Archive for October, 2009

Game 6: Trentonian Game Story

October 31, 2009

Here’s the link to my game story in today’s Trentonian.  The entered/entering faux pas in the fourth paragraph is my fault, the “Lowell T-Devils” thing was an editing snafu and not any wishful thinking/foreshadowing on my part.

If you thought it was good, send them an e-mail and let them you know you liked it.  Might help me get some extra work. 

And if you thought it sucked, tell them that too.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 6: Post-Game Notes

October 31, 2009

First off, thanks to everyone for the kind words about the Trentonian gig.  I’ve covered 661 pro games all over the place over my seven year career, but I’ve never written on deadline before, never written for a daily before and never had to write a game story for the next day before.

So, while I’d need to work out a few kinks in how I went about things, the game story you’ll see online and in tomorrow’s paper should be decent.  Obviously, I shoot for better than just decent, but I always look back at my work and think of about 20,000 thing I could/would change regardless.

Anyway, you don’t care about that.  You care about the game.

First off, I got some really good pictures before the game…better than usual.  Don’t know why I can’t do this every night.  Sometimes I’ll just shoot and shoot and shoot and get nothing.  So here are those…

caruso

Dave Caruso

coleman

Gerald Coleman

kucharski

Kyle Kucharski

zancanaro

Tony Zancanaro

Next up, here’s some audio from Dan Eves and Rick Kowalsky.  Click on their names to download and listen.  Neither file is too big, so it’ll only take a second.

As for my thoughts on the game…well, I thought it wasn’t as close as the score indicated.  I know the power play didn’t actually score, but it was much, much better than what it had been over the past few games, where there didn’t seem to be too much of a system in place — or a system that guys were actually following.  The puck possession was impressive.

Thought Justin Pender struggled out there a bit.  He made some bad decisions and looked a step off at times.

Was nice to see Myles Stoesz get on the scoresheet for the right reasons.  He got an assist on Tony Zancanaro’s goal, and actually got a breakaway when he was coming out of the penalty box.  Now, if he could just stay out of there…

Justin Coutu has shown a lot of improvement from last season.  I still freak out every time he misses a delay of game penalty by an inch when he clears the puck off the glass, but he’s become more disciplined than he was last year and seems to have become more sound overall.

Gerald Coleman had a really strong game.  He got tested quite a few times, and the only goals he gave up were rebounds he had no chance on.  Those are the kind of performances they’ll need from him to keep this team in contention for a playoff spot.

Dan Eves and Trevor Kell both had strong games offensively, I thought.  Eves said after the game that he didn’t get the second goal — it was initially credited to him — and that he went to the referee to get it changed.

Johnstown…wow.  I hear their hockey operations are on a pretty tight budget, and it shows.  I wonder if their new affiliation with the Wild will lead to a bit of a roster overhaul, because it would seem they need it.  Kris Mayotte was regarded as one of the best goalies in the league last year, and he flat out hasn’t looked good either time I’ve seen him this year.  Thought the hook was a little early tonight, but if you listen to the audio with Rick Kowalsky tonight and other nights, you know that he thinks there’s some magic to the goalie change.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Trenton Makes, The Trentonian Takes? No, That’s Lame…

October 30, 2009

…well, I’ll have to do better than that tonight, as I’ll be writing the game story for the Trentonian.  Seeing how they’re paying me for a game story — which will be the first time in two seasons I’ve been paid to cover this team, for the record — I won’t be doing any live blogging tonight.

I’d encourage you to listen to Dan D’Uva’s broadcast online, or actually…oh, I don’t know, come out to the game.

As for the blog, well…all is not lost.  Anything I didn’t end up using for the Trentonian — quotes, photos, audio, videos, etc. — will be up and posted after the game.

If anyone has any questions during the game or anything, I’ll be happy to answer them.  Just send me an e-mail.

In the meantime, I promise that I will never make another crack about attendance if the T-Devils wear these just once.  Once.  All I’m asking.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Cohen Called Up To Lowell

October 29, 2009

A relatively weak defensive core has suffered another blow, as Matt Cohen has been summoned back to Lowell after just two games with Trenton.

Cohen’s power play wrist shot seemed to have eyes last night, finding a hole through Wheeling goalie Jordan Parise and cutting Trenton’s deficit to just two goals.  It seemed to spark a third period rally, allowing the team to come all the way back to force a 5-5 tie, overtime and eventually a shootout.

Cohen started the season with Lowell, the Devils AHL affiliate, and played in five games without recording a point before being sent back down to Trenton.

Last night’s power play goal was the only tally Cohen recorded in two games with the team, although he did post a 12-35-47 line with the T-Devils last season.

Matt Torti, who was a healthy scratch last night, will most likely jump back into the lineup for tomorrow night’s tilt against the Johnstown Chiefs, who also have some defensive news of their own.

The Chiefs, who recently announced a working agreement with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, have brought back Trevor Hendrikx.  He is expected to make like Barney Stinson and “suit up” for the Chiefs on Friday.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

A Few Thoughts From A Crazy Game…

October 28, 2009

– If you’re looking for shootout videos and audio from Adam Berkhoel, Thomas Harrison and Rick Kowalsky, check the post below this one.

– I said this in the game thread itself, but that one had a little bit of everything.  Three fights, four goalies, ten goals and a shootout.  The crowd, announced at 1,216, but much closer to 500, certainly got their money’s worth.

– Where to even begin in breaking down the game?  Dave Caruso played pretty well during the first period, but seemed to fall apart in the second.  He’s having some Jason Smith moments out there — not a compliment — and he isn’t making the big save.  Dan D’Uva asked me inbetween periods on the air about which of Trenton’s two goalies are under more pressure, and I answered with Caruso.  Considering he’s on an ECHL deal, is clearly the sixth goalie in the organization, is back in the ECHL after a full year in the AHL last year and is surely aware that Jeff Lerg is slowly recovering from a knee injury, he’s got to know it’s time to put up some numbers.  This can’t be the Gerald Coleman show.  They can’t run him into the ground like they did last year.

–Want a wacky statistical anomaly I’ve never seen before?  Gerald Coleman has played one game for the T-Devils this year.  He’s got a loss, a 0.00 GAA and a 1.000 save percentage.  Never thought I’d see a goalie with a loss and perfect numbers.

– I would STRONGLY encourage you to listen to the audio, especially with Rick Kowalsky.  Felt like it was some of my better post-game work.  Something I wish I’d asked about, though, were his choices in the shootout.  I loved his choice of Tim Kunes, but didn’t understand why Mike Harder was out there.  I would have liked to have seen Brett Wilson rewarded for his strong game, or Kory Nagy or Jeremy Akeson. 

– For as much as he plugged up the line he was on in Trenton last year, Thomas Harrison seems to have greatly improved his skating.  He still has some work to do with his hands — skill wise, not fighting wise — but he seems to have made great strides with Wheeling and has been publicly applauded by his coach for his effort. 

– Myles Stoesz could learn a lesson from Justin Coutu.  When Coutu first arrived with the Devils last year, he took a few dumb penalties in trying to provide a spark for his team.  Tonight, Coutu tried to spark his team by dropping the gloves after a faceoff that took place right after a goal.  Stoesz tried to spark his with a late hit on an icing. 

Stoesz has put the T-Devils shorthanded a few times this year with some questionable play, and Kowalsky told me after the game that he has to be smarter about the way he goes about doing things.  I think Stoesz is a really solid fighter who can skate and has some — limited sure, but some — offensive ability.  But he’s got to keep his head in the game and not put his team in bad positions like that.

– Trenton’s power play could also learn a lesson from what Wheeling did as well.  The Nailers were absolutely commanding with the puck around the perimeter, and seemed to pass the puck with ease while trying to set up their chances.  On the power play and even in general, the Devils don’t always seem to have much of a system set up…I’m sure they do, but it seems a lot of guys are doing their own thing at times.

– Expect Gerald Coleman to start for Trenton on Friday.  That was the plan all along, even before Caruso gave up five goals tonight.

– I’d have to see the replay another time, but there was some talk that the play where Jeff Prough was cross-checked into the net and somehow called for a slash should have been called a goal.  Watching the play live, I thought that the net came off before the puck went in…but there was some talk in the room after the game that it was a goal.

– With that said, the officiating seemed spotty tonight.  Icings were called off with seemingly no reason, and then called when players seemed to deflect or tip the puck at the red line.  One play was called dead after it was touched with a high stick when the ref whistled it dead while one of the linseman had clearly signaled it was OK to play. 

– What was the deal with the Zamboni inbetween OT and the shootout?  Seemed the Nailers bench was yelling at the driver, and the referee had to tell him where to scrape.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 5: Post-Game Info (AUDIO, VIDEO)

October 28, 2009

AUDIO NOW POSTED: See bottom of the post

First off, here are videos from all the shootout attempts tonight…

R1: Jeff Prough

R1: Pierce Norton

R2: Trevor Kell

R2: Mitch Ganzak

R3: Tim Kunes

R3: Joey Haddad

R4: Mike Harder

R4: Andrew Lord

———–

And now, click on each player’s name to download and listen to their post-game interviews:

Wheeling goalie Adam Berkhoel (1:23)

Wheeling forward Thomas Harrison (0:43)

Trenton head coach Rick Kowalsky (5:17)

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 5: Wheeling @ Trenton

October 28, 2009

Pre-Game Notes (LIVE from SBA): 3:45 PM — It’s my civic duty to cover this game, you know.  Why?  Because someone needs to document that it actually happened.  As I’m sure you all know, today is Game 1 of the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees.  As such, absolutely, positively nobody is going to be here.

So my coverage may very well be some of the only documentation you ever see on this game that’s set to take place at 7 PM.  I will say this…if you don’t have tickets to the game tonight — and if you do, you sure as hell aren’t reading this — this might not be a bad place to come and watch the game.  You’ve got a live sporting event in front of you, and TV’s that will — if anyone in the place has any sense — be tuned to baseball.

News?  I have no news.  I’ve been the only person in this press box for a half hour now.  Don’t know who’s in net for either team…although, the goalie nerd in me is excited that either Jordan Parise or Adam Berkhoel will play for Wheeling.  I’ve seen Berkhoel and Parise back up in the AHL, but I’ve never seen either play.

berkhoel3

Adam Berkhoel (Photo: Ashmore, 2008)

And I’d have to assume that Gerald Coleman will get the game tonight for Trenton, but I may not know that until warmups start at around 6:25 or so.

4:50 PM — If Wheeling sticks with their goalie rotation, you may see Jordan Parise tonight for the Nailers.  As Wheeling’s radio broadcaster pointed out, it would be an interesting story considering his Devils ties.  Thomas Harrison is here, active and will play as well.

5:45 PM — Jordan Parise in net for Wheeling tonight.

5:50 PM — There’s a 15-piece or so band behind the goal.  They’re loud.  Makes for easy working conditions here between that and the music blaring for no one inparticular.

5:55 PM — Gerald Coleman will wear his familiar #39.  John Wessbecker, whenever he recovers from his mystery injury, will wear #33.

6:00 PM — Dave Caruso in net for Trenton.

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 Dan D’Uva’s radio broadcast of tonight’s game.

First Period: Wheeling’s starters…

Parise
Caffaro Schmidt
Clarke Norton Pierro-Zabotel

Trenton starters…

(The prematurely announced) Caruso
Cohen Leaderer
Kell Nagy Akeson

17:00 left — Closest thing I’ve seen to a scoring chance or shot on goal is an Aaron Clarke shot that went wide to Caruso’s glove side…not too much going on here early.

15:15 left — Have seen a couple shifts out of Wilson now…skates hard, seems to have a lot of speed.  Haven’t really seen him with the puck yet.

14:45 left — Soft goal on Parise, as Kyle Kucharski beats him through the legs with a wrister that  never left the ice off the rush up the right side.  1-0, Devils.

14:17 left — Wheeling ties it right back up.  Both shots in this game have gone in.  Clarke gets the goal…he’s a very, very nice player at this level.  1-1.

11:28 left — A lot of dump and glide hockey being played right now.  Still only two total shots recorded in this one.

9:23 left — It’s playing like four on four out there now.  Lots of end to end play and rushes.  Each team with two shots as we head into the “TV timeout.”  1-1 game still.

8:57 left — Pretty wild series of events there, as the puck must have been either sitting around the crease or in the air near it for a good 15 seconds.  But Caruso covers and slows it down…

8:40 left — Dan Eves skated right around Alex Grant for a nice 2-on-1, but the T-Devils couldn’t convert…

8:07 left — The first power play of the game goes to the Nailers, as Jeremy Akeson gets called for a slash.

6:21 left — The Nailers scored and they deserved it.  Grant fired a slapshot from about three feet inside the blueline from the center of the ice and it snuck in past Caruso on a tip by T.J. Fox.  2-1, Nailers.

3:53 left — Wilson with a nifty little backhand pass to Jeff Prough…Prough’s initial shot is blocked, but he follows it and appears to score.  However, the net seemed to clearly come off before the puck went in…that, and Prough was called with a slash.  Wow.  Power play to Wheeling.  Having seen the replay, it must have been very hard for Prough to slash anyone considering he was cross-checked from behind into the net.

3:05 left — Wheeling’s power play…very smooth.  They really control the perimeter well.

2:38 left — 5-on-3.  Dan Eves with a trip.

2:14 left — Long 5-on-3 now.  Dave Leaderer with a slash.

2-1, NAILERS AFTER ONE.  GREAT JOB BY TRENTON AND DAVE CARUSO TO KILL OFF MOST OF THE EXTENDED POWER PLAY THERE, BUT THERE’S STILL SEVEN SECONDS LEFT TO GO IN THE MAN ADVANTAGE HEADING INTO THE SECOND.

Second Period: Shots are 14-6, Nailers, heading into the second…

20:00 left — A bit of a delay to start the period.  The ice always looks a little too wet after the mites games inbetween periods seem to run long, and I imagine that’s what’s going on here. 

19:30 left — After consulting with both goalies, the refs start the period.  Casey Pierro-Zabotel, after an icing was inexplicably waved off, juuuuuuuust missed the top right corner on a rebound attempt.

18:05 left — I guess it goes without saying with the amount of people that are here, but there is NO energy in this place tonight whatsoever.

15:40 left — Nice deflection by Wilson there, but he almost slowed it down too much, and Parise was able to get his right pad on it.

14:59 left — Nice save by Caruso there, as he wasn’t fooled by Thomas Beauregard’s wrister through the D’s legs.

14:47 left — Well, that got nasty quickly.  Stoesz and Harrison drop the gloves, as do Eves and Schnell.  Looked like Trenton iced the puck and Stoesz laid a late hit on the Nailer who touched up…it sounded as though one of the refs may have waved off the icing at the last second, either that or someone was telling Stoesz to ease up, but who knows.  Either way, full scale mess here.  Everyone drops the gloves.  Stoesz gets an additional minor for boarding.  Both Eves and Schnell get game misconducts, likely for a secondary fight after the first was over.  Stoesz…quite possibly the least disciplined player I’ve seen here.  He costs his team yet again.  Good fighter and all, but he plays over the edge way too often.

9:15 left — Wilson does a nice job of shielding the puck on his backhand and firing off a shot up the right side on a rush…save Parise, his eighth of the evening.

8:35 left — And Wheeling may have put this one out of reach with their third goal.  Beauregard gets the goal, assisted by Fox and Clarke.

8:34 left — Justin Coutu tries to spark something by dropping the gloves with Cliff Loya.  Not much of a fight, but he did it the right way.

7:38 left — Kucharski was in on the doorstep, but his shot was blocked and went into the netting…

7:33 left — Rick Kowalsky upset with a non-call on what seemed like an interference penalty…you could hear him from up here, and see him make a gesture at the ref wondering where the call was.

7:09 left — Rick got his call.  Wheeling’s shorthanded after Kevin Schmidt takes a minor.  Can Trenton’s power play — 1 for 25 on the year — get it done?

6:42 left — They can!  On a series of broken plays, really, Tim Kunes collects a missed pass and fires it past Parise to make it a 3-2 game.  It wasn’t clear if the puck hit something on it’s way in, but it seemed to fool Parise a bit.  3-2, Nailers.

5:43 left — So much for that momentum.  Andy Thomas in the box for holding behind the net.

5:36 left — It’s evened up, as Fox gets called for a hold of his own.

5:00 left — Jeff Prough cut across the crease on his backhand and got a shot off, but really had no angle and Parise made the easy stop.

3:52 left — Corey Couturier beats Caruso through his right side with a little wrister off the rush.  4-2, Nailers.  This team just cannot maintain any momentum.

2:49 left — Mike Harder looking a little sluggish at the end of the period…he had a chance to make a nice head man pass up the left side and instead carried it in for what ended up being a turnover.

1:02 left — Well, it’s a shooting gallery on Caruso.  Wheeling gets another one, and it’s 5-2.  Beauregard strikes again.

5-2, NAILERS AFTER TWO.  22-12 LEAD IN SHOTS FOR THEM AS WELL.  DEVILS LOOKING ABSOLUTELY FLAT.

Third Period: Shots “adjusted” to 22-16 for Wheeling after two.  Was on the radio with Dan D’Uva for about five minutes inbetween periods there.

20:00 left — Gerald Coleman will start the third in goal for Trenton.  Caruso is on the bench. Coleman gets a nice round of applause before the period.

Also, Trevor Kell has been credited with the second Devils goal.

17:54 left — Power play for Trenton.  Alex Grant’s in the box for Wheeling.

15:57 left — Matt Cohen with a hard wrister from inside the blue line that beats Parise glove side, top corner.  It’s now 5-3, Nailers.  Lots of time left.  Must have been through a screen or something, because that seemed like one he might like to have back, too.  Two…count em’, TWO goals on the power play tonight.  5-3, Wheeling.

14:30 left — Someone is going to have to explain to me how an icing can get waved off when the puck is about five feet away from crossing the line and Kyle Kucharski is right around the faceoff dot chasing it…

12:53 left — Wow.  It ain’t over yet, kids.  Tim Kunes stuffs it to make it a 5-4 game.  Jordan Parise was pulled immediately, and Adam Berkhoel is now between the pipes for Wheeling.  Keep in mind, he was pulled with the lead.

11:39 left — WE’RE TIED!!!  JEREMY AKESON FROM AN IMPOSSIBLE ANGLE FROM THE LEFT CORNER OFF A REBOUND, AND IT’S TIED AT FIVE.  CARUSO’S OFF THE HOOK, PARISE’S LOST THE WIN.  IT’S A WHOLE NEW GAME.  THIS IS THE KIND OF WIN THAT COULD REALLY, REALLY TAKE THIS TEAM FAR IF THEY CAN GET IT.

10:37 left — Stoesz comes in somewhat all alone up the left side, but Berkhoel robs him with the glove.  Three fights, four goalies, ten goals…this one’s had a little bit of everything.

9:40 left — Thomas Harrison very, very pissed off on his way into the box.  There was a scrum in front of Coleman, and he was very animated with the refs on his way in the box.  He’s still standing up and yapping at the ref.  Power play, Trenton.

6:45 left — Justin Coutu is a delay of game penalty waiting to happen.  That’s twice this game he’s baaaaaaaaarely missed shooting it over the glass in his own zone.

5:02 left — This officiating crew.  Yikes.

3:10 left — Prough gets away with a bad giveaway near his own bench…

1:15 left — Big scramble in front of Berkhoel there, but Trenton can’t get off a good chance.

Overtime: We’re heading into overtime here.  34 shots for Trenton, 28 for Wheeling.  Trenton absolutely stole at least a point based on how the first two periods went, especially the second.

5:00 left — Nagy, Prough, Cohen and Kunes start out OT for Trenton.

3:45 left — Nice little snapshot off the rush by Akeson, and a glove save by Berkhoel…but Akeson had someone cutting up on the right side, he’s got to put that shot low off the pads for a rebound.

3:36 left — Couturier fires over everything and into the netting…he was trying to go over Colesy’s blocker.

2:15 left — Another nice glove save by Berkhoel on Akeson.  Akeson, Kell, Prough and Nagy appear to be the four forwards Kowalsky is sticking with here.

2:00 left — Of course, Zancanaro and Wilson are out there now…

29.1 left — Wheeling calls their timeout after they take an icing…

GOING TO A SHOOTOUT HERE IN TRENTON.  5-5.

Shootout:

TRE – PROUGH – SAVE

WHE – NORTON – GOAL

TRE – KELL – HIT POST

WHE – GANZAK – SAVE

TRE – KUNES – GOAL

WHE – HADDAD – GOAL

TRE – HARDER – SAVE

WHE – LORD – GOAL

Three Stars:

* Beauregard

** Lord

*** Kell

My vote: GWG – Beauregard – Akeson

Final Score: 6-5, Nailers

Post-Game Notes:

Pre-Game Photos:

berkhoel

Adam Berkhoel

berkhoel2

Berkhoel

coleman

Gerald Coleman

fox

T.J. Fox

harrison

Thomas Harrison

parise

Jordan Parise

parise2

Parise

wilson

Brett Wilson

In-Game Videos:

Fight Videos:

Next Game: Friday at SBA vs. Johnstown

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Coleman Sent Down From Lowell

October 27, 2009

coleman21The Trenton Devils have received goaltender Gerald Coleman from AHL Lowell.  With three goaltenders there and Mike McKenna getting off to a hot start, the move seemed inevitable.

Coleman played in three games for Lowell this season, going 1-2 with a 4.28 GAA and 87.3 save percentage.

The real numbers to look at here are what he did for Trenton last season…after coming over from Phoenix, Coleman posted a 28-7-2 mark with a 2.38 goals against average and 91.5 save percentage.  He was in contention for the league’s Goalie of the Year Award, and was largely credited with turning Trenton’s season completely around.

Coleman will undoubtedly take over the starting reigns from Dave Caruso, but also gives Trenton a very solid 1-2 combo in net.

In other news, defenseman John Wessbecker was placed on the IR without having played a game.  Perhaps he is suffering from a wicked case of jetlag or indigestion from the Taco Bell next to the arena.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Tons of Trenton Transactions

October 27, 2009

The ECHL transactions report was filled with information yesterday, as no less than six separate moves were made.

The first was that the club has signed defenseman John Wessbecker to a contract.

Wessbecker attended camp with the Florida Everblades earlier this season and spent four years at UMass-Amherst.  He posted a line of 2-10-12 in four seasons and 123 games.  He, uhhh…seems to be a defensive defenseman, and is a former draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning.  His first game for Trenton will mark his pro debut.

Secondly, and this was reported yesterday, the team has now officially acquired winger Brett Wilson from the Las Vegas Wranglers.

Additionally, the club has again released emergency backup goaltender Anthony Felice — uhhh, maybe they’re going to give Matt Conti a call for Wednesday? — placed Gord Burnett on the 3-day IR and moved Jon Howse and Chris Murray to the 21-day IR.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Trenton Acquires Former Princeton Tiger Wilson

October 26, 2009

princeton

Las Vegas has traded forward Brett Wilson to the Trenton Devils, likely for a player to be named never or the ever popular “future considerations.”

Wilson, who was dealt after being activated off of IR, had yet to play for the Wranglers after a four-year college career that saw him tally 46 goals in 127 games at Princeton.

I’ve seen Wilson play a handful of times — he scored two goals and added an assist in three games I was at where he played — and he should be a welcome addition to the team. I wonder if he may push for another Princeton Tigers alum, Lee Jubinville, to be added to the team. Jubinville was recently released by the Florida Everblades out of camp and showed he was a pretty skilled playmaker while playing in the ECAC.

Jubinville is currently with the Texas Brahmas in the CHL.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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