There are two forwards that has slid under the radar for the Binghamton Devils in rookie Yegor Sharangovich and Brandon Gignac as we check in on both. Then an update from our guest writer Tracey Lake covering Adirondack of the ECHL as the Thunder has stumbled a bit since her last report two weeks ago.
But first, an update of sorts for Bingo and their recent woes.
With an 8-10-3-0 record supported with a current four-game losing streak, the Devils are in 6th place in the North Division as they are missing some elements for the offense. Veteran Eric Tangradi has been out but is close to returning, however, defenseman Brian Strait might be long-term with a concussion.
Forward’s Brett Seney and Joey Anderson (IR) are still in New Jersey and it doesn’t seem likely they will return anytime soon. John Quenneville suffered an ankle injury while blocking a shot but it doesn’t appear it will require any time on the IR.
Devils’ goaltender Eddie Lack gave up four goals on eight shots on Friday’s loss in Syracuse as he has struggled in net. Just the opposite can be said for his counter-part in Mackenzie Blackwood, as the 21-year-old has renewed his confidence level that has put him back on the radar after a disappointing campaign a year ago.
Binghamton’s biggest problem though is the lack of a 60-minute effort, as the last few games would be a fitting example of this. When they are on, the club plays hard and skates well but special team’s play continues to be a deterrent regardless of the outcome. It’s starting to become a work in progress in moving forward.
Look for more player profiles in the near future(*) as we take a glance at the two featured in this edition of the Bites. They both have been paired up on the same line but recently have jumped around the line-up as head coach Mark Dennehy has experimented in seeking the right fit.
- Round 5 draft pick, #141th overall in 2018 by New Jersey
- Forward -- shoots Left
- Born Jun 6, 1998 -- Minsk, BLR
- Signed through the 2020-’21 season on an ELC
- The 20 year-old has 3 goals, 4 assists in 17 games in his first pro experience on North American soil.
- 1st Quarter Grades report Sharangovich 79.6 / C+
At 6’ 2 and 196 lbs, the rookie forward has displayed good legs and a knack around the net as it didn’t take very long in his adjustments at the pro level here on North American soil. By utilizing his size and strength, Sharangovich has been able to compete and isn’t afraid to get physical at a very young age.
A quick and accurate shot appears to be a natural fit as you often notice #22 on the ice when taking in a BDevils’ event. He recently celebrated his first multiple-point night with a goal and an assist in last Saturday’s loss to Rochester. Much can be said for Sharangovich in winning faceoffs with a slightly more edge on the talent front then Gignac.
It’s a long haul of 76 games in the AHL that will be the most challenging as he has maxed out with 47 for the Dinamo Minsk of the KHL during the regular season in 2017-’18. But coach MD surely has the same concerns as Sharangovich was a healthy scratch over a weekend series in Toronto as he manages his ice time.
I like what I have seen and will continue to monitor his progress as to what kind of potential Sharangovich will bring in the future, but so far so good.
- Round 3 draft pick, #80th overall in 2016 by New Jersey
- Forward -- shoots Left
- Born Nov 7, 1997 -- Repentigny, Que. (CAN)
- Signed through the 2020-’21 season on an ELC
- The 21 year-old has 2 goals, 7 assists in 17 games so far in his second season for the BDevils.
- 1st Quarter Grades report Gignac 77.3 / C+
The 5’ 11, 173 lbs Gignac has bounced back from a devastating blow to his ACL suffered back last year and hasn’t missed a beat. It has been a long road in his recovery for Gignac as he lasted for only 21 games in his rookie campaign before the injury took place on a hit from defenseman Andreas Englund of the Belleville Senators.
But he has looked better than ever with no visible signs of a setback in his return.
Quick on his feet and a grinder with good ice vision, as Brandon could be a potential table setter in the near future. Also, he has been a regular on the power play and hasn’t looked out of place despite the nearly last place ranking the club is at in that category. And like Sharangovich, Gignac is pretty good at winning face-offs although there is no data to support this officially in the AHL.
Gignac spent four years playing for the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL where he amassed 61 goals, 116 assists for 177 points in 242 games. I’m not at all too concerned on his stamina unlike Sharangovich with his time in the KHL, as Gignac averaged over 60 games a season for his time in the QMJHL.
Let’s hope the trend continues for Gignac in the 2nd Quarter.
Adirondack Updates by Tracey
As October was good for the Adirondack Thunder, November has been quite the opposite.
After starting the season with wins in 8 of their first 10 games, the Thunder are now winless in 6 of their last 10, including a 2-1 loss to Reading at home on Saturday. Entering this weekend, the team has a record of 11-7-0-1, and sit in second place in the ECHL’s North Division. They trail the first place Newfoundland Growlers, who also own the league’s best record, by six points.
So why the recent slide?
- Not playing a full 60 minutes: In some games, the Thunder started off strong early, but fell apart as the game progressed. For example, in a 5-1 road loss to Brampton on November 7th, Adirondack took an early 1-0 lead, only to allow the Beast to score five unanswered goals, including four in the third period. Two weeks later, the same thing happened in a 6-3 home loss to Manchester--the Thunder took a 3-1 lead early in the second period, only to give up five straight to the Monarchs.
- Offensive struggles: In 4 of their last 6 contests, all losses, the Thunder have only managed to score one goal. However, during this same stretch, they put up a season high 8 goals against Reading on Friday. Despite this, the Thunder offense currently ranks 14th in the league with 3.16 goals per game.
- Cam Johnson: After taking the hard luck loss against Reading on Saturday, Johnson is 3-5 in 9 appearances, with a 2.79 GAA and a .916 save percentage, ranking him 14th among ECHL goaltenders.
- Brian Ward (AHL contract): In 18 games, Ward has 4 goals and 4 assists, and leads the team with 51 penalty minutes. He is currently serving a 5-game suspension after leaving the bench for an altercation in Reading on Friday and is eligible to return to the ice on December 8th.
- John Edwardh (AHL contract): Edwardh has 4 goals and 6 assists in 14 games.
- Mike Szmatula (camp invite): The hottest member of the Thunder right now is Szmatula, who put up six points (4 G, 2 A) in three games this week. In 18 games, the rookie has 8 goals and 4 assists.
- Jake Linhart (camp invite): In 19 games, Linhart has 2 goals and 9 assists.
Non-Devil You Should Know
In this segment, I want to introduce other members of the Thunder that are having an impact on the team…and who could be possible candidates to fill in if Binghamton needs someone in a pinch.
Let’s begin with the other half of the Thunder goaltending tandem, Alex Sakellaroupoulos.
Sakellaroupoulos was signed by the Thunder just prior the start of training camp in October. He has something in common with another Devil goaltender, Keith Kinkaid: both are alums of Union College. Sakellaroupoulos was a member of the 2014 National Championship squad as a freshman and finished his four-year career with a 40-22-13 record in 82 appearances for the Dutchmen.
In his first pro season in 2017-18, Sakellaroupoulos appeared in 3 games for the SPHL’s Pensacola Ice Flyers, winning twice. He also filled in for three different ECHL teams, appearing in a combined four games. This season, Sakellaroupoulos is coming into his own, appearing in 7 games with a 4-1-0 record, 2.34 GAA (7th in the ECHL), and a .918 save percentage.
Thanks Tracey, and thanks for reading Devils’ fans!
(*)If you are interested in a future profile series with any BDevils prospect for the Bites leave your selections in the comments section below and I’ll see to it