goaltender Chris Driedger would settle in for a goaltending duel that would extend to the end of regulation.  But just 22 seconds into overtime, as Driedger tried to clear the puck, Marc Andre Gragnani picked it up, passed it to Paul Thompson, who then passed it to Jim O’Brien, and he would score the game winner, his 18th goal of the season.  The win marked a franchise record for a season with 41, passing the playoff team of 2013-14.  Wedgewood turned aside 25 of 26 shots in his 10th win of the season.  Brandon Burlon would pick up an assist on O’Neill’s goal.

The Lineup:

Brian O’Neill-Matt Lorito-Max Novak

Ben Johnson-Jim O’Brien-Paul Thompson

Trevor Mingoia-Kevin Rooney-Ben Thomson

Pierre-Luc Leblond-Graham Black-Alex Carrier

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Paul Geiger/Corbin McPherson

Brandon Burlon/Raman Hrabarenka

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Dan Kelly, Rod Pelley, Blake Coleman, Chris McKelvie, Ryan Kujawinski, Nick Lappin, Joe Faust

Power Play: 0 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 15.  Shots on Goal: 33.  Shots Allowed: 26.

Highlights:

4/2 vs. Springfield: 5-4 L

A quick turnaround back on home ice Saturday afternoon, as the Devils played host to the Falcons.  And it was the visitors who got things started rather quickly, as a Tyler Gaudet goal just 2:27 into the contest gave Springfield a 1-0 advantage.  Then Ben Johnson would singlehandedly take over the next two periods, scoring the next three goals (two of them power play goals, breaking a 1 for 18 dry spell over their last 7 games) to give the Devils a 3-1 lead after two periods.  In the third…the wheels came completely off the wagon, as in a span of 13:40 the Falcons would put a 4 spot on Yann Danis…Michael Bunting (on a power play), Jordan Szwarz, Domenic Monardo, and Matia Marcantuoni would all score to put Springfield ahead 5-3.  Matt Lorito would try to start a late Devil rally with a power play goal, his 17th, with 2:32 to go, and despite a late Devil attack on the Falcons net, they could not get that tying goal in.  The loss marked the first time all season the Devils blew a second period lead (they were 19-0 coming into today).  Danis would stop 16 of 21 shots.  Paul Thompson and Marc Andre Gragnani each had two assists, while 4 others had one assist each.

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Brian O’Neill-Max Novak

Ben Johnson-Jim O’Brien-Paul Thompson

Trevor Mingoia-Kevin Rooney-Ben Thomson

Pierre-Luc Leblond-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Paul Geiger/Corbin McPherson

Brandon Burlon/Raman Hrabarenka

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Dan Kelly, Rod Pelley, Blake Coleman, Chris McKelvie, Nick Lappin, Joe Faust, Alex Carrier

Power Play: 3 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 10.  Shots on Goal: 40.  Shots Allowed: 21.

Highlights:

4/3 vs. Binghamton: 3-0 W

One last home game to close out a busy week, as the Senators came calling for the second time in 3 days.  Scott Wedgewood and Chris Driedger picked up where they left off in their goaltending duel, with the Devils having a clear advantage in shots (18-5 in the first, 13-5 in the second).  It took until late in the second period for someone to finally get a goal…and it was off the stick of Paul Geiger, who picked up his first pro goal for a 1-0 Devil lead. Things were going along fine until a scary moment in the third…a puck hit Wedgewood right in the mask, opening up a cut on the right side of his face.  He left with the trainer to get stitched up, and Yann Danis stepped in.  Not long after that, another first goal of the season for a Devil…Marc Andre Gragnani finally broke a season long goalless drought to provide the hosts an insurance goal.  Graham Black would seal the win late with an empty netter, his sixth of the season.  With the win, two more franchise records were set: points in a season (94) and shutouts in one season (10).  Wedgewood picked up his 10th win, only stopping 15 shots before exiting, while Danis only had to face 4 shots.  Four Devils had assists, including the first pro point for Kevin Rooney.

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Brian O’Neill-Max Novak

Ben Johnson-Jim O’Brien-Paul Thompson

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Graham Black

Pierre-Luc Leblond-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Paul Geiger/Corbin McPherson

Brandon Burlon/Raman Hrabarenka

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Dan Kelly, Blake Coleman, Chris McKelvie, Nick Lappin, Joe Faust, Trevor Mingoia, Alex Carrier

Power Play: 0 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 21.  Shots on Goal: 42. Shots Allowed: 19.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

2-0, only one goal given up in those two starts and having the scar to prove it?  A nice return to the lineup for Scott Wedgewood after returning from a whirlwind week in New Jersey.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Jim O’Brien (18)

Assists: Matt Lorito (35)

Points: Matt Lorito (52)

+/-: Matt Lorito (+15)

Penalty Minutes: Pierre-Luc Leblond (115)

Wins: Yann Danis (27)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.56)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.933)

The Vault:

In an effort to help everyone learn about the New Guys that have come in…a bonus two videos this week!  First I offer a highlight reel from last season for Kevin Rooney:

And I couldn’t leave out his college teammate Trevor Mingoia:

Up North with the Thunder:

A 2-1 weekend mark has Adirondack on the verge of clinching a playoff spot in the Kelly Cup playoffs, as the regular season winds down.  Friday night in a 5-1 win over Norfolk Greg Wolfe picked up a hat trick and Ken Appleby stopped 22 of 23 shots.  Appleby turned in another strong performance in a 3-1 win over Brampton on Saturday, stopping 27 of 28 shots, while Gunnar Hughes picked up one assist.  Brampton would return the favor on Sunday afternoon with a 4-1 win, Wolfe the only Thunder scorer.  Adirondack finishes off the regular season this week, hosting Elmira on Tuesday before a home and home series with Manchester on Friday and Saturday, their magic number to clinch a spot at 4.

This Week’s Schedule:

One last 3 in 3 weekend for the regular season, and it starts on the road.  Friday night the Devils head west on Interstate 90 to Syracuse to finish off their season series against the Crunch.  Then on Saturday, they head south on Interstate 81 for their second trip to Binghamton in 8 days.  Finally on Sunday, it’s back on home ice and a showdown with the first place Marlies.

Also this week: the annual end of season awards post.  I hope to have that up either Tuesday night after the STH party or during the day on Wednesday.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Weekly Primer, Issue 26

Quick Hits:

-Albany begins this week with a 39-17-8-2 record, 88 points, and a .667 points percentage.  They remain in second place in the North, 11 points behind Toronto and 12 points ahead of Utica.  Their magic number to clinch a Calder Cup playoff berth sits at 1, only needing to win or get to overtime to seal the deal.  If the postseason were to begin today, the Devils would face Portland, who would cross over from the Atlantic having a better percentage than 4th place Syracuse (.583 to .537).

-There was a special guest at practice on Monday: Cory Schneider was assigned on Sunday for a one day conditioning stint, practicing here before heading back south to Newark.

-Add another amateur tryout to the roster, in the form of Providence College forward Trevor Mingoia.  He just completed his senior season with the Friars, picking up 37 points in 36 games (14 G, 23 A).  He lead Providence to a NCAA championship last season, and started his collegiate career in 2011-12 with Union.

-Mathieu Brodeur and Gunnar Hughes were both released from their PTOs on Monday, sending them back up the Northway to Adirondack.

Tuesday, 3/29 vs. Hartford

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 3-2.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 36-28-3-0, 75 points, .560 pct, 6th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Chad Nehring, 42 points (20 G, 22 A); Marek Hrivik, 39 points (11 G, 28 A); Jayson Megna, 34 points (12 G, 22 A); Magnus Hellberg, 27-17-3, 2.39 GAA; Jeff Malcolm, 7-5-0, 2.41 GAA

Notes: The Wolfpack dropped 2 of 3 last week, keeping them just two points behind Portland for the 5th place Atlantic crossover spot; they are 7-0 in shootouts this season, 7-3 in games decided in overtime; Hartford ranks 30th in the league in penalty minutes per game (9.93); they return home to host Hershey and Portland this weekend.

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @WolfpackAHL

Friday, 4/1 & Sunday, 4/3 vs. Binghamton

Where: Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena, Binghamton, NY (Friday); Times Union Center, Albany, NY (Sunday).

When: 7:00 PM (Friday); 3:00 PM (Sunday).

Season Series: Albany leads 3-1.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 27-34-5-1, 60 points, .448 pct, 7th place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Phil Varone, 47 points (18 G, 29 A); Jason Akeson, 45 points (11 G, 34 A); Casey Bailey, 32 points (9 G, 23 A); Chris Driedger, 16-13-3, 2.98 GAA; Matt O’Connor, 8-18-3, 3.39 GAA

Notes: The Senators have dropped 3 of their last 4, including a home and home with the Penguins last week; captain Zack Stortini leads the AHL in penalty minutes, with 177 in 64 games; Binghamton will host Utica on Saturday in between the home and home series; 43 different players, including 4 goaltenders, have made at least one appearance this season in a B-Sens sweater.

Listen: AHL Live, US 96.9 FM

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @BSens_Hockey

Saturday, 4/2 vs. Springfield

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 5:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 3-2.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 23-35-3-5, 54 points, .409 pct, 8th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Greg Carey, 40 points (25 G, 15 A); Craig Cunningham, 37 points (18 G, 19 A); Philip Samuelsson, 31 points (4 G, 27 A); Niklas Treutle, 11-16-5, 2.91 GAA; Marek Langhamer, 6-8-2, 3.80 GAA

Notes: The Falcons are the first Eastern Conference team to officially be eliminated from Calder Cup playoff consideration; they have lost their last six, getting outscored 27-10 during that span; Springfield is halfway through a six game road swing that started in Albany last Tuesday, they go to Wilkes-Barre and Utica before returning to the Capital District; defenseman Alex Grant was recalled by Arizona over the weekend.

Listen: AHL Live, WHYN 560 AM

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheFalconsAHL, @KatyLovesHockey

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Week 25 Recap: Waiting to Dance

Inching ever closer to that playoff spot, but with half the regulars available that became a daunting task for the boys in red this week as they had one more home matchup before a crucial road trip.  And with just three of six points earned, the team is knocking on the proverbial door, ready to jump into the Calder Cup party.

3/22 vs. Springfield: 4-1 W

The week began with a rare Tuesday night matchup at home against the Falcons…and for the second straight game Albany had to go with an 11/7 lineup, with all healthy hands on deck.  After a scoreless first that saw the Devils hold the visitors to just two shots on goal, the offense would come up big in the second.  Just 59 seconds into the period, Brandon Burlon would score his 4th of the season for a 1-0 Devil lead.  Ben Johnson would add his first Albany goal of the season shorthanded midway through the second, then Jim O’Brien would extend his point streak to seven with his 16th goal later for a 3-0 advantage.  Matt Lorito would add his 16th goal just 42 seconds into the third for a 4-0 lead, chasing Falcons starter Marek Langhamer in favor of Niklas Treutle.  Yann Danis appeared to be well on his way to his seventh shutout of the season…until Tyler Gaudet scored with 1:19 to go in regulation.  Danis barely broke a sweat in his first appearance since swapping places with Scott Wedgewood in New Jersey, stopping 17 of 18 Falcon shots in winning his 26th.  Brian O’Neill, just back from emergency recall, and Paul Thompson picked up two assists apiece.  Four others, including Gunnar Hughes in his AHL debut, had one assist each.  The win lowered the Devils magic number to clinch to 5.

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Brian O’Neill-Paul Thompson

Blake Pietila-Jim O’Brien-Max Novak

Pierre-Luc Leblond-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Gunnar Hughes/Ben Johnson

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Paul Geiger/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Joe Faust

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Dan Kelly, Blake Coleman, Chris McKelvie, Graham Black, Ryan Kujawinski, Nick Lappin

Power Play: 0 for 1.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 13.  Shots on Goal: 31.  Shots Allowed: 18.

Highlights:

Wednesday: New Jersey came calling again after an injury to Tyler Kennedy in Sunday’s win against Columbus.  But this call was what I would call a curveball, a plot twist if you will: instead of bringing Brian O’Neill or maybe Jim O’Brien back up, they chose to bring up Blake Pietila, making him the fourth A-Devil this season getting his first callup.

Thursday: Down to 10 healthy forwards going into the road trip, the Devils would dip into the ECHL pool…but instead of Adirondack, they chose to go to Reading, signing Justin Crandall to a PTO.  In 49 games this season with the Royals, the Minnesota native has 51 points (15 G, 36 A).  He also had a 7 game stint with Chicago in late February/early March, picking up a goal and an assist.

Friday: Suddenly missing two defensemen and needing more skaters, it was back to pillaging the Thunder roster, bringing back Alex Carrier for the second time this season and signing defenseman Mathieu Brodeur to a PTO (oh the irony of having a non-goalie Devil with that last name).  In 64 games with Adirondack, Brodeur has 8 goals and 18 assists.  He does have AHL experience, having spent three seasons with Portland and one with Chicago.

3/25 at Syracuse: 3-1 L

The brief road trip started in Syracuse, as Albany looked to extend its 6 game winning streak against the Crunch this season.  With a patchwork lineup in place, the Devils found themselves in a hole midway through the first period, as Dylan Blujus would give the hosts a 1-0 lead 8:41 into the contest.  But Ben Johnson would pick up his second goal in as many games shortly thereafter to tie things up.  But barely two minutes after that, Ryan Martindale’s 3rd would put the Crunch ahead by a goal.  It remained a 2-1 game till early in the third, when Jonathan Drouin would play Devil killer once again and score his 8th (and 3rd in 2 games against Albany) to give Syracuse an insurance goal.  The Devils outshot the Crunch 30-20, but were unable to get any offense going against Kristers Gudlevskis.  Yann Danis would stop 17 of 20 in the loss.  The only other Devil to pick up a point?  Justin Crandall, one of the PTOs making his Albany debut.

The Lineup:

Paul Thompson-Matt Lorito-Brian O’Neill

Max Novak-Jim O’Brien-Ben Thomson

Ben Johnson-Graham Black-Justin Crandall

Gunnar Hughes-Rod Pelley-Alex Carrier

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Paul Geiger/Corbin McPherson

Mathieu Brodeur/Joe Faust

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Dan Kelly, Brandon Burlon, Blake Coleman, Chris McKelvie, Nick Lappin, Raman Hrabarenka, Ryan Kujawinski, Pierre-Luc Leblond

Power Play: 0 for 2.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 6.  Shots on Goal: 30.  Shots Allowed: 20.

Highlights:

3/26 at Hershey: 3-2 L (SO)

With Rochester losing in regulation the night before, all that stood between Albany and a playoff berth was one more loss by the Amerks and a win over the Bears, in a building that has not been kind to any Albany team in recent years.  Just like the night before, the visitors found themselves in a 1-0 hole halfway through the opening period on a Travis Boyd goal.  Corbin McPherson would tie things up early in the second period with just his second goal of the season.  Then in a span of 38 seconds, Hershey would retake the lead off a Riley Barber tally, then Jim O’Brien would re-tie the game with his 17th.  After a lot of back and forth play during the third and into overtime, it was on to a shootout.  Matt Lorito and O’Brien would miss in their respective rounds, while Ken Appleby allowed Jakub Vrana to score.  Brian O’Neill would just get one past Dan Ellis to extend it, but Appleby would allow a goal to Barber in the 5th round.  Paul Thompson and Ben Johnson were unable to score, giving Hershey the extra point and forcing the Devils to wait until next week to officially get in the playoffs.  Appleby stopped 21 of 23 during the first 65 minutes of the contest.  Four different Devils added assists, including the first professional point for Paul Geiger.

The Lineup:

Paul Thompson-Jim O’Brien-Ben Johnson

Justin Crandall-Matt Lorito-Brian O’Neill

Ben Thomson-Max Novak-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Gunnar Hughes-Graham Black-Alex Carrier

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Paul Geiger/Corbin McPherson

Mathieu Brodeur/Joe Faust

Ken Appleby/Yann Danis

Out: Brandon Burlon, Dan Kelly, Rod Pelley, Chris McKelvie, Ryan Kujawinski, Nick Lappin, Raman Hrabarenka

Power Play: 0 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 28.  Shots Allowed: 24.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

There was only one player who factored in all three games this week…he may not have seen much playing time until now, but Ben Johnson is taking advantage of getting regular minutes in the lineup.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Jim O’Brien (17)

Assists: Matt Lorito (35)

Points: Matt Lorito (51)

+/-: Matt Lorito (+12)

Penalty Minutes: Pierre-Luc Leblond (104)

Wins: Yann Danis (26)

GAA: Yann Danis (2.27)

Save Percentage: Yann Danis (.907)

The Vault:

Since there are so many new faces…how about getting to know one of them?  The newest Brodeur talks about music back in October…

Up North with the Thunder:

Hey, since we’re pillaging their roster, how well are Adirondack faring without half of their lineup?  They are in the middle of a playoff push of their own, holding down the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference.  And, well, being shut out in both home games this week did not help their cause at all.  Tuesday they dropped a 2-0 final to Kalamazoo, then former Albany PTO Doug Carr, now with Manchester, white washed them 3-0 on Saturday.  A 3 in 3 home weekend is on the agenda this week, as they host Norfolk on Friday, followed by a two game set against Brampton on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.  Fun fact: 5 of their last 6 regular season games are on home ice.

This Week’s Schedule:

It’s going to be a very busy week as the calendar turns over to April.  Tuesday night the Devils host Hartford with a chance to clinch.  Then it’s a 3 in 3 to start the month of April: on Friday they head west on Interstate 88 to Binghamton to take on the Senators.  Then it’s back home on Saturday afternoon to face Springfield.  Finally on Sunday afternoon, the Senators come in for a visit.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Weekly Primer, Issue 25

Quick Hits:

-The Devils begin the week with a record of 38-16-8-1, 85 points, and a .675 point percentage.  They remain stuck in second place in the North Division, 12 points behind first place Toronto and 13 points ahead of third place Utica.

-Playoff update: the magic number for Albany to clinch a spot is now down to 7.  If everything goes according to plan, they can clinch by the end of the week, becoming the second AHL team to punch their playoff ticket, joining the Marlies, who clinched on Saturday.  If the playoffs began today, Utica would be the first round opponent.

-The number of callups in New Jersey decreased to six on Monday, as Brian O’Neill was returned after not suiting up for either game over the weekend.  But with two forwards out due to injury/illness, Gunnar Hughes was summoned from Adirondack on a PTO.  He started the year in Albany’s training camp before signing with the Thunder.  In 58 games he has 20 points (11 G, 9 A).

Tuesday, 3/22 vs. Springfield

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Tied at 2.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 23-32-3-5, 54 points, .429 pct, 8th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Alex Grant, 40 points (11 G, 29 A); Greg Carey, 39 points (25 G, 14 A); Craig Cunningham, 36 points (18 G, 18 A); Niklas Treutle, 11-15-5, 2.93 GAA; Marek Langhamer, 6-6-2, 3.46 GAA

Notes: The Falcons have won 3 of their last 10 (3-6-0-1); defenseman Philip Samuelsson was sent down by Arizona on Monday; this is the start of a 7 game road swing for Springfield, with stops in Portland (for 2), Wilkes-Barre, Utica, back to Albany, and then on to Bridgeport; since the last matchup nearly a month ago, the Falcons lost their leading scorer Dustin Jeffrey in a trade with the Penguins, receiving forward Matia Marcantuoni.

Listen: AHL Live, WHYN 560 AM

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheFalconsAHL, @KatyLovesHockey

Friday, 3/25 @ Syracuse

Where: Onondaga County War Memorial, Syracuse, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 4-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 27-25-10-3, 67 points, .515 pct, 5th place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Tanner Richard, 48 points (10 G, 38 A); Jeff Tambellini, 42 points (24 G, 18 A); Anthony DeAngelo, 41 points (6 G, 35 A); Kristers Gudlevskis, 11-10-6, 2.99 GAA; Adam Wilcox, 9-10-6, 3.27 GAA

Notes: The Crunch begin the week winners of two straight after sweeping St. John’s on home ice last weekend; they will play 7 of their final 11 games on home ice, with three trips east to Utica and one trip to Lehigh Valley mixed in; former River Rat and captain Mike Angelidis is done for the season due to injury; since returning to the Crunch on March 11th, Jonathan Drouin has 5 goals in 6 games.

Listen: AHL Live, ESPN Radio Syracuse

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @SyracuseCrunch, @syrhockey, @Allovimo, @CrunchSyracuse

Saturday, 3/26 @ Hershey

Where: Giant Center, Hershey, PA.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 1-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 35-18-4-7, 81 points, .633 pct, 2nd place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Chris Bourque, 68 points (26 G, 42 A); Riley Barber, 47 points (22 G, 25 A); Travis Boyd, 45 points (18 G, 27 A); Dan Ellis, 22-9-4, 2.34 GAA; Justin Peters, 13-8-7, 3.21 GAA

Notes: The Bears are coming off a home and home sweep against Wilkes-Barre over the weekend, pushing them out of the division lead; they travel to Lehigh Valley and Utica this week before coming home on Saturday; forward Chris Bourque continues to lead the league in scoring, sitting 5 points ahead of T.J. Brennan and Seth Griffith; since the last time the two teams faced each other, Scott Gomez moved on to Ottawa after picking up 24 points in 18 games, and Washington acquired the other Bourque, Ryan, from the Rangers.

Listen: AHL Live, Fox Sports 1460

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheHersheyBears, @ChocHockey, @ScottStuccio

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Weekly Primer, Issue 24

Quick Hits:

-The Devils begin the week with a 37-15-8-0 mark, 82 points and a .683 points percentage.  They remain in second place in the North Division, now just 11 points behind first place Toronto (with three less games played) and 12 points ahead of third place Utica.  Their magic number to clinch a playoff berth is now down to 14 after Sunday’s action.

-Injury update: Brian O’Neill (lower) and Paul Thompson (upper) both returned to practice this week.  Dan Kelly (knee) is out indefinitely.

Wednesday, 3/16 vs. Providence

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 3-2.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 30-19-9-3, 72 points, .590 pct, 3rd place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Seth Griffith, 63 points (20 G, 43 A); Alexander Khokhlachev, 51 points (18 G, 33 A); Frank Vatrano, 46 points (31 G, 15 A); Jeremy Smith, 10-17-4, 2.76 GAA; Zane McIntyre, 11-7-6, 2.85 GAA

Notes: The Bruins begin a 7 game road trip tonight, not returning to the Dunk until April 2nd; Providence saw a 23 game point streak end on Sunday after with a 5-3 loss to Utica; rookie Frank Vatrano, who has surpassed Mike Sislo for the AHL goal scoring lead with 31, was recalled by Boston on Monday, only to be sent back on Wednesday; Seth Griffith leads the AHL in assists (43) and is 3 points behind Hershey’s Chris Bourque for the overall scoring lead; Zac Rinaldo is expected to return to the lineup after serving a 5 game suspension; the Bruins are #1 in the league in overall power play (21.8%).

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @AHLBruins

Saturday, 3/19 @ Utica

Where: Utica Memorial Auditorium, Utica, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 5-2.

Know your Opponent:

Record: 31-21-5-3, 70 points, .583 pct, 3rd place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Jordan Subban, 32 points (10 G, 22 A); Carter Bancks, 29 points (9 G, 20 A); T.J. Hensick, 28 points (7 G, 21 A); Richard Bachman, 13-10-4, 2.65 GAA; Joe Cannata, 17-10-3, 2.52 GAA

Notes: 7 of Utica’s next 8 games are on home ice, with a quick trip to Binghamton March 26th the lone road game; they will host St. John’s on Friday and Binghamton on Sunday; the Comets broke a 2 game slide with a win in Providence on Sunday afternoon; with the loss Saturday in Albany, they broke an all time 76 game point streak (72-0-4-0) when leading after two periods; they also have yet to defeat Albany in regulation, with just two overtime wins all time, both coming back in January; Utica’s top two scorers, Brendan Gaunce and Alexandre Grenier, are both on recall to Vancouver.

Listen: AHL Live, K-ROCK 94.9

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @UticaComets, @CometsinGame

Sunday, 3/20 @ Bridgeport

Where: Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, CT.

When: 5:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 4-2.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 33-23-3-3, 72 points, .581 pct, 4th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Bracken Kearns, 51 points (22 G, 29 A); Alan Quine, 37 points (13 G, 24 A); Mike Halmo, 31 points (15 G, 16 A); Christopher Gibson, 17-11-6, 2.80 GAA; Stephon Williams, 10-9-0, 2.69 GAA

Notes: The Sound Tigers have won four of their last five games, moving them past Portland into an Atlantic Divisional playoff position; they swept Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a home and home series over the weekend; Bridgeport travels to Springfield on Wednesday and hosts Portland on Saturday; Bracken Kearns is tied for fifth in the league in scoring; Bridgeport ranks 29th in overall power play (11.8%), but 10th in overall penalty kill (84.4%).

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheSoundTigers, @fornabaioctp

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Week 21 Recap: Leaping into March

It was a near perfect ending to a very good month of February for the Devils.  They may not have made it to seven wins in a row again, but a 5 out of 6 point week is still a great springboard into the month of March…and a very tough road stretch.

2/24 vs. St. John’s: 4-3 W

Corbin McPherson

Corbin McPherson

The last home game for the month of February and until mid March came on Wednesday, as the IceCaps (and of course John Scott) made their final visit of the season to the Capital Region.  And the hosts got things started pretty quickly in the first period.  Corbin McPherson scored his first goal in over a year just 4:43 into the contest for a 1-0 Devil lead.  Paul Thompson would pick up his 10th later on for a two goal advantage.  Midway through the second, the first streak of the night was extended, as Mike Sislo would score in his 8th straight contest and pick up goal #26 for a 3-0 Devil lead.  St. John’s would make things very interesting to start off the third period, as Charles Hudon and Tim Bozon would score 30 seconds apart to suddenly make it a one goal contest.  But another first goal of the season–an empty-netter from Chris McKelvie–would ice it for the Devils.  Hudon would add his second with 3.1 seconds remaining, but it was too little too late, as for the third time this season the Devils would win their sixth straight.  Another win streak was also extended–Yann Danis would pick up his seventh straight win, a new franchise record.  He stopped 22 of 25 IceCap shots.  The top line of Sislo, Thompson, and Matt Lorito would combine for two goals and five assists, while Corey Tropp and Brian O’Neill would add helpers.

Reece Scarlett

Reece Scarlett

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Corey Tropp-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Max Novak-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Dan Kelly/Joe Faust

Marc-Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Raman Hrabarenka/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Brandon Burlon (illness), Blake Coleman, Scott Wedgewood, Vojtech Mozik, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Ben Johnson, Blake Pietila

Power Play: 0 for 1.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 20.  Shots Allowed: 25.

Highlights:

2/26 at Springfield: 4-3 L (OT)

Ken Appleby

Ken Appleby

On Friday, a six game road swing began due east, as the Devils made their final visit to Springfield to take on the Falcons.  Matt Lorito would pick up his 12th goal of the season late in the first off a steal for a 1-0 Devil lead.  But the hosts would tie it up…a Devil defender would turn it over, Ross Mauermann picked it up, and he was off to the races, scoring on a breakaway.  But Brian O’Neill would put the Devils back in the lead with a power play goal, his 7th of the season.  Reece Scarlett would follow up two minutes later with his third goal to make it 3-1.  At this point, you’re thinking this Albany team will take things over from here, right?  Well, not so fast.  On another Devil turnover, Dustin Jeffrey would pick it and score on Ken Appleby to cut the lead to 3-2.  In the third, the Falcons would be the team taking over, outshooting Albany 19-8, and then coming through against the #1 ranked penalty kill in the league.  Henrik Samuelsson’s goal with 7:41 left in regulation would tie the game up at 3 apiece.  Lorito would take a penalty late in the third, putting both teams in a 4 on 4 situation in overtime.  And another breakaway would end up sealing the Devils fate…Eric Selleck, for the second time this season, would score the game winner in the extra frame against Albany, completing the Falcon comeback and halting another six game win streak for Albany.  Appleby would stop 35 of 39 in the loss.  Mike Sislo’s goal streak was stopped at 8, but his lone assist would extend his current point streak to 9 games.  Three other Devils would add helpers.

Brian O'Neill

Brian O’Neill

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Corey Tropp-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Max Novak-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Marc-Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Ken Appleby/Yann Danis

Out: Scott Wedgewood, Blake Coleman, Vojtech Mozik, Blake Pietila, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Joe Faust, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 6.  Shots on Goal: 28.  Shots Allowed: 39.

Highlights:

Saturday: It may have been a rare day off on the schedule, but there was some news.  Seth Helgeson was sent down, and joining him on a conditioning assignment?  Stefan Matteau, who hasn’t seen any game action for New Jersey since mid January and was just getting over a facial injury suffered during practice last week.

2/28 at Bridgeport: 4-1 W

To finish off a successful February, it was back to Bridgeport for the second straight Sunday to take on the Sound Tigers.  First period was all Devils, as they scored twice and outshot their hosts 12-3.  Graham Black would start the scoring 5:54 in with his 5th goal of the season.  Rod Pelley would double the lead later on with his 6th.  The Sound Tigers would cut the lead in half 57 seconds into the second period, just one second before a Devil penalty expired.  Third period Albany would take over and not look back.  On just their second power play chance of the day, Paul Thompson would pick up his 11th goal to restore the two goal advantage.  Just under three minutes later, on another power play, Raman Hrabarenka scored his third for a 4-1 lead, sealing the Devils a win to close February, extending their point streak to 8 games, and finishing the month 9-1-1-0.  Yann Danis only needed to stop 16 of 17 shots to pick up win #25, his 8th straight win.  Marc Andre Gragnani added two assists, and with an assist on Hrabarenka’s goal Mike Sislo would extend his point streak to 10 games.  Thompson and three others would also have assists.

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Brian O’Neill

Paul Thompson-Jim O’Brien-Stefan Matteau

Corey Tropp-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Max Novak-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Marc-Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Scott Wedgewood, Blake Coleman, Chris McKelvie, Blake Pietila, Brandon Burlon, Vojtech Mozik, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Joe Faust, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 2 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 16.  Shots on Goal: 27.  Shots Allowed: 17.

Highlights:

As of press time…no video has surfaced.  Stay tuned…

My Player of the Week:

Or, who else other than Mike Sislo?  Other than him, Brian O’Neill was the only other Devil to appear on the scoresheet in all three games.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (26)

Assists: Matt Lorito (31)

Points: Mike Sislo (50)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+22)

Penalty Minutes: Pierre-Luc Leblond (96)

Wins: Yann Danis (25)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.67)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.932)

The Vault:

We’re going back 5 years, back to when Raman Hrabarenka was just starting out in North America…and the video quality is just meh.

Up North with the Thunder:

It was a split week for Adirondack, as they went 1-1-0-1.  Wednesday they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Monarchs in New Hampshire.  They then returned home and split a two game set with Reading, losing 5-4 in a shootout on Saturday and winning 3-1 on Sunday.  Greg Wolfe returned to the lineup on Saturday, but broke out Sunday afternoon with 1 goal and 2 assists.  Alexandre Carrier remains out with an ankle injury.  The Thunder hit the road for a 3 in 3 set down south, with two games against Norfolk Thursday and Friday before moving on to South Carolina on Saturday.

This Week’s Schedule:

The road trip heads over the border into Canada for the next three games.  Tuesday morning finds the Devils kicking off March in Toronto, with a schoolday game against the only team ahead of them in the standings, the Marlies.  Then it’s further north into St. John’s, as they finish off the season series with the IceCaps on Friday and Saturday.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Weekly Primer, Issue 21

Quick Hits:

-The Devils begin the last week of February with a record of 31-13-7-0, 69 points and a percentage of .676.  They remain stuck in second place in the North Division, 15 points behind first place Toronto and 11 ahead of third place Utica.

-Just to give you an idea of just how well the Devils have done to this point:

  1. Their .676 point percentage would be good for first place in the other 3 divisions.
  2. This year’s team is the fastest in franchise history to reach 30 wins, doing so in 50 games.  The 2013-14 edition reached 30 in 57 games.
  3. For the month of February their record is 7-1.  Last February? 2-8, with just road wins in Utica and Syracuse.

-Now live for all: the AHL Playoff Primer!  As of today, the magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 33.

-Injury update: Vojtech Mozik and Blake Pietila are out due to assorted injuries.  And Brandon Burlon is the latest victim of the team flu bug, he is out at least for tonight’s game.

Wednesday, 2/24 vs. St. John’s

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: St. John’s leads 4-1.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 23-21-7-3, 56 points, .519 pct, 5th place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Bud Holloway, 44 points (15 G, 29 A); Charles Hudon, 36 points (16 G, 20 A); 2 tied with 34 points; Zachary Fucale, 14-12-3, 2.98 GAA; Eddie Pasquale, 6-6-3, 2.88 GAA

Notes: The IceCaps are midway through a 6 game New York State road trip, their lone win a come from behind shootout victory over Syracuse on Wednesday; St. John’s dropped a pair to Binghamton over the weekend; NHL All Star MVP John Scott is back with the team, and scored his first goal on Friday, his only point in 9 appearances; leading scorer Bud Holloway is ranked in the top 10 in league scoring.

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @IceCapsAHL

Friday, 2/26 at Springfield

Where: Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 2-1.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 19-26-3-4, 45 points, .433 pct, 8th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Dustin Jeffrey, 42 points (12 G, 30 A); Greg Carey, 37 points (24 G, 13 A); Alex Grant, 32 points (9 G, 23 A); Marek Langhamer, 4-6-1, 3.72 GAA; Josh Robinson, 0-1-0, 6.11 GAA

Notes: The Falcons have dropped 3 out of their last 4, getting swept over the weekend by Lehigh Valley and Hartford; this game starts another 3 in 3, as they host Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday then travel to Portland on Sunday; 36 different players, including 5 goaltenders, have seen game action for Springfield this season; forward Greg Carey has 8 goals in 8 games during the month of February and sits one behind Mike Sislo for the league lead.

Listen: AHL Live, WHYN 560 AM

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheFalconsAHL, @KatyLovesHockey

Sunday, 2/28 at Bridgeport

Where: Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, CT.

When: 5:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 3-2.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 28-20-3-2, 61 points, .575 pct, 5th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Bracken Kearns, 42 points (19 G, 23 A); Joe Whitney, 33 points (14 G, 19 A); Taylor Beck, 31 points (16 G, 15 A); Christopher Gibson, 15-9-5, 2.68 GAA; Stephon Williams, 7-8-0, 2.82 GAA

Notes: Bridgeport snapped a 11 game point streak (9-0-1-1) with the loss to Albany on Sunday afternoon; this is the third game of a 3 in 3 weekend, they take on Providence in a home and home series starting Friday; if the playoffs started today, the Sound Tigers would cross over into the North Division and clinch the fourth playoff spot, facing Toronto in the first round.

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheSoundTigers, @fornabaioctp

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized