Welcome to Week 4 of your Albany Devils roundup. This week, the Devils played three games, winning one and losing two. As always, we'll discuss those game results in detail, but in summary, the week ended much better than it began in terms of effort and level of play on the ice. The results, as noted, were mixed. In the ECHL, Scott Wedgewood played a pair of games over the weekend as well. Maxime Clermont also saw his first action of the young season. Additionally, there were a couple player movements and minor injuries to update.
Bill Cain reported on Friday that Harry Young was assigned to Trenton while Chris McKelvie was "loaned" to Trenton. Not sure if the difference in distinctions is significant. Neither player had played yet for Albany this season.
The Titans played a pair of games against Walleye this past weekend, winning 4-1 on Friday and losing 5-1 on Saturday. Scott Wedgewood played both games and, obviously, just like the team, his results were mixed. Wedge stopped 25 of 26 on Friday; 31 of 35 on Saturday. Matt Bernot, who covers the Trenton Titans, had a lot of great things to say about Wedgewood both on twitter during the game and in his game recap Friday.
Wedgewood's stat line did not look very good from Saturday's game, but the coach gave him a vote of confidence, saying they left him out on an island many times that game. Wedgewood himself acknowledged he made a few mistakes but he seems to shake these things off pretty well.
Harry Young, Brian Haczyk, and Chris McKelvie all played both Friday and Saturday. They were all held off the scoresheet Saturday. On Friday night, McKelvie registered the game winning goal and an assist in his first game with the Titans.
In his first start of the season, Maxime Clermont turned aside 31 shots en route to a 3-2 victory for the Elmira Jackals. Here is a recap of the game.
Eric Gelinas and Kelly Zajac remain out. Chad Wiseman is back in the lineup after a bout with the flu. Alexander Urbom missed all three games this week and is day-to-day with what is being called an upper body injury. Urbom was sucker punched on 10/20 against the Sharks, and has not played in a game since (although he returned to that game). I'm not sure if that is the injury or if he is dealing with something else.
Game Recaps and thoughts:
W 10/24 - Albany 2 Connecticut 5
On Wednesday 10/24, the Devils played the Connecticut Whale and dropped a pretty ugly 5-2 decision. The game was easily the worst effort by our A-Devils this young season. Here is the official Albany recap, including interviews with Rick Kowalsky and Mike Hoeffel. Bill Cain had a really good recap of that game here.
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Seemingly, this game started out well enough for Albany. Less than 1 minute into the game, Kris Newbury of the Whale received a double minor penalty and a 10 minute misconduct, giving Albany a 4 minute power play. Unfortunately, Albany was able to produce absolutely nothing over the 4 minutes. The majority of the first period was a pretty even contest. Mike Hoeffel took a goaltender interference penalty, the first of many careless penalties by Albany on the evening. The Devils killed off this penalty, as the PK has been much improved lately. Nevertheless, penalties and lack of discipline seems to be somewhat of a recurring problem with this team so far early in the season. Late in the first period, Mike Hoeffel scored on a rebound in front after a very good shift from the Josefson line. This was the only goal of the first period, and the Devils went into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead. The play was fairly even for the majority of the period, with neither team giving up many great opportunities. The Devils probably had the slightly better run of things. The first period ended with Albany leading 12-10 in shots, and 3-2 in scoring chances.
The second period and beyond was a totally different story. The Devils team that had played reasonably well over the first 20 minutes did not show up for the rest of the game. Just a minute or two after killing off an Adam Larsson tripping penalty early in the second, the Devils relinquished their lead. Attempting to break out of the zone, Mattias Tedenby made a really ill-advised cross ice pass. I guess he didn't see Segall from the Whale skating thru the center of the ice, because Teddy basically tried to pass the puck right through him. Segall easily intercepted the pass, skated in and beat Corrente to the outside. As Segall was cutting in towards the net along the goal line, Corrente was not in terrible position, but he wasn't in good position to make a play either. It looked like Segall may have lost control of the puck a little and slid it forward, right through Kinkaid's legs. It was kind of a flukey goal, but regardless, the game was all tied. Unfortunately, things would only get worse from here. JT Miller gave the Whale a 2-1 lead just minutes later with an incredible individual effort. He skated into the zone 1 on 2, completely undressed Larsson, then dangled and lifted the puck over Kinkaid. It was a highlight reel goal, unfortunately at the expense of the Devils.
Albany was only outshot 11-9 in the second period, which doesn't look like that big a discrepnancy. Scoring chances in the second period, however, were 5-0 Connecticut. Albany went the entire middle twenty minutes without registering one scoring chance. Albany's effort was unacceptably poor in the second period, but they found themselves late in the second still only down one goal. That would all change with just about a minute left to play before intermission. Hrabarenka couldn't handle a pass in his own zone, and lost the puck pretty much right to Grant of Connecticut. Grant skated in unopposed and beat Kinkaid cleanly. Albany would go into the second break trailing 3 - 1.
The third period pretty much picked up where the second period left off. Just seconds into the period, Larsson got burned and took a hook. The Devils were able to kill the penalty once again, but its pretty hard to come back from a two goal defecit when you spend so much time on the kill. Not that it mattered much anyway, because the Devils could not get anything going. The Devils had a powerplay about 2 minutes later, and were pretty much unable to even establish the zone. The futility of the second period continued, and the Devils actually did not register a scoring chance until there was 7 minutes left in the game. Albany went 33 minutes without a scoring chance. It was as ugly as it sounds.
The Whale would expand on their lead about 9 minutes into the period, this time on the power play. Zalewski was sent off for a cross-check, and the kill was going just fine. Near the end of the penalty time, Kelly got beaten badly just inside the blue line, leaving Jay Leach all alone in front to face a 2-on-1. He actually got his stick on the shot, but it just redirected the shot directly into the top corner of the net. 4 - 1 Whale.
Just about three minutes later, the Devils were victimized once again. They are unable to clear the zone several times, and Larsson and Hoeffel basically got outworked for a puck near the side boards. A couple of nifty passes later, Kyle Jean had an easy tap-in. 5-1 Whale.
After falling behind by an insurmountable margin, the Devils would finally get a few chances and shots on goal, but too little too late. Josefson would snipe a goal on a late power play off of a nice passing sequence from Tedenby and Hrabarenka. 5-2 Whale, and that's how the game ended. It was difficult to watch for the majority of the second and third periods. Connecticut outchanced Albany 11-6 for the game, while Albany outshot Connecticut 33-26. The majority of those shots came late and were meaningless, so I am not in the least bit impressed by that statistic.
I don't know exactly where to begin with this one. I want to keep it kind of brief, as it was pretty much a terrible effort across the board. The Henrique line was invisible for pretty much the whole game. The Josefson line had a couple of good shifts. Josefson had a good game, as usual, and Hoeffel played pretty well overall. Mattias Tedenby had a pretty good game, outside of that one awful turnover. He was rewarded late in the game with some shifts alongside Josefson and Anderson as the Devils tried to generate some offense. The fourth line of Sestito-Zajac-Sislo was decent. They had some of the better shifts for the Devils, and also registered the only thing remotely close to a scoring chance over the first 12 mintues of the second period. Strong play from the fourth line seems to be a recurring theme for this team and I like it. Credit Sestito and Zajac, since they are more or less two constants back there. Sislo played pretty well too in his return to the lineup.
The Albany defense was atrocious on this day. They had been the strong point of this team leading up to Wednesday's game, but they were victimized time and time again. Adam Larsson had a very forgettable game. Jay Leach was, well, Jay Leach. On the bright side, he was only penalized once this game, taking a stupid interference penalty late in the first. Corrente, Hrabarenka, and Kelly were all victimized for goals against at one time or another during the game.
At a glance, one might think Keith Kinkaid had an awful game too, but this was not the case. I'm sure he would have liked that first goal back. It was kind of a flukey play and he seemed to be caught off guard by Segall kind of losing the puck towards the net last minute. Besides that, Kinkaid had literally no chance whatsoever on the other 4 goals. He was completely hung out to dry this game by his defense and in some cases his forwards as well. The stats don't show it, but nothing to really get alarmed about regarding Keith's play this game.
F 10/24 Albany 5 Adirondack 1
Here is the official recap - interviews with Kowalsky, DeSimone, and Frazee
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Unlike Wednesday night's debacle, Friday was a pretty awesome showing for Albany. The team came out really flying in the first period and got on the board just four mintues into the game. Matt Anderson had the puck down low and attempted a wrap around, which kicked out to Kelly at the point. Kelly fired a slap shot and a rebound slid to the right of the crease, where both Josefson and Pesonen were waiting. Josefson got his stick on the puck first and it was 1-0 Albany. A great start, for sure. But, the Devils had scored first in every one of their games so far to very mixed results, so not a reason to get too excited just yet.
Phil DeSimone returned to the lineup and as usual, the fourth line was buzzing early. In the minutes after the Josefson goal, the Devils kept on firing and had numerous chances to make it a 2-0 game. Tedenby was buzzing around the offensive zone, using his speed to create opportunities. Mike Sislo was rewarded for his play on Wednesday by getting bumped up to the Henrique line. He was strong once again, and rang a shot off the pipe. In fact, halfway through the first period, Albany was leading in shots 10 - 0. Still, they had only the one goal to show for their efforts.
Finally, with about 4 mintues left in the period, the Devils were able to extend their lead. Josefson absolutely picked the Adirondack defenseman Syrvet's pocket down low in the offensive zone. After a neat little back and forth passing sequence, Matt Anderson scored to make it 2-0 Albany. This was a big goal, because Albany certainly deserved a two goal lead with how much they dominated the play.
Unfortunately, the two goal lead would be short lived. With about 90 seconds left in the period, the referee awarded a penalty shot to Zac Rinaldo. The PS was a questionable decision in my opinion. Rinaldo pretty much just skated right in on Frazee and shot the puck. Frazee got his pad on it but couldn't stop the shot. Afterwards, Frazee through his hands up and then covered his head , seemingly disgusted by the fact that he gave up a goal to Zac Rinaldo. The period ended with the Devils dominating play for 17+ minutes, yet only holding a one goal lead. Shots were 12-6 Albany, and scoring chances were 9 - 3 in favor of Albany (assuming a penalty shot counts as a scoring chance. If not, 9 - 2).
Over the first 5 minutes of the second period, the Devils didn't exert nearly as much dominance as they showed in the first. About 8 minutes into the period, the Devils themselves caught a somewhat lucky break. In another somewhat questionable decision, the referee awarded Adam Henrique a penalty shot. Henrique easily converted, and it was once again a two goal lead, 3-1 Albany. This was a huge break for the Devils, because Adirondack actually had some momentum going in the minutes leading up to the PS. They had nearly evened the shot total, and were threatening a bit to tie the game. After the penalty shot, play started to slowly tilt in the Devils favor again, and with about 5 mintues left in the second things really looked good for the Devils again. A couple great saves by Cal Heeter kept the game 3-1. DeSimone was denied on a nice pass from Adam Larsson, Matt Anderson was denied on a nice pass from Josefson. Easily, it could have been 4-1 heading to the third, but Heeter kept the Phantoms in the game. At the end of the second, shots were 23-17 Albany, and scoring chances were 16-7 in favor of Albany.
Third period picked up where the second left off. The Devils totally controlled the first 5 minutes of play. Several times, they threatened to blow the game wide open. Tedenby skated back hard through the neutral zone and was able to grab a loose puck near the blue line. He turned up ice and fired an on-point pass to spring Chad Wiseman on a breakaway. Unfortunately, Wiseman was denied by Heeter. On another play, there was a loose puck deep in the Adirondack zone, and Josefson was banging at it near the goal. At the last minute, Johnston from the Phantoms got his stick in the area and Jacob couldn't elevate the puck over Heeter's pad into the open goal.
The Devils finally broke through and put the game out of reach about nine minutes into the third period on a great individual effort from Phil DeSimone. DeSimone entered the zone one -on-two, and went straight at the left defender. He dangled through his legs around to the outside to gain position, then outmuscled the defender on his way to the net before putting a back-hand five-hole on Heeter. It was a highlight reel play, and worth watching for sure.
Just three minutes later, the Devils added one more goal for good measure. Leach received a great pass from DeSimone and skated into the right circle. Leach faked a shot and slid a pass to Darcy Zajac coming thru the other side of the crease. It looked like a setup for an easy tap in, but Zajac was unable to get his stick on the puck. The puck came off the boards, and Tedenby was able to get the puck around to Sestito, who slid a pass to Larsson up on the point. Larsson fired a slap shot which was redirected slightly by Zajac in front for a goal. 5-1 Devils. The Devils dominated this game on the ice and now had a sufficiently matching score to show for their efforts. Shots finished 30 - 24 for the game, but a couple late Phantoms power plays padded this total. With about 8 minutes remaining, the total was more like 30-18. Scoring chances finished 19-10 in favor of Albany.
Can't say enough good about just about everyone on the ice for the Devils tonight. Jacob Josefson was pretty much a beast, and exerted his will on the opposition just about every time he was on the ice in this game. Matt Anderson and Mike Hoeffel also played well. Mattias Tedenby may not appear on the score sheet in this game, but he definitely had an impact on the ice. He didn't get an assist on the Zajac goal, but his play set up that goal.
Mike Sislo looked really good with Henrique and Pesonen. He's jumped things up a notch, and actually continued to do so with another strong outing Saturday. The Henrique line seemed more effective with Sislo on the right instead of Butler. Bobby Butler was a healthy scratch for this game. He struggled a bit Wednesday and was given the night off. He returned on Saturday, but played on the third line with Teddy and Zalewski. Sislo played on the Henrique line again Saturday.
The fourth line was really good once again. Phil DeSimone showed some skills in this game. He had a goal and an assist, but also made great plays all over the ice and could have scored a couple other times. Darcy Zajac had a goal. Tim Sestito had another strong game.
Adam Larsson was very good, and the rest of the Devils defense pretty much followed suit. Corbin MacPherson took a few big hits from Zac Rinaldo and several other Flyers during the game, but he stood his ground. MacPherson then got some payback by leveling Rinaldo in the Devils zone near the end of the game. Matt Corrente took a big hit in the third and appeared to be a little gimpy or woozy afterwards. He didn't play Saturday night, so not sure if that's why. Jay Leach had a good game. Hrabarenka had a good game but didn't chip in any points. Dan Kelly got himself on the score sheet with an assist and played a strong game. Great bounce back game for the defense and the whole team.
Jeff Frazee wasn't challenged all that often this game. He probably should have stopped Zac Rinaldo's penalty shot. Actually, they probably shouldn't have awarded Zac Rinaldo a penalty shot, but they did, and Rinaldo scored. Besides that, Frazee was good and made all of the saves at 5 on 5 when challenged, which wasn't all that often this game.
S 10/27 Albany 0 Hershey 3
I couldn't find a highlight video for this game.
Unfortunately due to the storm, my thoughts on this game are a little more brief than usual. The Devils played very well in this game despite the result. They seemed quick and sharp for most of the first period, although shots were 7-7. The Devils had some real chances to score, but Braden Holtby turned them away time after time. Then Hershey got a break when the Devils lost track of Zach Hammil in front of the goal, and he got a pass with room to pick his spot and fire one past Kinkaid.
Despite this minor setback, the Devils continued to control the flow of play. Their lack of discipline came back to bite them in this one, however. The Devils took 4 minor penalties in the first 12 minutes of the second period. The Bears scored on the first power play, and Kinkaid, once again, didn't really have much chance on the play. Just seconds after the PP goal, in a shocking development, Jay Leach took a penalty. Then, it was Matt Anderson's turn. Five minutes later, it was Phil DeSimone who took a seat in the box. Despite being shorthanded for about 7 minutes, the Devils outshot Hershey 16-9 in the second period. They were really able to dictate play at 5v5 and even created some nice shorthanded opportunities. Braden Holtby turned them all aside time after time. Unfortunately, this trend would continue.
The third period was more of the same. The Devils created numerous chances and not one got past Holtby. They also took two more penalties this period, bringing their total for the game to 7 minor penalties. Hershey's third goal was an empty netter. The Devils were unlucky this night and deserved a better fate than the hockey gods allowed on this day. If Braden Holtby was not in beast mode, the Devils could have scored four or five goals.
Mike Sislo was great on the Henrique line once again. So was DeSimone on the fourth line. Both were rewarded for their good play Friday with another chance Saturday, and I thought both delivered. Mattias Tedenby was very good again. He's not showing up on the scoresheet, but his presence and activity level on the ice is obvious. Bobby Butler responded to his benching / demotion to the third line with a solid bounce back effort. He had four shots on goal. Jacob Josefson is impacting the game pretty much every time he is on the ice. I really have nothing bad to say about the Devils skaters in this one except their propensity to take penalties proved costly.
The defense was mostly solid. There was obviously a breakdown on the first goal. I can't remember who was on the ice for the Devils at the time, so I won't guess. Same thing with the power play goal, because I made a note that Kinkaid was hung out there twice, so surely someone made a mistake. Adam Larsson took another penalty in this one. Hopefully playing with Leach isn't rubbing off on him with the undisciplined penalites.
I thought Kinkaid was really good in this game. He has played just fine the last two games, and has nothing but 7 goals against and two losses to show for it. The real star in this game was Braden Holtby, who turned aside 37 Devils shots en route to the shutout.
All stats are taken from theahl.com and echl.com
So that concludes our week 4 roundup, and now I'd like to know what you think. Have you been impressed with the play of anyone in particular? It seems the Josefson line is now the top line in Albany, and a lot of that has to do with Jacob's high level of play. Do you think this is significant? What did you think of Phil DeSimone's goal on Friday night? Bobby Butler did not have a very good week. How do you feel about him moving forward? Do you think Tedenby might break out soon and get on the scoresheet? Please leave your answers to these questions, as well as any other questions or comments relating to the Albany Devils in the comments section below. Thanks for reading.