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Bingo Bites: Opening Night Hangover, Joe Morrow & Updates From Adirondack

In this week’s edition, we talk the season opener, a new defenseman and Tracey Lake returns for ECHL coverage

NHL: FEB 09 Jets at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The season opener for the Binghamton Devils took place last weekend in front of over 4200 at The Floyd as the Utica Comets skated away with a 4-3 victory on Saturday. It’s only one game into a 76 game schedule, but patterns tend to repeat themselves and there are comparisons between this game and the last two seasons for the BDevils.

Photo Credit: Jeff Ulmer

Wednesday’s Hangover Report

The season-opening loss stung as the BDevils failed to play for a full 60 minutes and gave up four goals in the middle frame. The shots were severely one-sided and the defense played poorly. Prospects were meddled with and nothing was accomplished to counter back.

Especially what took place after Reid Boucher repeatedly took his stick to the back of Marian Studenic and slashes to the back of his legs after he was pushed into Utica goaltender Zane McIntyre by his defenseman Jalen Chatfield. That was shortly followed by Brett Seney flattened with a hit to the face by Kole Lind.

Teammates need to stick together and for one another. Enforcers are not like they once were but that night, Binghamton sure could’ve used one, (Yes, I’m old school). If not to send a message, maybe a motivation tool to fire the boys up. I realize it is just one game, but I’ve witnessed this in the last two years. Bring back Michael Sdao from Adirondack before the next outing with Utica and see if there’s a difference.

The BDevils play the same Comets this month on the 25th and 30th in Utica and again on Nov 6th and 9th in Binghamton and hopefully with some different results.

Devils Add Some Depth at the Blueline

NJ Devils have announced the signing of defenseman Joe Morrow to a one-year, two-way contract it was announced on Sunday. He substantially cleared waivers and has joined the Binghamton club this past Monday.

The 26 year-old native of Edmonton CAN last participated in the 2018-’19 season for the Winnipeg Jets scoring 1 goal, 6 assists in 41 contests. He started his professional career playing for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins back in 2012 and has registered 162 games in the NHL (Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, and Winnipeg.)

Morrow was a first-round pick in 2011 and 23rd overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins. This currently gives the BDevils eight defensemen with 19-year-old Jérémy Groleau as the lone rookie.

This signing follows the release of Andrew Campbell who was invited to camp but was not tendered a contract. It also quite possibly spells the end of defenseman Brian Strait playing days after suffering a severe concussion early last season. He is still under contract serving his second of a two-year agreement but hasn’t skated with the team.

Tracey Lake With Latest From our ECHL Affiliate

Updates will be provided once again by @TraceyLake from our ECHL affiliate in Glens Falls, NY, the Adirondack Thunder. Take it away Tracey!

Welcome to the fifth season of Adirondack Thunder hockey!

It’s been a successful run so far for the ECHL franchise, as they have made the Kelly Cup playoffs for four straight years but have yet to make it to the Kelly Cup Finals.

Entering their third season as the full-time affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, this year’s Thunder squad is loaded with a mix of proven veterans and prospects that, on paper, look like they can make a serious playoff run come spring.

Breaking down the roster

  • Forwards: The offense took a hit this offseason, with four of the team’s top six scorers moving on. John Edwardh, who spent some time with Binghamton last season, signed on with the Florida Everblades. Brian Ward has signed with the Belfast Giants in the EIHL, while Mike Szmatula, who was part of Binghamton’s training camp last fall, joined GKS Tychy in Poland. Finally, Peter MacArthur, a veteran who grew up just south of Glens Falls in Clifton Park, announced his retirement just after Adirondack was eliminated from the playoffs in April.

However, the one Thunder constant since Day One of the franchise, captain James Henry, returns. He led all skaters with 69 points while appearing in all 72 games and was rewarded with an invite to this year’s camp in Binghamton. Also returning is another Binghamton camp invitee, Matt Salhany, who had 15 goals and 27 assists in 58 games.

Other returnees include one-time Binghamton PTO Conor Riley, who re-signed with the Thunder on Friday after participating in San Diego’s training camp; Shane Conacher, the younger brother of Syracuse’s Cory, who was inspirational late last season after cancer surgery; and former Albany Devil Alexandre Carrier, who joined the Thunder just after the 2018-19 season began.

Photo Credit: Tracey Lake

Among the new faces on offense will be veteran Casey Pierro-Zabotel, a former Penguins draft pick who has quite the ECHL resume: he is the active ECHL leader in career points (504) and has two Kelly Cup championships. Other recent additions include Felix Girard, who has an extensive AHL resume with Milwaukee, San Antonio and Manitoba; and Robbie Payne, a third-year pro who split last season between Texas and Idaho.

Binghamton has assigned two forwards to the Thunder squad: rookie Ara Nazarian begins his professional career after finishing a four-year stint with the University of New Hampshire. And in a bit of a surprise, Nikita Popugaev, who was re-signed to an AHL deal after arriving in North America in February, will be starting his first full pro season in Glens Falls, presumably to get more playing time with 15 forwards currently on Binghamton’s roster. Ryan Walker, who was an invite to Binghamton’s camp and had a brief stint with both the Devils and Adirondack to finish last season, will be starting his first pro campaign in Glens Falls.

Adirondack also received forwards Antoine Waked and Hayden Verbeek from the Laval Rocket on Tuesday. Montreal and Laval do not have an official ECHL affiliate.

  • Defense: The defense got younger, but there are established veterans on the blue line, lead by returnee and Binghamton camp invite Michael Sdao. Adirondack also signed Gabriel Verpaelst, who has an extensive ECHL resume, including a Kelly Cup in 2017. Kelly Summers returns for his second pro season after a solid rookie campaign earned him a spot in Binghamton’s camp. Another veteran returnee is Blake Thompson, who appeared in all 72 games last season and will begin his second full year in Glens Falls. Jake Linhart returns for his second year after getting an extended AHL look with Hershey last season. Binghamton also reassigned Colby Sissons, who will be starting his second pro season, to the Thunder.
Photo Credit: Tracey Lake

Three rookies will be starting their professional careers in Adirondack, led by Charles Curti, who was part of Binghamton’s training camp. He comes to Glens Falls after a four-year collegiate career with Yale. Also joining the Thunder are Tommy Parran, who had a brief stint with the team last year after playing collegiately at Ohio State; and Zach Borsoi, who comes to Adirondack by way of Utica College.

  • Goaltending: The goaltending situation is an interesting one. When camp opened on Monday, it looked as if Eamon McAdam and Ben Halford, who were both in training camp with Binghamton, would be manning the nets. Then on Tuesday, a curveball: Laval assigned goaltender Michael McNiven, who had spent the last two seasons with the Rocket, to Adirondack.

McAdam split last season between Toronto and Newfoundland, going 10-5-2 with a 2.62 GAA for the Growlers, and 9-9-1 with a 2.99 GAA for the Marlies. McNiven appeared in 30 games for the Rocket, going 11-15-3 with a 2.52 GAA. He also made one appearance in Brampton, picking up a win for the Beast.


  • Preseason: Adirondack split their preseason slate, going 1-1 in a home and home series with the Reading Royals. Friday night in Pennsylvania, Nazarian picked up the game winning goal in overtime, as the Thunder rallied from a 2-1 third period deficit to win 3-2. Popugaev scored the tying goal in the third.

Reading returned the favor on Saturday in Glens Falls, running away with a 6-1 win. Rookie forward Craig Martin had the lone goal for Adirondack, while McNiven took the loss in net.

  • Regular Season: Adirondack will begin their regular season schedule on Friday in Portland, Maine, against the Mariners, a team the Thunder will take on an astounding 18 times in 2019-20. The team then heads to Worcester on Saturday to face the Railers, followed by a road game in Brampton on Monday afternoon. Adirondack then will head home on Saturday, October 19th, to host Worcester.