ALBANY, NY — The Albany Devils delivered a little holiday cheer to their home fans with a 4-1 victory against the Providence Bruins Saturday at Times Union Center. Matt Lorito, Brian O’Neill, Graham Black and Corey Tropp scored for the Devils. Scott Wedgewood made 27 saves on 28 shots.
Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s action:
GAME DELAYED FOR NEARLY 90 MINUTES
The start of thegame was delayed from its scheduled start time of 5 pm after a suspicious package was spotted underneath a car outside Times Union Center. The building was evacuated and players, staff and fans waited outside until the New York State Troopers and Albany Police Department determined there was no threat. The game began at 6:25 pm and both teams seem to struggle to find rhythm. It took about half the period for the Devils to get their offense going.
“We just got out of the building,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “Most of our guys were ready, actually most of our guys had their skates on and they were either half dressed or fully dressed. We came in, gave them 20 minutes and then warmups.It was a pretty quick turnaround. We managed to get out there and win a hockey game. “
“You have to make sure you warm up properly after the delay and then focus on getting off to a good start,” said Brian O’Neill. “Mentally it’s a bit challenging because you have to refocus.”
Scott Wedgewood had a highlight reel night between the pipes. He was tested early and often, making numerous incredible saves. He flashed his glove on several golden chances, used his stick to break up plays and denied opportunities late with his pads.
“We’re a little fragile right now,” Kowalsky said. “We haven’t had a lead in four games now, all four of those losses. It was important to have a good start. Wedgewood made some saves early to bail us out. When we’ve been winning games that’s what we’ve been getting.”
“I was ready to play” Wedegwood said. “As things happened, I felt good.”
The Devils won their seventh-straight home game dating back to Nov. 25 against Bridgeport. The Devils, who had lost four straight on the road, needed a strong team performance and got a great effort from everyone. The Devils have been nearly unbeatable at home posting an 11-2-1-0 record, which is good for second in the league. No matter how the team has played a return home has set them back on the right course.
Paul Thompson extended his home point streak to seven games with a third period assist. Matt Lorito broke out of a five-game point slump and two more Devils (Graham Black and Brian O’Neill) picked up their first goals of the year.