TROY, NY — The goalie to goalie coach ratio during the Albany Devils practice Wednesday at Knickerbacker Ice Arena was one-to-one. As usual, Keith Kinkaid and Scott Wedgewood protected the nets under the watchful eye of goaltending coach Dave Caruso. Joining the staff on the ice was former New Jersey netminder Johan Hedberg.
“Dave has done a great job for us so far; the time I had with him last year coming down to see me in Trenton and I see him almost every day here,” Wedgewood said. “Hedberg is someone I watched throughout his career and looked up to. When he was in Jersey and I was in the system to talk to him … he’s very approachable — one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met in the game of hockey and in life.”
Wedgewood is coming off a perfect weekend. He made 21 saves in a 3-0 victory at first-place Springfield for his first career shutout Friday. He followed with five saves in relief against Hershey Sunday.
“It boosted it,” Wedgewood said of what a shutout does to confidence. “You don’t want to get too high on yourself. It’s kind of those situations where you have to keep a level head. Obviously, you have to be happy for yourself and your team. It doesn’t make or break your career. Either way, good game or bad game, you have to get back, do the little things and prepare for the next time you are in the net.”
This season, the 21-year-old is 7-6-1 with a 2.73 goals-against average and an .890 save percentage. Wedgewood made his AHL debut in 2012-13 and became the first netminder in franchise history to win his first two starts. In 20 career AHL games, he is 9-8-1 with a 2.90 goals-against average and an .889 save percentage.
As the Devils enter the second half of the season, they will rely on Wedgewood and Kinkaid because of their hectic schedule. This weekend’s games are a perfect example: at Utica Friday, at Adirondack Saturday and at Hershey Sunday.
“We are going to need him — no question about it,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsly. “This weekend is a prime example: three-in-three with travel. I’ve alway said you need two goaltenders to play well in order for you to have success in this league.”
Wedgewood and the Devils resume skating Thursday morning with another session at Knickerbacker Ice Arena.