Binghamton Devils have found themselves winning their fourth in a row following last weekend’s victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday. In turning the corner at the tail end of December leading up to January, the club registered six wins in their last eight games as the BDevils have climbed out of the basement in the Eastern Conference. There has been some renewed hope with some of the players that have joined the club.
The BDevils current win streak is tied for a franchise-high four set in the 2018-’19 season during a stretch run of Jan 5 - Jan 12. They go for record win number five tonight facing the Americans in Rochester.
Binghamton has discovered what it takes to win some games with some effort, including the last 20 minutes of the final period. That was a thing in the first quarter while blowing up two goal leads, but HC Mark Dennehy has been able to address that and help turn this season in the right direction during the 2nd Quarter.
Lots of movements regarding the line-up that has benefited the team in recent weeks.
Following the injury to Louis Domingue, Evan Cormier was called up by the parent club only to be replaced by Gilles Senn as Cormier was sent to Adirondack. After a two-game conditioning stint for Domingue in Binghamton, he was back in NJ.
Lost in the mix was the recent solid performance of Cory Schneider for the BDevils, as he looks healthy in winning his last two games. His line reads 3-4-0-0, 3.15 GAA, 0.887 SV% this season for Binghamton. If Cory continues to remain healthy, who knows where he will land to help a playoff contender in the NHL that’s willing to take a risk and his salary.
I last spoke about the two additions including their bios after the trade went down last month for former New Jersey forward Taylor Hall. Here is the latest involving the return for the BDevils.
- Nick Merkley
Forwards Nate Schnarr and Nick Merkley are the latest additions to the team that has risen from the depths of the basement in the Eastern Conference while riding a four-game winning streak.
Merkley has two assists in six games while on the first line taking Joey Anderson’s spot on the wing with Ben Street and Brett Seney. This was before the recent call-up of Street to NJ as his replacement will be announced tonight in Rochester.
So far I like what Merkley brings to the table with his poise and polished image, including reading the ice well while maintaining good puck possession, most notably on the powerplay. He has been inserted on the first unit and that’s a plus with his slick passing abilities.
- Nate Schnarr
Just the opposite can be said for Schnarr as he is rather raw in his rookie campaign, but I do like his size and his playmaker instincts early on.
Schnarr is what I consider him as a big, power forward that has a new beginning with the Devils’ Organization and one to keep an eye on. As a rookie, he has three assists in five games since his arrival and has been centering the fourth line with Marian Studenic and Fabian Zetterlund. Potential is there, but let’s see how far it goes with his development.
To make room for both Merkley and Schnarr, Brandon Gignac and Egor Sharangovich have been healthy scratches during the current winning streak. Gignac/Sharangovich has a combined 14 pts in 49 games while the dual of Merkley/Schnarr has 5 pts in 11 outings.
- Matt Tennyson
The defense got a big boost recently as Matt Tennyson cleared waivers this past Monday after being waived by NJ on Sunday.
Tennyson adds another veteran presence that gives Binghamton a total of six on the roster, which meets the league requirements without going over the limit that excludes a goaltender. To make room, rookie defenseman Jeremy Groleau will likely be sent to Adirondack, although nothing has been announced.
This is a big addition that provides additional experience for the BDevils. With Dakota Mermis (300), Julian Melchiori (441), and Kyle Cumiskey (522), Tennyson (419) have a combined 1682 games at the pro level. That’s an upgrade from the previous two seasons.
Tennyson has played in 143 NHL games (San Jose Sharks, Carolina Hurricanes, Buffalo Sabres, and New Jersey Devils) along with 276 AHL appearances (Worcester Sharks, San Jose Barracuda, Charlotte Checkers, Rochester Americans, and Binghamton Devils) throughout his nine seasons in the pros.
Tracey’s Updates From Adirondack
As the calendar turns to 2020, the Adirondack Thunder are at a crossroads.
After struggling to get through the month of December thanks to an 11-game winless streak, the Thunder come in to this week’s action with a 13-15-5-5 record and 36 points, and sit in fourth place in the ECHL’s North Division, one point ahead of 5th place Maine and four points behind third place Reading.
After finally breaking their winless streak with a huge 6-2 win over Reading on December 28th, Adirondack has only won one of their last four, going 1-1-2-0 against Canadian rivals Brampton and Newfoundland after a brutal travel schedule: bus to Brampton on Sunday for a Monday night game, bus overnight back to Glens Falls for an afternoon New Year’s Eve matchup with the Beast, then ring in 2020 on a northbound bus to Montreal in order to fly out to Newfoundland on New Year’s Day for a two-game set on The Rock against the first place Growlers for the weekend.
The good news for Adirondack schedule-wise? Out of their 10 remaining January games, 6 are on home ice, with the furthest road trip a weekend set in Worcester and Maine starting Friday.
One positive during the Thunder’s recent slide? The team has been able to get some standings points thanks to third period comebacks to force overtime.
Adirondack has played the second most games beyond regulation in the ECHL with 12 (Allen is first with 14). However, once the team reaches the extra frame, they have not had much success, with just two wins, both in Brampton. The Thunder have gone to the most shootouts in the league with five but have yet to steal the extra point. (Fun fact: 11 ECHL teams have yet to reach the shootout round this season.)
If not for the 10 extra standings points from overtime, the Thunder would be in the North Division basement. Instead, they are just barely hanging on to the fourth playoff spot.
First Half Statistics
Adirondack officially hit the halfway point of their 2019-20 schedule on New Year’s Eve, a 5-2 home loss to Brampton. So, where does the team stand among the rest of the ECHL? A few numbers:
-The Thunder rank 24th in the ECHL in average penalty minutes per game (10.55).
-The power play ranks 12th at 17.6 percent, penalty kill 7th at 84.4 percent.
-Adirondack ranks 21st in goals per game with 2.92, goals against 18th with 3.53.
-The Thunder’s 38 games played through Saturday are the most among ECHL teams.
-37 players, including 5 goaltenders, have made at least one appearance with the team.
-Of those 37, 5 have also appeared in at least one game with Binghamton. (McAdam was recalled but did not play)
Latest Player Stats
- Evan Cormier (ELC): Cormier has appeared in 9 games, with a 3-2-3-1 record, 2.79 GAA, and .904 save percentage. Since returning from New Jersey and Binghamton after Christmas, he has made three starts: a 3-2 win in Brampton on December 30th, where he stopped 22 of 24 shots; a 5-2 loss at home against Brampton on the 31st, where he had 34 saves; and a 3-2 overtime loss in Newfoundland on Saturday, where he had 33 saves on 36 shots.
- Eamon McAdam (AHL deal): McAdam is 7-10-1-2 in 21 appearances, with a 3.55 GAA and .886 save percentage. He is currently tied with former Devils goaltender Ken Appleby for first in the ECHL with 2 shootout losses. McAdam has just one win in his last 7 starts.
- Nikita Popugaev (AHL deal): Popugaev has appeared in 28 games, with 4 goals and 15 assists. He has a goal and 4 assists in his last 5 appearances, including 2 assists against Worcester on December 27th.
- Colby Sissons (ELC): Sissons has 2 goals and 17 assists in 32 games, and his 19 points lead all Thunder defensemen.
- Ara Nazarian (AHL deal): Nazarian has 5 goals and 11 assists in 29 games and leads all Adirondack skaters with a +7 rating. After missing 3 weeks due to an ankle injury in early December, he returned to the lineup on December 26th.
- Ludvig Larsson (AHL deal): Larsson has one goal and one assist since joining the team from Binghamton. He scored in his ECHL debut on the 28th against Reading.
- Kelly Summers (TC invite/PTO): Summers has 4 goals and 6 assists in 24 games. In what could be described as a coincidence, his last appearance before rejoining Binghamton and his first appearance since returning bookended the Thunder’s 11-game winless streak.
- Matt Salhany (TC invite): Salhany is currently in a 3-way tie with veterans Robbie Payne and Mike Szmatula for the team lead in points, with 10 goals and 15 assists in 37 games. He had a goal and 3 assists against Reading on December 28th.
- James Henry (TC invite): The captain of the Thunder has 7 goals and 17 assists in 32 games. In his last 8, he has 2 goals and 8 assists, including a four-point outing (2 G, 2 A) against Reading on the 28th.
- Charlie Curti (TC invite): Curti has 6 goals and 10 assists in 32 games. He has 2 assists in his last 6 games.
- Ryan Walker (TC invite): Walker has 4 goals and 4 assists in 30 games.
- Michael Sdao (TC invite): Sdao remains out of the lineup due to injury.
Up Next; Look for 2nd Quarter Grades Reports by the Panel covering every player for the Binghamton Devils in the last 19 games, including a comparison in the first 19 contests of the 1st Quarter.