ALBANY, NY — Mike Sislo showed why he was named to the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic roster, posting his second consecutive three point effort, leading the Albany Devils two a 4-2 win against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The victory was Albany’s 10th straight on home ice and sixth straight overall.
Here are three thoughts on Saturday’s game:
Power-Play Back On Track
The Devils power-play had slipped from its place at the top of the league in recent weeks, but has come alive of late. That culminated in a 2-4 performance Saturday giving the Devils two huge goals shortly after the Phantoms had tied the game. Pietila scored on a redirect in front and O’Neill put in a backdoor goal on a five-on-three for the game winner.
“They had a lot of zone time for the first half of the game, in the second period we capitalized on the power play, got a little momentum, started to feel a better about ourselves,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “We talked about simplifying the power-play a bit. We started moving guys around, Kujawinski, Pietila, Black, these are guys who haven’t gotten much power-play time. Pietila just parks himself in front of the net and we just put pucks on net.”
Wedgewood Gaining Momentum
Scott Wedgewood continued his run of outstanding performances with an 26 save night. The victory stretched his personal win streak to four games. He was relied on early and often, making 12 first period stops as his team found their legs. Wedgewood didn’t wow the crowd with any sensational saves, but relied on good positioning and quick reflexes to deny the Phantoms. Wedgewood is now 5-1-0-0 on the season and has a .927 save percentage.
“Anytime you get good goaltending, as a team you feel more confident,” Scarlett said. “Even if you do make a mistake, Danis and Wedge are going to be there for you. As a team, it’s nice to know that you’ve got someone back there who’s going to back you up.”
Players Step Up
With yet another call-up Saturday in the form of Joseph Blandisi, who had five assists in his last two games, the Devils found themselves with just enough bodies to ice a full team. With so many players missing it was on the team’s depth to carry it through. It’s been an inconsistent lineup all season and players are growing accustomed to it.
“We know that other guys have to step up, take their spots and fill their roles,” Helgeson said. “We take pride in it. We need to do that in order to win.”
“Our system is so ingrained into us that it doesn’t really matter who is playing,” Scarlett said. “It’s just a matter of playing as a team and sticking to our system.”