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The Albany Devils are on the rebound after a 4-1 loss at the Hershey Bears Friday. Despite the setback, the Devils have earned at least one point in five of the last six contests, going 4-1-1-0. For the first time this season, they welcome the Worcester Sharks to Times Union Center for a 5 pm outing.
The Devils are second in the Northeast Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference at 34-21-4-7 (79 pts.). The Sharks are fourth in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the conference at 32-30-3-1 (68 pts.).
The game is part of “Albany Devils Fight Cancer Night.” Tickets are $18 with $5 benefitting the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center.
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Devils vs. Sharks Series
Saturday’s meeting will be the second of two between Albany and Worcester this season and the 52nd meeting all-time. The Devils are 25-21-3-2 overall with a 13-10-1-1 home record and a 12-11-2-1 road performance. Last season, Albany won both games (4-0 and 4-1).
The clubs last met on Mar. 9 at DCU Center. Albany erased a two goal, third period deficit, but lost 4-3 in a shootout. Reid Boucher, Chris McKelvie and Harri Pesonen each scored. Keith Kinkaid made 23 saves.
HERSHEY, PA — Stefan Matteau’s early goal gave the Albany Devils a 1-0 lead after two periods, but the Hershey Bears netted four unanswered en route to a 4-1 victory Friday at Giant Center. Albany was trying to separate from Hershey in the Eastern Conference standings. The Devils (34-20-4-7) are now five points ahead of the ninth-place Bears (33-25-4-4) with 10 games remaining.
Matteau’s 12th goal of the season and first since Feb. 22 came with just 13 seconds remaining in the first period with the man advantage. After Kelly Zajac and Mattias Tedenby each had touches on the puck, Matteau sent a between the legs pass from the corner towards the front of the net. The puck deflected off a Bears defenseman and over the shoulder of goaltender David Leggio.
After a scoreless second period, Hershey’s Dan Byers scored from in front of the net at 9:51. The game-winning goal, score by Chay Genoway at 14:03, was a seeing-eye shot that beat a screened Scott Wedgewood.
Brandon Segal added to Hershey’s lead with a power-play goal at 18:59 and an empty-net tally at 19:57.
Wedgewood’s four-game winning streak was halted. He made 22 saves on 23 shots. Leggio earned his 19th win with 21 saves.
Albany went 1-5 on the power play and 2-4 on the penalty kill.
Next up, the Devils return home for a 5 pm outing against the Worcester Sharks Saturday at Times Union Center. The game is part of “Albany Devils Fight Cancer Night.” Tickets are $18 with $5 benefitting the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center.
This future Devil is ready for his interview!
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The Devils, who travel to Hershey Friday for a 7 pm outing at Giant Center, enter their three-in-three weekend on a five-game point streak, including four wins. They sit in sixth in the Eastern Conference with 79 points and could strength their position with a victory tonight. The Bears are just on the outside of the playoff picture in ninth place with 72 points.
“There’s no question they’re on the outside looking in, so we have to expect their best,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky after Wednesday’s practice. “We have to keep doing what we’re doing: play a smart, responsible, hard game, play our game even though it’s in their building. They’re a very good team in that building. The biggest thing is to make sure we’re focused and ready.”
Players To Watch
Devils vs. Bears Series
The Devils and Bears are meeting for the fourth time this season and the 26th time in franchise history. The Devils are 7-15-0-3 all-time with a 5-7-0-1 home mark and a 2-8-0-2 road record. Albany is 0-1-0-2 against Hershey this season.
Last time out, Stefan Matteau and Reid Boucher both scored and Scott Wedgewood made 20 saves in the Devils 3-2 shootout loss against the Bears on Feb. 14 at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. Albany led 2-1 in the third period until Hershey’s Michael Latta scored off a rebound with 10:37 remaining. After the overtime, Boucher and Mattias Tedenby both hit posts and Matteau scored during the shootout. Ryan Stoa and Casey Wellman countered with goals.
TROY, NY — The Albany Devils will have a chance to strengthen their hold in the top eight of the Eastern Conference standings when they travel to face ninth-place Hershey Friday at 7 pm. As of Wednesday, the Devils were seven points ahead the Bears with 11 games remaining.
“There’s no question they’re on the outside looking in, so we have to expect their best,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “We have to keep doing what we’re doing: play a smart, responsible, hard game, play our game even though it’s in their building. They’re a very good team in that building. The biggest thing is to make sure we’re focused and ready.”
The Devils are riding a five-game point streak with four wins during that stretch. During that run, the Devils have allowed just six goals and have surrendered 20.2 shots per game.
Goaltender Scott Wedgewood, who was named last week’s CCM/AHL Player of the Week, was between the pipes for the Devils four wins, posting a 0.75 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.
“Confidence is a big thing with these young guys,” Kowalsky said. “We’ve played well in front of him and he hasn’t had a big shot total, but he’s had to make some key saves and that’s what you ask: that your goaltender gives you a chance whether you have 40 shots or 20.”
Wedgewood went 2-2-0 in five games last season and is 13-12-3 in his first full season in the AHL. Of his 13 wins, six have come during his last eight starts.
“I had a bit of a slump a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve been out here working,” Wedgewood said after Wednesday’s practice at Knickerbacker Ice Arena. “It’s kind of a cliché, but just working hard in practice and doing the little things to make things work. I’ve been bouncing things off [Dave] Caruso, bouncing things off Keith [Kinkaid] and [Johan Hedberg] — when he’s in town.
“You can’t really dwell on what’s happened and you can’t get too high on what you’re doing right now. We’re playing well as a team, so I haven’t seen the most amounts of shots in the games I have played. The ones I’ve had some opportunities against, I’ve kept them out and we’ve done a great job of keeping the quantity pretty low.”
The Devils will practice Thursday morning at Times Union Center before jumping on a bus and heading to Hershey immediately after the skate.
Reid Boucher, Mike Hoeffel, Cam Janssen, Stefan Matteau, Chris McKelvie, Rod Pelley, Harri Pesonen, Tim Sestito, Mike Sislo, Mattias Tedenby, Scott Timmins, Joe Whitney, David Wohlberg, Darcy Zajac, Kelly Zajac