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Mackenzie Blackwood Gives Binghamton Devils Boost in 40 Save Effort

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Blackwood made his season debut a success as the BDevils behind Nick Lappin’s GWG win 2-1 over the Laval Rocket

File photo provided by Alicia Strauch

With time ticking down in the third period, Michael Kapla sent a crisp pass from behind the net to Nick Lappin in front who was able to bury it to break the tie as the Binghamton Devils beat the Laval Rocket 2-1 on Saturday at Place Bell Arena.

Lappin’s game winning goal was his fourth in as many games as the Devils (3-1-0-0) earned a split with the Rocket (2-2-0-0) on the weekend series and have won three out of four to start the season.

With the shot total weighing heavily in favor of the home team, netminder Mackenzie Blackwood (1-0-0-0, 1.00 GAA, 0.976 SV%) made a splash in his season debut and stopped 40 shots to earn First Star honors. Binghamton managed to muster up just 15 shots, including only five in the final two periods.

Despite the shot differential, it was a closer contest then it would appear in the box score as the Devils just simply missed the net on numerous occasions throughout the game, but no doubt about it as Blackwood played terrific.

After Friday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rocket, Binghamton got on the board first as rookie forward Marian Studenic popped home a rebound in front of Laval goalie Michael McNiven for his third of the season after a shot was taken from the point by Yegor Yakovlev. It was the first lead for the Devils on the road trip in the opening twenty minutes.

In the second period Rocket would tie it as forward Jake Evans received a long pass from defenseman Maxim Lamarche and skated all alone beating Blackwood far side as he cut towards the cage. At that point of the afternoon the shots read 38-14 with the third period on the horizon.

But Binghamton buttoned up and had many chances to retake the lead while they held the Rocket to eight shots (to the Devils three). However, one of those three went in at 12:41 as Lappin celebrated like he always does, as gleeful as can be with his linemates.

It was a tense seven minutes to the finish as Blackwood came up big when needed to lift his team for the win and a happy bus ride home.

Line-Ups

Forwards: Studenic - Rooney - Bastian, Pietila - Seney - Lappin, Gignac - Sharangovich - Anderson, Schmelzer - McLeod - Gabriel.

Defensemen: Strait - Kapla, Yakovlev - Ramage, Sissons - Jacobs

In Goal: Mackenzie Blackwood, Cam Johnson

Scratches: Tariq Hammond, Eric Tangradi, Colton White, Brandon Baddock and Blake Speers

Post Game Notes

  • Rooney, Strait with the A’s.
  • Don’t look now but the Devils are in a first place tie with Cleveland in the North. Although I do recall the team getting off to a fast start last season before things went south. Let’s hope this group remembers that in moving forward.
  • Colby Sissons played in his first professional game and I was impressed to say the least. An excellent skater with great puck control and hockey awareness. This kid should be in every game from this point on to develop his defensive abilities and not ride the pine because he has the tools. Small sample size I like to remind myself, but I have a gut feeling this is one to keep an eye on and I usually trust my gut.
  • Michael McLeod was inserted back into the line-up after sitting out on Friday and looked great. He skated hard and was noticeable, two things that were lacking in his game. I think he got the message from Coach Dennehy.
  • Ryan Schmelzer also made his season debut for the Devils and skated alongside McLeod as those two worked together and nearly connected on a few occasions. He has some serious wheels but needs to get adjusted to the pace of AHL after spending the last four years at Canisius College.
  • Studenic looks to be a power forward with great legs and willing to muscle his way to the net. Poised and polished.
  • Yegor Yakovlev settled for two assists giving him four for the season and has been a nice boost to the offense. Another puck moving defenseman that is fluid and precise with his passes.
  • Also noticeable was another rookie in Yegor Sharangovich as it seemed like #22 was always into the mix. Hard working player and not afraid to get dirty.
  • John Ramage was the most physical player on the ice and another player that likes to get in the dirty areas, battling hard.
  • Team needs to build off of this one as a good character win, especially on the road in a hard place to earn points, good confidence builder.

Three Stars

#1.] Mackenzie Blackwood (40 saves), #2.] Jake Evans (1g), #3.] Alex Belzile (0g, 0a)

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The BDevils will return home before they travel to Belleville to take on the Senators on Wednesday.