Tag Archives: Roster Moves

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 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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Week 12 in Review: Almost Perfect New Year

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

12/26 vs. Providence: 4-2 L

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

Lines:

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Petr Straka

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Jan Mandat-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-

Defense:

Reece Scarlett/Yohann Auvitu

Karl Stollery/Steve Santini

Andrew MacWilliam/Vojtech Mozik

Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

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

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

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

Highlight Reel:

12/30 vs. Toronto: 4-2 W

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

Lines:

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Jan Mandat-Blake Coleman-Brian Gibbons

Blake Pietila-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Brian Ward

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Steve Santini

Andrew MacWilliam/Vojtech Mozik

Karl Stollery/Reece Scarlett

Mackenzie Blackwood/Ken Appleby

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

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

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

Highlight Reel:

12/31 at Hartford: 3-1 W

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

Lines:

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Jan Mandat-Blake Coleman-Brian Gibbons

Blake Pietila-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Brian Ward

Defense:

Karl Stollery/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

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

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

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

Highlight Reel:

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

1/1 vs. Bridgeport: 3-2 W

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

Lines:

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Blake Pietila-Blake Coleman-Brian Gibbons

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Brian Ward

Defense:

Karl Stollery/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Andrew MacWilliam/Josh Jacobs

Mackenzie Blackwood/Ken Appleby

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

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

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

Highlight Reel:

My Player of the Week:

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

Team Leaders:

Goals: Blake Pietila (12)

Assists: John Quenneville (16)

Points: John Quenneville (26)

+/-: Blake Coleman (+14)

Penalty Minutes: Ben Thomson (52)

Wins: Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood (7)

GAA: Ken Appleby (1.83)

Save Percentage: Ken Appleby (.929)

Up North with the Thunder:

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

This Week’s Schedule:

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

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Week 11 in Review: Pre-Holiday Bash

Only one game on the schedule this week before the Devils got a much deserved break for Christmas and…let’s just say the extra point is good!

12/21 vs. Binghamton: 7-1 W

Back in the Capital Region to kick off a three game homestand, the Devils would welcome in the Senators for the third time in a span of 17 days.  Albany would find themselves in a bit of a situation just 3:58 into the contest, after Ben Thomson was given the early exit after a kneeing major along the boards.  The Devils were able to kill off the ensuing 5 minute penalty (after a 4 for 4 for the first 2:00), but found themselves in a 1-0 hole after a goal by Jack Rodewald.  Less than three minutes later, Kevin Rooney’s seventh goal of the season would tie things up at 1.  Rod Pelley would add his sixth late in the first to put Albany ahead 2-1…and everything just went up from there.  In the second, Petr Straka would pick up his second 7:35 in for a 3-1 advantage, a goal that would chase Binghamton goaltender Chris Driedger out of the net in favor of Scott Greenham.  Brian Gibbons would welcome him to the game by adding a power play marker for a commanding 4-1 lead.  In the third…the floodgates opened and the rout was on.  First, Jan Mandat would score his third goal of the season less than two minutes in.  Then Blake Coleman, who has been on a tear as of late, would score twice in a 3:54 span.  The benefactor of all this offense?  Ken Appleby, who only had to stop 18 of 19 shots in picking up his team leading 6th win.  Carter Camper would finally return to the lineup for the first time in nearly two months and had two shots.  Eleven different skaters would register at least one point, with Coleman (2 G, 1 A) and Mandat (1 G, 2 A) leading the way.  It was the biggest offensive output of the season, and the most goals scored by a Devil team since February 27, 2015, when they put up 7 against Syracuse.

Lines:

John Quenneville-Carter Camper-Ben Sexton

Blake Pietila-Blake Coleman-Brian Gibbons

Jan Mandat-Kevin Rooney-Petr Straka

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Max Novak

Defense:

Steve Santini/Reece Scarlett

Vojtech Mozik/Yohann Auvitu

Josh Jacobs/Karl Stollery

Ken Appleby/Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratches: Seth Helgeson, Andrew MacWilliam, Joe Blandisi, Ryan Kujawinski, Scott Wedgewood, Brandon Gormley

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 29.  Shots on Goal: 25.  Shots Allowed: 19.

3 Stars: 1. Blake Coleman; 2. Jan Mandat; 3. Brian Gibbons

Highlight Reel:

Thursday: You may have noticed Seth Helgeson was scratched for Wednesday night’s game.  Well, he had a good reason why: he was recalled to New Jersey on Thursday and suited up for the parent Devils’ 4-0 win at The Rock over the Flyers.  And…he was quite busy:

My Player of the Week:

We have a repeat winner this week!  You cannot help but notice Blake Coleman’s progress as this season has gone on.  Still considered a rookie per the AHL, he has recently broke into the league top 10 in rookie scoring (tied for 8th at press time).

Team Leaders:

Goals: Blake Pietila (10)

Assists: John Quenneville (15)

Points: John Quenneville (23)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik/Blake Coleman (+13)

Penalty Minutes: Ben Thomson (52)

Wins: Ken Appleby (6)

GAA: Ken Appleby (1.78)

Save Percentage: Ken Appleby (.929)

Up North With the Thunder:

Before Adirondack went on their holiday break, they first had to hit the road for a pair of games against Elmira and Reading.  On Thursday night in western New York, the Thunder would take a 3-0 lead in the first period, only to have the Jackals rally to tie the game late in the third.  But with just :04 left in overtime, Greg Wolfe would pick up the game winner and Adirondack escaped with a 4-3 win.  Wolfe and Patch Alber each had two assists.  Friday night in Pennsylvania, the Thunder would drop a 5-2 decision to the Royals.  Wolfe and Alex Wall had assists.  After an 8 day layoff, the Thunder will ring in the New Year at home, hosting Reading.

This Week’s Schedule:

Once the Devils get back from Christmas, it’s going to be a busy week heading into the start of 2017.  First, a Monday night day after Christmas matchup against Providence.  Then Toronto pays their last visit of the regular season on Friday evening.  Saturday, the Devils will finish the 2016 portion of the schedule in Connecticut, as they take on Hartford.  Finally on Sunday, it’s back on home ice for a special New Year’s Day game against Bridgeport.

Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas!  Or whichever holiday you choose to celebrate.

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

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

11/11 vs. Hershey: 6-3 W

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

Lines:

John Quenneville-Brian Gibbons-Ben Sexton

Miles Wood-Blake Pietila-Joe Blandisi

Ben Thomson-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Blake Coleman-Rod Pelley-Ryan Kujawinski

Defense:

Andrew MacWilliam/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Karl Stollery/Steve Santini

Scott Wedgewood/Mackenzie Blackwood

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

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

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

Highlight Reel:

11/12 vs. St. John’s: 4-3 W

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

Lines:

John Quenneville-Brian Gibbons-Ben Sexton

Joe Blandisi-Blake Pietila-Miles Wood

Max Novak-Kevin Rooney-Ben Thomson

Ryan Kujawinski-Rod Pelley-Jan Mandat

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Karl Stollery/Steve Santini

Andrew MacWilliam/Reece Scarlett

Mackenzie Blackwood/Scott Wedgewood

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

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

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

Highlight Reel:

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

My Player of the Week:

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

Team Leaders:

Goals: Blake Pietila (6)

Assists: 2 tied with 5

Points: Blake Pietila (11)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+8)

Penalty Minutes: Joe Blandisi (36)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (4)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (2.44)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.905)

Up North with the Thunder:

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

This Week’s Schedule:

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

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Before the Games Begin

A few last pieces of business to take care of before we get underway for real tomorrow night:

-For 24 hours starting Monday afternoon, most of Albany and New Jersey held their collective breath as Scott Wedgewood was placed on waivers.  Despite a flurry of activity on Tuesday involving the waiver wire (including New Jersey picking up P.A. Parenteau), he managed to clear and was reassigned to Albany.

-Just as Wedgewood cleared, Seth Helgeson took a turn through the waiver wire and cleared on Wednesday afternoon.  He was reassigned to Albany to make room for Kyle Quincey’s return from IR.

-Patch Alber and Mathieu Brodeur were both released from their PTOs Thursday.  Both will return to Adirondack.

AHL teams have until midnight tonight to submit their Opening Day rosters to the league.  As of press time, none have been posted.

Now…how will I be covering things this season?  Here’s what to expect starting tomorrow:

First of all…I’m going back to daily previews!  I’ll be returning to the three hours beforehand schedule.  Plan is for opponent stats, notes, maybe some pertinent links.

Weekly recaps will still be around, either on Sunday or Monday morning depending on the schedule.

I also plan on getting back into game photos (admittedly I slacked on that last season), and all photos will be over on my Flickr page.  I’ll post links on social media as often as needed.

 

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