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.
“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.”
Albany 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.