In Rinkside Roundup the 2011 version of the New Jersey Devils continues to impress. At home they took care of the Florida Panthers and ended their Scott Clemmensen hex with a strong 5-2 victory.
Ilya Kovalchuk got the Devils on the board with a deflection off a shot from Andy Greene, ex-Rat Travis Zajac also picked up a secondary assist on Kovalchuk’s 14th of the year. With only two seconds remaining in the first Jason Arnott backhanded his first of two goals past Clemmer the ex-Rats keeper who made just six stops and didn’t stick around long. Adam Mair and former Albany Devil Mark Fayne assisted on the tally.
Moving to the second one-time River Rat Brian Rolston one-timed his fifth of the year into the cage on the power-play from Kovalchuk and another ex-Rat David Clarkson. A bit later in the same frame another former River Rat and Devils All-Star Patrik Elias ripped a sharp angle shot into the twine for a power-play tally of his own from Rolston and Kovalchuk for his 13th.
In the third Arnott salted the contest away with a win with an empty net score. Martin Brodeur the former Utica Devil made 24 saves to help New Jersey to their fourth straight win.
Other local action saw the Buffalo Sabres exact some payback on the New York Islanders. A big three goal third made all the difference for a 5-3 Buffalo win on the Island. Ryan Miller had 34 saves, Tyler Ennis, Tyler Myers and Nathan Gerbe who had two goals in five seconds in the two clubs last meeting, all had a goal and an assist for the Sabres. Matt Moulson netted two goals for New York in the loss.
From Chicago a re-match of last year’s Stanley Cup Finals, the Philadelphia Flyers gained some satisfaction with help from two goals and an assist from Jeff Carter, one a pretty mid-air re-direct to help Philly down Chicago 4-1. Claude Giroux also added three helpers to aid the Flyers cause. Marian Hossa’s penalty shot was the Blackhawks lone marker.
Former Albany River Rat Niclas Bergfors picked up his 17th assist on the year for the Atlanta Thrashers, but it was only a small consolation in a long night which saw the Lightning blast them 7-1 in Tampa.
Around the “A”
The Charlotte Checkers road warrior status continues to gain traction as they improved to 12-2 in their last 14 away from home, smoking the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins 9-5. The former Albany River Rats who swept the Penguins in the first round of last year’s Calder Cup playoffs made a statement on Sunday. How most of these guys are not on the NHL Carolina Hurricanes is beyond me.
Zach Boychuk recorded a hat-trick and an assist, while Zac Dalpe from “The Ohio State” added four helpers. Casey Borer was a +4 with two assists. Jacob Micflicker tallied his 19th. Bryan Rodney had a goal and an assist, as did Drayson Bowman. Former Adirondack Phantom Jon Matsumoto posted a goal and an assist. Other former Rats getting on the board included Chris Terry and Nicolas Blanchard with a pair of assists each. Brett Carson a +3 and Oscar Osala had helpers as well. The Checkers registered four power-play tallies on the day.
A pair of former Rats help the Manitoba Moose to a 5-3 victory over the Abbotsford Heat. Defenseman Mark Flood notched his fifth goal of the year on the power-play to tie the game at 2-2 in the second. Moose keeper Tyler Weiman stopped 29 of 32 for the win.
Altamont, NY native and Worcester Sharks defenseman Jay Leach picked up his first goal of the year during a four goal Sharks rally in the third. It was a game that also saw one-time Albany River Rats Captain Tim Conboy involved in a couple of brawls, one of which involved Leach. Ultimately it was Conboy’s Portland Pirates coming out on top in a 5-4 shootout.
A couple of one-time Albany River Rats got on the board in a tilt between the Adirondack Phantoms and Hershey Bears. Michael Ryan notched his eleventh for the lone Phantoms tally. While Sheldon Souray put home his second of the year in a 5-1 Bears win.
Finally former RPI standout Jerry D’Amigo recorded an assist as the Toronto Marlies doubled up the Houston Aeros 4-2.