Weekend Roundup 10/9

The calm before the Thunder in Glens Falls.

Well…I made it through my first weekend post-Albany hockey.

But anyway…let’s review how things went around the state as the AHL got underway for real, and the ECHL preseason got started.

We’ll begin up north, where…it wasn’t the greatest of tuneups for the Thunder.  On Friday night in Glens Falls, they dropped a 6-2 decision to Reading.  Despite outshooting the Royals 15-2 in the first 20 minutes, the Thunder found themselves down 1-0 as the first shot Ken Appleby faced, which didn’t come till 6 minutes into the contest, went into the net courtesy of Chris McCarthy.  Austin Orszulak would tie the game up with a power play goal midway through the period.  The second period would get off to a nightmarish start for the Thunder special teams–Matt Wilkins would score twice shorthanded in a :35 span off of turnovers to put the Royals up 3-1.  J.C. Campagna would cut the lead to 3-2 with a power play goal midway through the middle period, but Reading’s Matt Schmidt would put the game out of reach with two goals in 1:55 for a 5-2 lead.  McCarthy would add his second of the night early in the third for the final 6-2 margin.  Appleby did not have a very good evening in his first official game action since April, only stopping 14 of 20 shots.  Three Thunder players would have one assist each.  And of note from Reading: Nolan Zajac, the last of the brothers, had two assists.  (Achievement unlocked: seeing all 4 Zajac brothers in at least one game)

Sunday, the Thunder traveled to Pennsylvania looking to rebound from Friday’s loss.  The Royals would again jump ahead early, as Adam Schmidt scored his third of the weekend for a 1-0 lead.  Reading would double the lead midway through the second on a K.J. Tiefenwerth goal.  But the Thunder would cut the lead in half with another power play goal, this time off the stick of Desmond Bergin.  The Royals would seal the 3-1 win late in the third with a Matt Wilkins goal.  Nick Riopel drew the starting assignment for the Thunder, stopping 23 of 26 shots.

Roster-wise, Adirondack received a third player from Tampa/Syracuse, as forward Troy Bourke was reassigned to the Thunder after appearing in the Crunch’s 3-2 overtime loss to Rochester on Saturday.

On Monday, the Thunder acquired defenseman Nick Trecapelli from Brampton for future considerations.  He is about to begin his second pro season after playing collegiately for the University of Guelph.  In a combined 41 games with Wichita and Atlanta last season, Trecapelli had 4 goals and 10 assists.  He does have some AHL experience, appearing in 7 games with the Binghamton Senators in 2015-16, going scoreless.  Also, three players were released from their tryouts: Jack Ceglarski, Evan Neugold, and Mark Petaccio.

The Thunder will kick off the regular season on Saturday night at home against Brampton, my designated Game of the Week for this week.

And now off to Syracuse…

Banner raising time!

I chose the Crunch home opener against Rochester as my first AHL game of the season.  It was a way to see 2 teams that I’m covering at the same time, I got to see two of my favorite former River Rats play live for the first time in years…and of everyone who reached out to me when I discovered I was about to become hockey homeless, the fanbase that knew me in the Salt City were the most supportive.  So to me, it was like saying thank you for everything.  (And I’m also not ready to set foot in Binghamton just yet.  That time will eventually come.)

Pregame ceremonies had a mix of everything…all players suited up escorted a local veteran onto the ice and lined up along the blue line, a hilarious lipsynced opening video (after last year’s collection what else would you expect?), then finally the division and conference championship banners were raised to the rafters of the War Memorial.

The Crunch and Amerks were finishing off an opening weekend home and home series, which started with a 3-1 Rochester win on Friday night.  In Saturday’s rematch, the Amerks were first on the board with the first shot ever faced by Crunch rookie goaltender Connor Ingram, a power play goal by C.J. Smith 10:33 into the first.  Cory Conacher would tie it up just under six minutes later with his first goal of the season.  Early in the second, Kyle Criscuolo would score his first to put Rochester back up by 1.  The lead would remain until 8:09 of the third, when Kevin Lynch’s first goal would tie the game up at 2.  The game would get to overtime, but it didn’t last very long…Kevin Porter would score 39 seconds after puck drop, giving Rochester the weekend sweep and dropping the Crunch to 0-1-1-0 to start the year.  Former Crunch goaltender Adam Wilcox picked up the win in net, stopping 24 of 26 shots.  Ingram stopped 15 of 18 Amerk shots, and even had a tripping penalty to boot.

Rochester has only one game on the schedule this week, hosting the Comets on Friday.  Syracuse has a 3 in 3 weekend: they host Belleville on Friday and Utica on Saturday, then head down Interstate 81 on Sunday for a matchup with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

As for the other two NY teams…

In the Southern Tier, it was a successful beginning to the Devils new life, as Binghamton defeated Bridgeport 2-1 on Saturday.  And All About the Jersey was there to cover it all.  I must say, my successors (Jeff and Alicia) are doing amazing work…happy to see I left things in good hands!  The B-Devils will head north to Laval this weekend for a pair of games against the Rocket.

Utica started a month long road trip in Toronto, and dropped both games to the Marlies, 3-1 on Saturday and 4-3 on Sunday.  Reid Boucher lead all Comet skaters with 3 points on the weekend.  Utica will head west on the Thruway this weekend: Rochester on Friday, Syracuse on Saturday.

 

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Up North with the Thunder 10/4

Two days to go before Adirondack kicks off their preseason schedule!  And camp has been busy since Monday:

-Binghamton released all four Thunder invites on Monday from their camp–defensemen Desmond Bergin and Tim Boyle, and forwards Pierre-Luc Mercier and Tim Harrison.  Also, goaltender Ken Appleby was officially reassigned to Adirondack earlier this afternoon.

-Syracuse sent their second player to the Thunder, and it’s a familiar name around Glens Falls…forward Ty Loney returns for his second go around with Adirondack.  He began last season with the Thunder, scoring 18 goals and assisting on 22 others in 36 games.  He also had a 4 game stint with Albany, picking up one assist, then would spend a majority of the second half of the season with Chicago.  In 20 games with the Wolves, he scored 4 goals and had 5 assists, earning an AHL contract in the process.  He also had three points in 8 Calder Cup playoff games as Chicago got as far as the second round, before bowing out to eventual champion Grand Rapids in 5 games.

-While players are coming down to Adirondack, one is already going up: defenseman Mathieu Brodeur has signed a professional tryout agreement with the Springfield Thunderbirds.

-Finally, a very cool promotion that you will see leaguewide this season:

The ECHL and Marvel have struck a deal that will bring to all 27 teams a Marvel Superhero Night this season.  The promotions will feature specialty jerseys, merchandise, character appearances, and more.  Adirondack’s designated Super Hero Night falls on their lone home appearance in November, Saturday the 25th, when they host Reading.

Up North with the Thunder 10/1

Lots of news out of Glens Falls as the Thunder prepares to open training camp tomorrow:

Five players have been invited to training camp:

Caleb Cameron: 24-year-old forward attending his first professional camp after four years at R.I.T.

Jack Ceglarski: forward who made his pro debut with the Indy Fuel after finishing his senior year at SUNY Geneseo, appearing in 5 games and going scoreless.

Evan Neugold: center who is entering his second pro season after splitting last season in the SPHL with Columbus and Knoxville.

Nick Niedert: veteran journeyman goaltender who spent last season with Danbury in the FHL.  Since turning pro in 2004, he has played with 25 different teams in 8 different leagues. (If I counted right.  There were a few repeats on his resume.)

Mark Petaccio: second year pro forward who spent last season with four different teams after playing one year collegiately in Canada.

The first official player assignment came Sunday, as goaltender Nic Riopel was reassigned by Tampa Bay to the Thunder.  Riopel is under an AHL contract with Syracuse, and will be entering his second season as the official #3 goaltender on the Crunch depth chart.  The 28-year-old is no stranger to Glens Falls–he started his pro career with the Adirondack Phantoms in the 2009-10 season, making 10 appearances in net and going 4-6-0 with a 3.35 GAA and .893 save percentage.  The former Flyer 5th rounder would appear in 11 games for the Phantoms in 2010-11, but spent a majority of the season in ECHL Greenville.  After spending two seasons overseas, he returned to North America with Norfolk and Rapid City in 2015-16 before spending all of last season with Kalamazoo.  In 32 games for the Wings Riopel went 18-12-1 with a 3.13 GAA and .899 save percentage.

Four Thunder players–Tim Boyle, Pierre-Luc Mercier, Desmond Bergin, and Tim Harrison–are currently in Binghamton’s training camp.  Terrence Wallin was briefly at Crunch camp, but was released before Syracuse began their preseason slate.

For those who missed it…I have made a few guest appearances over on Raw Charge, the Tampa Bay SB Nation blog, educating Tampa/Syracuse fans about their unofficial affiliation:

-Back in August, a brief history of hockey in Glens Falls;

-Over the weekend, a two part series on the Thunder forwards and defensemen.

Finally, a sad note…

Just 15 days after he was honored by having the Cool Insuring Arena press box named for him, Dave Strader lost his battle with cancer earlier today.  A native of Glens Falls, Strader was the original voice of the Adirondack Red Wings in the late 1970s/early 1980s, then later would announce games for several NHL teams before joining NBC.  He was most recently the voice of the Dallas Stars before his diagnosis.

 

Camping Updates 9/27

Following up on Sunday’s updates:

Syracuse and Utica both released their full camp rosters on Tuesday afternoon, with some interesting additions to both:

-The Crunch have invited veteran forward Jason Akeson to camp on a tryout, and also signed former Thunder forward Ty Loney and winger Troy Bourke to AHL contracts.  Thunder signee Terrence Wallin is in camp on an invite as well.

-Utica received the services of former Devil Reid Boucher, who cleared waivers earlier in the day.

-Also in Utica: The Aud is getting an updated name as part of their renovations, The Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.  The first event after renovations are completed will be Utica College’s home opener in late October, with the Comets to follow on November 1st.

After a split Monday with Ottawa and the Islanders, New Jersey finally made their first round of cuts to Binghamton Tuesday afternoon:

-Ben Thomson, Scott Wedgewood, and Bracken Kearns were placed on–and later cleared–waivers, while Mackenzie Blackwood, Brandon Baddock, Nathan Bastian, Brandon Gignac, Ryan Kujawinski, Blake Pietila, Kevin Rooney, Blake Speers, Yaroslav Dyblenko, Josh Jacobs, Michael Kapla, and Colton White are en route to the Southern Tier.  First day of camp will be on Thursday, with game action 24 hours later against the Penguins, who start their preseason against Hershey at home tonight.

Rooney was recalled to New Jersey on Wednesday, and is in the lineup on the 4th line as the parent Devils face Washington in their final preseason tuneup.

Sunday Funday Update 9/24

AHL camps are opening for business!

I always looked forward to when New Jersey–and Carolina too–would make their first round of cuts.  That meant it was almost time for my hockey season to truly begin.

Sigh…but not this time around.

Anyway…the show goes on for the rest of the league.

Tampa Bay, Buffalo, and Vancouver have all made their first round of cuts to their respective affiliates:

To Syracuse: Connor Ingram, Michael Leighton, Mat Bodie, Matt Spencer, Alex Gallant, Carter Verhaeghe, Kevin Lynch, Reid McNeill, Shane Conacher.  Jamie McBain is currently on waivers and will join this group once he clears tomorrow at noon.

To Rochester: Eric Cornel, Vaclav Karabacek, Steve Moses, Kevin Porter, Brycen Martin, Casey Nelson, Devante Stephens, Jason Kasdorf, Jonas Johansson, Adam Wilcox, Kyle Criscuolo, Hudson Fasching, C.J. Smith, Brendan Guhle.

To Utica: Michael Carcone, Yan-Pavel Laplante, Evan McEneny, Zack MacEwen, Griffen Molino, Ashton Sautner, Jordan Subban, Alexis D’Aoust, Aaron Irving, Brett McKenzie, Carter Bancks, Wacey Hamilton, Jaime Sifers, Danny Moynihan, Anton Cederholm, Mackenze Stewart.

New Jersey has yet to make any assignments to Binghamton.  The Devils will have two split squad games on Monday, in Brooklyn against the Islanders and in PEI for the Kraft Hockeyville matchup with Ottawa.

As for the camps themselves:

Syracuse kicks off their camp on Tuesday afternoon at the War Memorial. The Crunch will start their preseason slate on Saturday afternoon in Rome against Utica, then host the Comets on Sunday, October 1st.

Rochester will start their camp Monday afternoon at the Blue Cross Arena. They will take on Toronto Friday night at RIT, followed by a rematch on Saturday at HarborCenter in Buffalo.

Utica’s camp will begin this week (no dates available at press time), with the home and home series against Syracuse their only two preseason games scheduled.

No official information on when Binghamton’s camp will open is available.  They too have two preseason tilts, a home and home series with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton starting Friday in Pennsylvania, then finishing Sunday afternoon in the Southern Tier.

Meanwhile, another player has joined the fold in Adirondack:

On Friday, the Thunder acquired the rights to defenseman Desmond Bergin from Quad City for the ever popular future considerations.  Bergin will be starting his second professional season after spending all of last year with Greenville.  In 60 games, the native of Natick, MA scored 7 goals and assisted on 19 others.  He was traded by the Swamp Rabbits to Quad City for Jack Nevins on August 14th.  Before turning pro, he played collegiately at Harvard and spent one season in the USHL.

Sunday Reading 9/17

How about some links for your Sunday as NHL training camps get rolling?

First, up north: an awesome tribute at Cool Insuring Arena on Saturday, as Dallas Stars broadcaster Dave Strader, who began his career as the original voice of the Adirondack Red Wings, was honored with the official renaming of the press box. (The Post Star) (WNYT) (Facebook)

A preview of the newest faces in Rochester, who look to have a resurgence after years of playoff futility. (Let’s Go Amerks)

Looking at prospects in Tampa’s training camp, including a few names you may see in Glens Falls. (Raw Charge)

A couple of A-Devils alumni were factors in New Jersey’s first scrimmage of camp on Saturday.  The Devils face Washington at home on Monday to start their preseason slate.  (Fire and Ice)

Former Comets coach Travis Green was a winner in his first NHL preseason game, as Vancouver defeated the Kings 4-3 in overtime.  The Canucks and Kings are off to Asia for the NHL China Games, which will take place in Shanghai and Beijing later this week. (Vancouver Canucks)

Finally…look everyone, the Times Union Center is almost done renovating.  Too bad they would rather host foam parties and bull riding than house an AHL hockey team. (Times Union)

 

 

Up North with the Thunder 8/8

Today was quite a busy day for Adirondack.

Two big announcements came out this morning during a press conference in Glens Falls:

-First, there’s a new affiliation.  Well, make that two new affiliations.

The main affiliate for at least the 2017-18 season will be New Jersey/Binghamton, which marks the first time since 2010-11 that the Devils have a full time ECHL partner (Trenton).  New Jersey is no stranger to using Adirondack as a partner–in between AHL stints up north, the then River Rats used the UHL’s IceHawks (later known as the Frostbite) as a feeder team in the early 2000s, with Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond the most notable of those players (his first professional season was in 2005-06, the final year the Frostbite called Glens Falls home).

Tampa Bay/Syracuse will take over New Jersey’s unofficial partnership/handshake role.  The Lightning/Crunch were in search of a new team after last year’s ECHL affiliate, Kalamazoo, signed an agreement with Vancouver/Utica in July.  They had some success last season with one member of last year’s Thunder, as defenseman Mathieu Brodeur turned a PTO stint in early December with Syracuse into an AHL contract, helping the Crunch reach the Calder Cup Finals last June.

-Secondly, Brad Tapper will take over as Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations, just six days after former coach Cail McLean left the Thunder for an assistant coaching role in Stockton.

Tapper is a former RPI product who spent parts of three seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers before finishing his playing career in Germany. This is his first head coaching job, as he has spent the last six seasons as an assistant in both the ECHL and AHL, including a Kelly Cup championship with the Florida Everblades in 2012.  He spent two years as an assistant coach in Chicago with the Wolves before spending last season with the Amerks.