ALBANY, NY — Different goaltender, same result. Ken Appleby made 26 saves to lead the Albany Devils to their second consecutive shutout victory against the Rochester Americans, 3-0, Saturday at Times Union Center.
Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s game:
Appleby Perfect For First Win
Appleby won his first career AHL game with his first shutout, stopping everything thrown at him. He wasn’t flashy, but used good positioning to cut down shooting angles. Appleby saw the puck well and made his best saves in traffic and he controlled rebounds well, preventing quality second chance.
“It feels great to finally get that off my back,” Appleby said. “It’s just good how the guys played tonight; it really helped me out and made my job easy.”
“He was square tonight, he saw the shots, was there and set,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky, “He was ready and his mobility was good in getting square to the shooter. We did a pretty good job of boxing out but there were a couple through traffic that were pretty impressive saves.”
Back to Back Gets Chippy
Coming off a 1-0 the night before, these division rivals came into Saturday’s game with playoff level passion in a regular season setting. The combination lead to a lot of hits and an astounding 106 penalty minutes. Blake Pietila put Justin Kea into the Devils’ bench early in the first period before a pair of early fights. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond and Jack Nevins had an old fashioned throw down. Each man sized up the other before tangling up and throwing huge shots in an extended battle that ranged from one zone to the other. Just over two minutes later Patrick Kaleta and Ben Thompson dropped the gloves to crowd the penalty boxes.
The second period saw more of the same when a big brawl erupted just past the halfway point. Leblond and Kea tangled up after some big hits by both teams. Simultaneously, Brandon Burlon and Jerry D’Amigo scuffled. They took their grudge to the penalty box and we’re both then sent to the locker room with misconducts. Players are both teams were eager to throw the body and weren’t afraid to retaliate all game long.
“It certainly gave them some life but we did a pretty good job with it,” Kowalsky said. “They were definitely looking for a spark there and for most part they had nothing going. We got through that. Burlon got a pretty nasty push and went in hard. When that scrum happened he searched out D’Amigo and and it carried over.”
Devils Jump In Front
After a tight 1-0 victory, the Devils wanted to get on the scoreboard early. Black delivered that lead, putting in a rebound off the goaltender’s mask just 2:20 into the game. Sislo made it 2-0 before the halfway mark of the first period. From there, the Devils were able to dictate play and control the game.
“That was huge,” Black said of his early goal. “It was important for us to get a good start tonight. We really did a good job as a team. We were blocking shots right off the bat and making the simple plays to help us move forward in that game. That was nice to get a bounce like that and plan on just trying to carry some of that momentum into tomorrow.”