ALBANY, NY — Corey Tropp sent a pass from his own zone cross ice to Reid Boucher down the left wing. The Albany Devils forward accepted the puck, streaked towards the Hershey Bears goal and fired a shot into the top corner, giving the Devils a 3-2 overtime victory Wednesday at Times Union Center.
The los sended a five-game skid for Albany, which also received goals from Mike Sislo and Raman Hrbarenka.
Here are three thoughts from Wednesday’s game:
Wedgewood Battles Pain; Exits
Netminder Scott Wedgewood entered the contest with a 6-2-2 record with a 1.72 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. He battled an ankle injury at the start of the season and now appears to be heading back to the medical table. Wedgewood dove to clear a puck from his crease during the first period and clearly tweeked his right shoulder in the process. After a talk with Athletic Trainer Scott Stanhibel, Wedgewood remained in the game, but showed signs of pain.
In the third period, he took another blow to the same area and could not continue.
“It’s not good, it’s his shoulder,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “It happened a couple times when he laid out to cover pucks and that’s generally when it’s exposed the most. The last one was too much and we had to take him out. Hopefully it’s not too serious. ”
Travel and back-to-back games in two different league couldn’t stop Boucher from playing at an elite level Wednesday. Boucher was all over the ice, generating offensive chances and sparking his team. He finished the night with numerous scoring chances and three shots on goal, but none were bigger than his devastating wrister to win the game in overtime. Game winning goals have become a habit for Boucher, who also had back-to-back game winners for New Jersey during his recent recall.
“He had a great game, you want these guys to come down and respond,” Kowalsky said. “That’s how you show them that you want to get back there and belong there. He was competing, he controlled the puck, he was skating, he had some chances, he created some things. His overall effort and compete level was really high. He looked dialed in. He could have had excuses but he didn’t use them.”
Hrabarenka Comes Up Big
It had been a tough, injury plagued start to the season for Hrabarenka. Having missed prolonged time had made it difficult for him, but with each game he seems to get a little more into the flow. Wednesday, Hrabarenka waited until the moment was just right to score his first goal of the season, tying the game with 1:16 left in the third period.
With his team trailing late in the period, he eased his way to the middle of the ice as battle raged on the side boards. Matt Lorito freed the puck and sent it to Hrabarenka, who fired a laser to send the game to overtime.
“He’s gotten better every game,” Kowalsky said. “With the injury, he was out quite a lot of time, getting regular rotations and getting back into game shape is something he has to focus on. When he moves his feet and uses his size, and that shot, he doesn’t need a big slap shot.”
“It felt great I’m happy to score my first goal of the year, I’m happy we got two points,” Hrabarenka said. “We’ve played a solid game for the last couple weeks. We just need to keep it going. I tried to just be open and help out the guys.”