ALBANY, NY — Scott Wedgewood and Providence goaltender Jeremy Smith were once teammates for Plymouth of the OHL. On Wednesday, they were opponents in a goaltending battle that played out at Times Union Center. In the end, Smith helped his team to a 2-1 shootout victory.
Both goaltenders finished with 23 saves and Wedgewood has led the Devils to points in his last three starts (2-0-1).
Here are three impressions from Wednesday’s game:
Wedgewood had to be especially strong in net as almost every Bruins shot was a quality scoring chance. The Devils kept the total number down, but made uncharacteristic turnovers that allowed the Bruins to utilize their speed to race in on net with several breakaways. Wedgewood was up to the task with good side to side movement, excellent pad control and a quick glove.
“We were joking after the first that we gave up three chances and they were all breakaways,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “Wedgewood was outstanding, he didn’t have a lot of shorts in the first, but the ones he did were all quality chances. Two of them, one was a partial breakaway and one was a breakaway. We’re glad we’ve got have him back in and in a rhythm. He looked sharp.”
Dump, Chase, Forecheck
The Devils followed a simple formula to dominate play early. They made sure to get pucks deep behind the goal, forcing Bruins’ defensemen to turn and play along the boards. In the first period the strategy resulted in numerous quality scoring chances, including two one timer looks for Nick Lappin and a one timer from Chris McKelvie that went just off the edge of the blocker. Both teams would even out in the last two periods, matching each other play for play, shot for shot until the game was settled in a shootout.
“When teams are fresh, if there’s no room out there you want to put pucks behind,” Kowalsky said. “We certainly had a very good first period. Maybe could have something to show for it, but we talked about sticking with it. They played a good road game, I’ll give them credit. They held on in the first. Back and forth it was a playoff type game. The way it ended is the result of two teams playing pretty hard. ”
O’Brien Shorthanded Tally
After two and a half scoreless periods O’Brien broke through for his third goal in three games and extended his point streak to four games (3g-4a). Blake Pietila made a great play along the boards to get the puck out of his own zone and poked it to O’Brien streaking up the middle. O’Brien launched a scorcher past the Bruins’ goaltender to give the Devils the lead.
O’Brien passed most of the credit to Pietila for setting him up.
“Pietila just put good pressure on a guy and I just was waiting there and he ended up winning the battle,” O’Brien said. “Smacked it to the middle and I just skated into it.”