It was a classic battle of former teammates in goal as Mackenzie Blackwood and Scott Wedgewood both kept the game close for most of the evening. But it was the Binghamton Devils who eventually emerged victorious with a 3-0 shutout over the visiting Rochester Americans on Saturday.
A good, full 60-minute effort on the night as the Devils (10-10-3-0) just shut down the North Division leading Amerks (13-6-2-0) in just about every facet for their second straight win. The one they couldn’t solve was Wedgewood, as he kept it a one-goal contest until midway through the third period.
Blake Pietila scored his eighth of the season as a result of some crisp passing by Nick Lappin and Kevin Rooney as his wrister whipped by the glove of Wedgewood 18:04 in the opening period. That would be all the scoring in the tight-checking affair until the final 20 minutes.
BDevils’ rookie forward Egor Sharangovich was robbed as Wedgewood got a late stick to the puck for the save as Egor looked to the heavens afterward shaking his head in what could have been a sure goal. But the Devils got a break they needed and went ahead by a score of 2-0 on a fluke play.
In his first game back from injury, Eric Tangradi’s pass to the center from behind the cage deflected off the skate of Amerks’ defenseman Andrew MacWilliam and then off the shoulder of Wedgewood into the top corner where the puck ended up. The play surprised everyone in the barn as it stood as an insurance goal on a Devils’ power play.
Nick Lappin scored his team-leading tenth with an empty-netter with Wedgewood pulled with just under two minutes left. Behind Binghamton’s 18-8 shot advantage in the first period, they would end up in front 38-22 for the night.
Line-Up, Game #23
Forwards: Quenneville - Sharangovich - Studenic, Pietila - Rooney - Lappin, Tangradi - Schmelzer - Bastian, Baddock - Gignac - Speers
Defensemen: White - Gryba, Ramage - Kapla, Sissons - Jacobs
In Goal: Mackenzie Blackwood, Cam Johnson
Scratches: Brian Strait, Tariq Hammond, Kurtis Gabriel and Eddie Lack
Post Game Notes
- Michael McLeod was sent back by NJ but didn’t dress, but should be ready on Sunday in Hershey. Tangradi returns after missing 12 games and Johnson called up from Adirondack as Lack suffered an injury during last Wednesday night’s warm-ups.
- Tangradi had a big game as he is the type of veteran any team could use. He was sorely missed but gave the boys some confidence with his presence on as well as off the ice.
- Pietila now has 8 goals and 5th in his last 7 games as he has been on fire as of late with his line of Rooney at center and Lappin on the other wing.
- Blackwood with yet another strong performance in net as he wasn’t all that tested with 22 saves, but did what was needed with most of the game being a one-goal Devils’ advantage. He’s playing with confidence and momentum is what’s carrying him as his line improves to 5-4-1-1, 2.17 GAA, 0.929 SV% for the third year pro.
- Wedgewood stood on top of his head for the most part as he played in his second game in as many days with a 1-0 win over WB/Scranton on Friday. This was also his second straight game against Binghamton with his 4-3 win just last Saturday in Binghamton.
- Binghamton was disciplined and didn’t let frustrations lead to ill-advised penalties.
- The line of Quenneville - Sharangovich - Studenic looked strong all night with Studenic’s speed, Sharangovich’s strength, and JQ’s shot as the trio has found some chemistry on the top line.
#1. Mackenzie Blackwood (22 saves), #2. Eric Tangradi (1g), #3. Scott Wedgewood (35/37 saves)
Binghamton travels to Hershey on Sunday to take on the Bears to conclude the weekend.