Archive for February, 2009

Devils Comeback Falls Short In Wheeling

February 28, 2009

Trenton lost 3-2 in Wheeling…

A few things of note before Paul’s press release hits my inbox…

Chris Dyment still isn’t back, so the team has evidently signed Mike Wilson.  He wore #12 tonight and assisted on both goals…Eves and Castonguay would get the tallies tonight.  Even with Wilson though, Trenton still only dressed five D.

Doing a little research, Wilson is a 34-year-old former first round pick of the Canucks with 336 games of NHL experience.  He’s played for Buffalo, Florida, Pittsburgh and the Rangers, and last played in 2005-06 overseas.

Trenton had 47 shots, but David Brown stopped 45 of them in his return to Wheeling.  The loss moved Trenton into a tie for the last playoff spot in the division with Wheeling. 

More later…

(WHEELING PR) Bryan Ewing got his team off to a fast start and the Wheeling Nailers defeated the Trenton Devils for a third time in as many games in front of a sellout crowd of 5,403 at WesBanco Arena.

Ewing scored his league-leading sixth shorthanded goal of the season at the 2:47 mark of the first period on an assist from Reid Cashman to give Wheeling an early lead. Defenseman Brock Sheahan extended that lead to two goals minutes later when he scored on a hard slapper from the blue line. Sheahan’s shot came off of a faceoff that was cleanly won by Andrew Lord.

 

Trenton got back into it early in the second frame when Dan Eves got a puck past Nailer goaltender David Brown. The shot came off of a rebound, and Jeff Prough and Mike Wilson were credited with the assists. Cashman made it a 2-goal game again with less than two minutes remaining in the second frame when he blasted home a one-time for his fifth marker of the season. Bo Cheesman and Lord assisted on Cashman’s goal. 

Trenton scored its second goal of the game with its goaltender pulled and only 17 seconds remaining in the contest. Wheeling goalie Brown, who playing in his first game Saturday since Jan. 10 due to an injury, was spectacular all game. He made 45 total saves, 21 of which came in the third period alone, and was named the No. 1 star of the game.Trenton, which has the No. 1 power play unit in the ECHL, went 0-for-7 on the man advantage, while Wheeling was 0-for-2.

Tutalo Returns

February 27, 2009

tutalo1

The Trenton Devils, shorthanded following the suspension of Kevin Cormier and Wheeling waiver claim of Tim Judy, have brought back forward Chris Tutalo.

Tutalo, 21, lasted just six games in his first stint with Trenton this season, scoring two goals and accumulating six penalty minutes.

Following his departure from Trenton, he latched on with the SPHL’s Twin City Cyclones, where he went 4-12-16 in 41 contests.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Judy Claimed By Wheeling

February 26, 2009

The latest ECHL transactions report just hit my inbox, and it would appear that the Wheeling Nailers have claimed now former Trenton Devils defenseman Tim Judy.

Judy, released yesterday from his latest contract, had an assist and eight penalty minutes in six games for the T-Devils this season.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Cormier Suspended, Plus…

February 26, 2009

(PR) The ECHL announced that Trenton forward Kevin Cormier has been suspended for two games and fined an undisclosed amount as a result of his actions in ECHL Game #623 against Wheeling on Feb. 24.

Cormier was assessed a Match Penalty under Rule 21.1 Deliberate Attempt To Injure at 4:50 of the second period.

He is automatically suspended for one game and fined as a result of the Match Penalty and is suspended one game under Rule 29 Supplemental Discipline.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the ECHL and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association, player fines collected by the ECHL are given to the PHPA for its ECHL Player’s Hardship Fund.

Cormier will miss Trenton’s games at Wheeling (Feb. 28 and Mar. 1).

Wheeling’s Mitch Ganzak was fined an undisclosed amount, but not suspended. That sure sends an interesting message…spearing someone in the groin is OK, but the retaliation for it is where they have an issue.

Also, Tim Judy was again released from his contract. With the team shorthanded, I’d expect him to return.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 54: Post-Game AUDIO

February 24, 2009

Click here to download and listen to our post-game chat with Rick Kowalsky.  Listen as I choke on my gum while asking about the goaltending situation, always a lovely moment.

Obviously, the consensus was that the goaltending was one of the main themes of the game and the past few games, hence the amount of questions regarding that.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 54: Wheeling @ Trenton

February 24, 2009

Pre-Game Notes (LIVE from SBA): 5:55 PM — As the Devils approach a pretty key stretch in their playoff drive, it looks like they’ll be doing it without defenseman Matt Cohen, who’s been summoned to AHL Lowell. Cohen was 11-25-36 in 45 games with Trenton this season, including an All-Star nod.

The team will also be without captain Chris Dyment, who is attending to the birth of his child. So the team will have five defensemen dressed tonight.

No idea on the goalie matchup…wouldn’t be surprised by either Effinger or Coleman, to be honest.

6:25 PM — Your goalie matchup is Gerald Coleman vs. Curtis Darling

And for anyone wondering if the arena is packed and reveling in the afterglow of Scott Bertoli Night…ummm, no. Not so much. Also, take a good look at the scoreboard…this’ll be its last game before its replaced in time for the March 13th game against Reading.

Around The ECHL:

Around The Division:

Live Box Score: Click here for the ECHL.com updated boxscore from tonight’s game.

Radio Broadcast: Click here to listen to Paul Roper’s radio broadcast of tonight’s game.

First Period:

Your starters, courtesy of Butch Seltzer…

Coleman
Coutu-Gunderson
Radoslovich-Prough-Akeson

300 of my closest friends appear to have joined me for this one…not a particularly big crowd tonight, said the man good at understating things.

16:20 left — Bad giveaway by Gerald Coleman leads to an easy Andrew Lord goal…he simply skated in from the left side, walked aound Coleman and stuffed it in the right side of the net.  Seems Coleman is good for a few stickhandling miscues a game.  1-0, Nailers.

5:57 left — Trenton ties it back at one on a goal by Jeff Prough…who else?  That’s his 24th of the year.  Assists to Matt Radoslovich and Dylan Quaile.

2:00 left — Dan Eves just went off to the dressing room…no idea what the deal is there.

1:10 left — Andrew Lord scores his second of the game after screening Coleman on the initial shot by Reid Cashman and banging home the rebound on his backhand while off-balance.  Can’t just let him stand in front of the goalie like that…2-1, Wheeling.

2-1, WHEELING AFTER ONE.  SHOTS ARE 12-8, NAILERS.

Second Period: Wheeling’s second goal is officially being credited to Cashman right now…was hard to tell if Lord got it from where we are…

Eves is back…

15:10 left — Dan Eves went down in front of the net on what was apparently a spear…and Kevin Cormier came over and absolutely dumptrucked one of Wheeling’s players, injuring him.  Both Wheeling’s player — I believe it was Mitch Ganzak – and Eves are out of the game, and Cormier was just escorted off…ugly incident here.  Best of all, you can hear eeeeeeverything that’s being said by the fans.  Not a good night for the kiddies.

Ganzak was given a spearing major and a game misconduct, and Cormier was given a match penalty for intent to injure…pretty sure that will earn him a suspension.  If nothing else, with your team down a goal, it was stupid to risk putting them down shorthanded for a long period of time…I’m all for him standing up for a teammate, but that was excessive.

12:45 left — David Leaderer capitalizes on a power play chance by firing a wrister over the glove of Darling from the high slot to tie the game at two.  2-2.

8:16 left — Aaron Clarke gets the lead back for Wheeling on the power play…looked like Coleman came out a little too far to challenge and Clarke just cut across and put one past for the former Lightning goaltender.  3-2, Wheeling.

4:28 left — Wheeling is pretty clearly the better team tonight.  Erik Johnson just took a nice backhand feed from Jordan Morrison and handcuffed Coleman, making it 4-2, Wheeling.  I think you really have to take a look at the logic behind starting Coleman in so many consecutive games at this point…his team is flat in front of him, sure…but he’s a much better goalie than he’s showed in the last few games.

4-2, WHEELING AFTER TWO.  SHOTS ARE 25-17, NAILERS.

Third Period: Here’s hoping Butch Seltzer’s all right after that spill on the ice.  The man is a real professional to come out for the third period in some pretty clear pain.  He’s a first class individual as well.

5:17 left — Justin Coutu makes this one interesting by putting home rebound under a diving Darling to make it a 4-3 game.

Final Score: 4-3, Wheeling

Three Stars:

* Lord

** Darling

*** Prough

My vote: Lord-Darling-Prough

Post-Game Notes:

Pre-Game Photos:

In-Game Videos:

Fight Videos:

Next Game:

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Bertoli Night: The Good, The Nitpicking, And The Ugly

February 23, 2009

All in all, I thought the Trenton organization did a nice job with Scott Bertoli Night.  It was nice to see a lot of people in the building again, for starters.  There were a lot of Titans jerseys, and you could overhear a lot of old friends who hadn’t been there in a while catching up with one another before the game.

I was walking around the concourse during the first intermission, and it was full of people either mingling outside or at the concession stands.  I actually had to wait for about 10 minutes in a line for some Munchkins at Dunkin Donuts…and ummm, yeah that didn’t turn out to be an outstanding idea, but that’s not the point.  The point is, is that there were actually people there on Saturday.  And it was good to see.

THE GOOD

- The ceremony itself was well done.  Despite the fact that you’d rather have someone who actually has some sort of relationship with the guest of honor and isn’t obviously reading off of a sheet — which was my only original criticism of the selection, by the way — Ken Daneyko was tolerable.  The video tribute — both versions — was well done, and I was impressed that they even had some of that old footage. 

- Having been to nine NHL jersey retirements now (Daneyko, Scott Stevens, Harry Howell, Andy Bathgate, Cam Neely, Bob Gainey, Mike Richter, Adam Graves and Mike Gartner) it was very interesting to be a part of one where I got an inside look at all the planning that goes into it.  Jim Leahy and I had several conversations about what this meant to the organization and the ideas they were kicking around for it.  This night meant a lot to a lot of people in this organization, and many people worked very hard to bring it to fruition.

- It was a nice touch to bring in as many of Bertoli’s teammates as they could find, as well as to have Mike Haviland record a video message.

- While I personally don’t think a 9-7 game is that good, the game itself could go a long way towards bringing people back to the SBA as well.  As I said before, SBA hasn’t been the cool place to go for a while — and that’s not indicative of it being a Devils franchise, it’s indicative of Trenton having the second lowest attendance in the league — and maybe a few of the people who either came or came back will want to come again after seeing 16 goals.

THE NITPICKING

- The former players should have been wearing Titans jerseys as well.  Considering the loud ovations that many of the players got from the fans, it would have been nice to see them in uniform one more time.

- The artwork presented to Bertoli had the Trenton Devils logo on it, despite the fact he never played for the “Trenton Devils.”

- Bertoli was not made available to the media, nor were any of his teammates.  I know that 99 percent of the people reading this won’t care, but I’d have to think that there are some people out there who would have liked to have heard from Bertoli about his thoughts on the night, or from some of his teammates on memories of playing with Bertoli.

THE UGLY

- Outside of the free poster that was handed out at the gates, there was no Bertoli merchandise available.  I know there were some talks that there would be a few things available, but there ultimately was not.  When you’ve got over 6,000 people in your arena, and likely more than half of them are there for Bertoli, you could have probably sold Bertoli toilet paper at $10 a roll and sold out within five minutes. 

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

About Last Night…

February 23, 2009

(PR) Kelly Miller scored the deciding goal in the sixth round of the shootout for the Wheeling Nailers as they defeated the Trenton Devils, 5-4, at Sovereign Bank Arena Sunday night. The Devils were able to earn a point after climbing back from a three-goal deficit.

Bryan Ewing started the scoring 12:46 into the contest with his 34th goal of the season, his first against the Devils. He assisted on Billy Ryan’s first professional goal at 17:01 to give Wheeling an early two-goal advantage.

Just 56 seconds later, Brad Snetsinger followed up on his hat trick from the previous night by flipping a shot over the left shoulder of Nailers goaltender Jordan Alford, his 17th goal of the season. The goal put the Devils within one going into the first intermission.

The second period was not a good start for the Devils as they gave up two early goals to the Nailers. Jordan Morrison scored 25 seconds into the stanza and Ewing added his second goal at 2:57, signaling a switch in goal for the Devils as Charlie Effinger came in relief of Gerald Coleman.

The Devils picked up their level of play in the middle of the second, and were duly rewarded, as Scott Bartlett found a loose puck to the right of Alford and fired it in for his fourth goal of the season at 10:55.

Jeremy Akeson pulled the Devils back within a goal on the power play, as the power forward took the puck from behind the net and wrapped it in past Alford at 15:13.

Matt Cohen forced overtime with 6:47 left in regulation as he ripped a shot off the glove of Alford and into the net on the power play, his 11th goal of the season.

Although the Devils controlled the final 25 minutes of play, outshooting the Nailers 25-8 in that stretch, they would fall in the shootout. With the score tied at two in round six, Miller was able to beat Effinger stick side to finish off the Devils.

Cohen, Snetsinger, Eric Castonguay, and Ryan Gunderson each had two-point nights for the Devils. Effinger stopped all 12 shots in his relief appearance to help the Devils earn a point.

Quick Update For Sunday

February 22, 2009

I will not be at the game tonight, instead choosing to watch the Rangers retire the jerseys of Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell…three jersey retirements in two days, not a bad weekend.

I will post Paul Roper’s press release either late tonight or at some point tomorrow, and will cover the game on Tuesday.

To briefly address something in the comments…to suggest in any, way shape or form that my coverage of this team or any event this team has is in any way biased because of the NHL team I follow is nothing short of ridiculous.  This is my seventh year as a sportswriter, and I know how to cover a team in a professional manner…this “job” is no different.

With that said, either the Rangers or Islanders moving their ECHL affiliates closer or the Flyers getting a nearby affiliate could be one of the best things that’s happened to the Trenton Devils franchise. 

I will also post my complete thoughts on Scott Bertoli Night on Monday…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 52: Post-Game AUDIO

February 21, 2009

Download and listen to Rick Kowalsky’s post-game chat here…

Download and listen to Jim Henkel’s post-game comments here…


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