Devils Defense Shuts It Down, Again

ALBANY, NY — One hundred and twenty-six minutes and five seconds have passed since Scott Wedgewood last surrendered a goal. It’s a streak he established with a 2-0 win Saturday and a 3-0 Albany Devils victory against the Syracuse Crunch.

The back-to-back blankings mark the first of its kind in franchise history. Wedgewood had help from his teammates, which only surrendered a combined 36 shots during the last two games, including a season-low 13 Sunday at Times Union Center.

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“A lot of guys in that room really do take pride in it,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky when asked about the team’s shots-against performance. “As a coach we do and for me, we’re tight defensively in our own end, but its more about taking away time and space. I think if you ask anybody that’s seen us play our better games, including opposing coaches and players, that’s what it’s about.”

3-16-14_230pxAlbany held Syracuse without a shot for the first 7:39 of play and after that only allowed seven more after two periods. In the third, a desperate Crunch team only managed to add five more to the tally. After a 6-4 loss at Springfield to start the three-in-three weekend, the Devils showed what they are capable of in the defensive zone.

“We know what we have to do this late in the season,” Wedgewood, who is 11-12-3 on the season, said. “We know our system; we know how to play and just the fact of where we are and what’s at stake. If you were to sit in that room, every guy in there wants to play our system, wants to be on the same page and wants us to win. When you have a group like that coming together like we are right now, it’s obviously going to help us moving forward and down the stretch.”

Offensively, Raman Hrabarenka opened the scoring at 16:53 of the first period with a power-play goal from Kelly Zajac and Alexander Urbom. Hrabarenka also picked up an assist — as did Zajac — on Mike Sislo‘s third period tally at 14:45.

Sislo added an empty netter from Corbin McPherson at 19:38 to help Albany improve to 32-20-3-7, helping their playoff chances. The Devils are four points ahead of ninth-place Hershey.

“We just played hard all three periods, that’s a big difference,” Hrabarenka said. “You have to be focused all the time, every shift.”

The Devils will try and push their winning streak to three games when they host the Binghamton Senators at Times Union Center Wednesday at 7 pm.




Goaltenders: Scott Wedgewood, Keith Kinkaid

Defensemen: Seth Helgeson, Raman Hrabarenka, Dan Kelly, Adam Larsson, Corbin McPherson, Alexander Urbom

Forwards: Reid Boucher, Stefan Matteau, Rod Pelley, Harri Pesonen, Tim Sestito, Mike Sislo, Mattias Tedenby, Scott Timmins, Joe Whitney, David Wohlberg, Darcy Zajac, Kelly Zajac



Devils vs. Syracuse: Mar. 16 (5:00 pm)

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Coming off a 2-0 victory Saturday against the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Albany Devils will try and put an exclamation point on their three-in-three weekend with a 5 pm outing against the Syracuse Crunch Sunday at Times Union Center. The Devils have at least one point in nine of their last 13 games, going 6-4-0-3.

Tim Sestito netted his 13th goal of the season Friday at Springfield and followed with an assist against Hartford Saturday, giving him five points in the last six games.

Tale of the Tape

Goals For
Goals Against

Players To Watch

Joe Whitney/LW
0g-2a vs. SYR

Reid Boucher/LW
1g-0a vs. SYR

Vladislav Namestnikov/C
0g-3a vs. ALB

Jean-Philippe Cote/D
0g-1a vs. ALB

Devils vs. Crunch Series

Since their first meeting on Jan. 13, 2010, the Devils and Crunch have faced off 30 times and the away team has held the upper hand. The Devils are 11-16-1-2 overall with a 2-11-1-1 home mark and an 9-5-0-1 road record.

Albany and Syracuse last met on Nov. 16 at the War Memorial at Oncenter. Keith Kinkaid made 29 saves and stopped all five of the Crunch’s shootout attempts in a 2-1 victory. Reece Scarlett and Syracuse’s Nikita Kucherov exchanged second period goals and Reid Boucher scored the lone shootout tally.

Record Breakdown

Syracuse Crunch 60 24 26 4 6 58 0.483
Albany Devils 61 31 20 3 7 72 0.590