Archive for February, 2011

Weak-End

February 27, 2011

(PR) Elmira, NY – Yannick Tifu scored his second goal and fourth point of the game to snap a 3-3 tie with 5:34 remaining in the third period to lead the Elmira Jackals to a 4-3 win over the Trenton Devils Sunday at First Arena. The Jackals scored three power play goals in the second period in extending their lead in the season series, 7-5.

Tifu’s four points give him 20 in 12 games against the Devils this season, while Justin Donati took over the ECHL lead in scoring (74), contributing four points on the afternoon. Marco Cousineau won for the fifth time of the season against the Devils by making 19 saves on 22 shots and the Jackals improved to 25-23-6-1 by winning their third straight game, keeping pace with the Gwinnett Gladiators who won in Reading for eight in the Eastern Conference.

Jeff Lerg made 30 saves for the Devils whose record stands at 21-31-1-4, and they now trail Elmira and Gwinnett by 10 points for the conference’s final playoff spot with 15 games left in the regular season. A bright spot for Trenton in defeat was the play of Matt Vokes who notched his first two-goal game of the season, while Jeremy Akeson scored the Devils’ other goal.

Matt Vokes two-goal effort started with the game-opening score at 11:49 of the first period, when he directed a centering feed by Matt Lombardi from the left-wing corner past an outstretched Cousineau.

A 17-save first period by Jeff Lerg maintained the Devils’ 1-0 lead into the second period, however Yannick Tifu knocked the first shot of the middle stanza off the crossbar and into the net to tie the game, 1-1, 28 seconds into a carryover penalty with Drew Paris and Justin Donati garnering assists.

Less than four minutes later, the trio of Tifu, Paris and Donati struck again on an Elmira power play. This time, Drew Paris was the goal scorer and he beat Lerg with a shot that hit Trenton’s goalie and trickled over the goal line for his third of the year.

Justin Donati potted Elmira’s third power-play goal of the second period by scoring during a five-on-three at 11:45 of the second period.  Donati’s goal came on a hard feed from the right-wing corner that hit Lerg and dribbled over the goal line.

A determined Devils team climbed out of the two-goal hole with two quick strikes in the first five minutes of the third period. Jeremy Akeson started the comeback by finishing a set up by Dave Leaderer, and Matt Vokes drew the Devils even by stuffing in the rebound of a Dan Charleston shot taken from point-blank range in front of the net.

However, the Devils would only be tied with the Jackals for 10:14 as Tifu’s goal with 5:34 remaining in the third period sealed a 4-3 Elmira win, their third in a row since Robbie Nichols replaced Malcom Cameron as head coach Wednesday.

The Devils next travel south for three games next weekend against the Greenville Road Warriors and Gwinnett Gladiators, not returning to Sun National Bank Center until March 11 when they face the Toledo Walleye at 7:00 p.m.

Game 56: Post-Game Notes

February 27, 2011

– Be sure to read my game story in The Trentonian tomorrow.  Given the fact that it was a 7:30 PM start, they were down three goals with ten minutes left and down one goal with under a minute to go, that I was able to re-write this into anything that so much as resembles the English language is a minor miracle.

– Interesting night.  Felt like the game was relatively one-sided in Gwinnett’s favor for the majority of it, but the effort seemed to be there for the most part from Trenton.  In the end, their best players were their best players.  Ryan Ginand scored his 25th, Ryan Hayes scored his 20th, and Tony Zancanaro tied it up on what was essentially a late 6-on-4.  But it still wasn’t enough. 

– That was as “swiss cheesy” of a shootout as I’ve seen in a while.  Sick move by Hayes, but it seemed like the way to go on Pasquale was to just shoot.  Not sure if he was overanticipating on some moves or what, but he got beat cleanly quite a bit there.  Not quite sure how that puck trickled through Shane Connelly at the very end…it seemed to vanish underneath him for a moment and then somehow carried over with some authority.

– Please enjoy Myles Stoesz beating the tar out of Danick Paquette over the past two nights…

Paquette deserved it both times, too.  But especially tonight.  Total cheap shot on Hayes, worthy of review by the league, and Stoesz took him to task for it yet again.  Felt like the friendly zebras got this one right when it came to assessing the penalties, but would still contend that what Stoesz did last night was far more worthy of an instigator penalty than what he did tonight.

– Kyle Kucharski scored. 

– No, seriously.  Kyle Kucharski scored.  Kucharski had been without a goal in his last 35 ECHL games, including 28 with Trenton…which dates back to last season.  Of course he ends that drought against the Devils.

– Raise your hand if you noticed Mike Potacco tonight.  I’m not seeing a lot of hands.  Raise your hand if you think this team’s going to the playoffs.  Anyone?  Bueller?  Anyone?

– Kevin Dean was fine after being nailed in the noggin by a puck during the second period.  He had some stitches, six to be exact, on the right side of his forehead and there was a good amount of swelling.  Kevin Dean, Jimmy Dean, Paula Deen…I don’t care who you put behind that bench, there’s only so much you can do when there aren’t reinforcements on the way from Albany or the free agent market. 

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 56: Post-Game Quotes

February 27, 2011

Here are Kevin Dean’s comments that didn’t appear in the paper after tonight’s 4-3 shootout loss to Gwinnett…

**

“I’m fine.  I’m starting to get maybe a little bit of a headache, but nothing serious.”

“It was good (to get one point), it was good for our pysche, but we gave them two.  We’ll lose ground, so I’m not too excited about the point.  It was a great comeback, good effort, it was good for our morale and all that stuff.  But we certainly lost ground on them.”

“(Myles) is great.  He knows his role, he plays to it and he doesn’t try to be someone he’s not.  He’s there when you need him.”

“We had the extra guy (on the PP) late, which helped.  But Trevor Kell made a really nice play at the blue line and left a guy out to dry and that gave him time to get a shot.  Tony Zancanaro made a nice play to camp out in front, but a lot of it’s just confidence at that point.  We had the extra guy and had a good push on it and Trevor made a great play.”

“We do shootouts once in a while in practice, but because the ice is usually bad, I like guys that shoot.  Lombardi always shoots, I like him because he shoots.  Hayes is very gifted, obviously.  I lean towards a guy that shoots.  Ginand, I think he’s done four or five, and I’m not sure honestly if he’s got a shot on net.  I’m looking for guys that shoot because the ice is bad and it’s tough to make moves.”

“I thought (Shane) was great.  I thought he was awesome.  Big reason we got a point.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 56: Shootout VIDEO

February 27, 2011

Brad Miller

Andy Brandt

Ryan Hayes

Tom Galivan

Matt Lombardi

Akim Aliu

Dan Charleston

Dustin Cameron

Trevor Kell

Justin Milo

Matt Vokes

Kyle Kucharski

Ryan Ginand

John-Scott Dickson

Tony Zancanaro

Matt Duffy

**

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 56: Pre-Game Notes

February 26, 2011

7:25 PM — Trenton starters are…

31
26-27
16-17-18

7:10 PM — Kyle Kucharski and Princeton women’s volunteer assistant coach John Zdunkiewicz, respectively…


6:50 PM — Nolet is taking warmups…probably a game-time decision.

6:00 PM — Gwinnett has added John Zdunkiewicz as a backup goalie.  He’ll wear #30.  He last played for Cape Cod of the Federal League this season.

5:55 PM — The internet is functional…sweet.  Here’s a picture of Edward Pasquale’s mask that I shot last night. 

No word on a possible Gwinnett backup yet, only Pasquale is listed in the official game notes.

5:05 PM — Well, this could be an interesting night. There have been some internet issues up here in the press box so far, so I may have to write my game story on my Blackberry. Not looking forward to that.

Anyway, I’ll keep this quick…Gladiators goalie Chris Carrozzi was called up to AHL Chicago this morning, so it looks like Edward Pasquale starts for Gwinnett. As reported yesterday, Shane Connelly goes for Trenton.

No word as of yet on Martin Nolet’s availability.

I’ll post updates, if I can, up until gametime.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 55: Post-Game Quotes

February 26, 2011

I’m going to keep this quick, so here are some selected quotes from head coach Kevin Dean from after tonight’s game…

Gwinnett scoring on their first two shots after a string start…

“It was pretty deflating, but we battled back, you know.  Again, it’s kind of the same…we didn’t execute on our scoring chances, and a couple goals found their way in for them.  We had an ill-advised penalty at the end of the first, you lose hockey games that way when you don’t execute.  I thought we played OK, we didn’t give up many chances.  We played in their end, I’d say 80 percent of the night, seemed to be anyways.  But we couldn’t execute.”

Gwinnett’s aggressive PK…

“You move the puck before you have to, and you keep it off the yellow, off the boards.  But everyone wanted to get it and hold it, and then you’ve got to win your battles, which we didn’t do.  They outmuscled us and won the battles on the PP, and that probably was the difference in the game.”

On the role goaltending played tonight…

“Some.  Lergie didn’t have a great game, but he made some good stops, too.  I didn’t think that their goalie made a ton of great stops, either.  Our chances were kind of secondary in my mind.”

On hammering home the importance of playing teams directly ahead of you in the standings…

“They can figure it out.  We talk about it, but if they can’t figure it out, I think you’re in the wrong business.”

On if this current group of players can be a playoff team…

“I think we have a playoff team, but we’re not playing anywhere near how we’d have to play to make the playoffs.  Not even close.  Not even close.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 55: Post-Game Notes

February 26, 2011

– Ah, yes.  The 3 AM “No Chance Anyone’s Awake To Read This” version of the post-game notes.  If you’re looking for a short version of a long story, check out my game story in The Trentonian.

– After the first five minutes, I thought for sure Trenton would win this game, 5-0.  6-0.  7-0.  Win big.  They were all over Gwinnett, and the puck was barely even in the Devils defensive zone early on.  Eight shots to zero, Trenton had the edge.  And then I thought to myself that, given the way things had been going for this team this season, Gwinnett’s first shot would go in.  Can’t take credit for predicting the first two going in, however. 

I cannot even begin to imagine how much wind that took out of the sails of the Devils tonight.  Gwinnett’s first shot that didn’t go in didn’t come until 12:30 of the first period.  By then, Ryan Hayes had already “scored” his wacky goal.

– Really, really, really pretty play to tie things up on that 3-on-2.  Dan Charleston made such a nice pass to Ryan Ginand, who made a pretty equally nice series of moves to slide the puck past Chris Carrozzi and knot things up. 

– Akim Aliu was my first star of the night.  Seems rather obvious that he has no business in the ECHL.  He was a focal point of the Gladiators offense tonight, and his awkward turnaround slapshot that somehow beat Jeff Lerg far side was the difference.

– Not Jeff Lerg’s finest performance.  He’ll take a seat tomorrow in favor of Shane Connelly.

– Shocked Myles Stoesz didn’t get an extra two minutes for his fight with Danick Paquette.  Liked that he stood up for Tony Zancanaro after the ref sat there while Paquette hit him very, very late…but with around seven minutes to go and trailing by one, it’s way too risky to just go after a guy like that.  Meanwhile, here is the tail end of Stoesz just pummeling Paquette.

– There is no doubt Matt Vokes should have been awarded at least one penalty shot tonight, and you could make an argument that he should have been given two.  Instead, the officiating crew decided on zero.  I can understand the non-call in the third period, but to miss the one in the first period is brutal. 

– Martin Nolet missed the game with a “lower body injury,” according to Kevin Dean.  Didn’t notice anything other than him coughing a good amount in the locker room after the game.  Maybe Matt Torti, Scott Bartlett or Joe Gerbe are available to fill his spot.  Can Jason Smith play D?  Is Nicolas Lareau doing anything?

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 55: Pre-Game Notes

February 25, 2011

6:50 PM — Trenton starters are…

Lerg
Coutu-Miller
Charleston-Ginand-Hayes

Active roster is…

1-31
7-20-23-26-27
9-10-11-14-15-16-17-18-22-25

6:30 PM — Chris Carrozzi and Jeff Lerg are your goalies…

5:15 PM — Today’s a Trentonian day for me, as is tomorrow.  I’ll have any relevant lineup updates on here…since, you know, there are just so many options for Kevin Dean to choose from…and will post any video and photos on here during the game.  You can also follow my updates on Twitter at mashmore98, where over 1,000 misguided souls already follow me.

5:00 PM — Hockey.org’s Josh Burke has a look at the Trenton Devils last seven days…includes a story on Dave Caruso, which also includes a first look at his brand new mask.

3:55 PM — It’s about three hours before gametime here at Sun National Bank Center, and with every minute that goes by, it’s becoming more and more apparent that ice and hockey sticks will be replaced by grass and golf clubs on April 3rd.

The Devils recycling efforts have continued, as they’ve brought back forward Mike Potacco to replace Kory Nagy, who was called up by AHL Albany earlier today.  In nine games, Potacco tallied just one assist, but also didn’t embarrass himself out there, either.  However, with other teams signing more experienced free agents, making trades with other teams in the league to fill holes, or acquiring players from other leagues, the move simply doesn’t cut it for a team that desperately needs a boost to be a legitimate playoff contender.

This team has not won more than two in a row since a five-game winning streak from March 24-April 2 last season.  But they’ll need two in a row tonight and tomorrow…when you’re last place in the conference, you need to catch every team, but Gwinnett is one of the teams they can realistically catch (and need to realistically catch) to climb up the standings.

Four points.  In regulation.  Overtime or shootout wins do not cut it.  Four for Trenton, none for Gwinnett.  120 minutes of hockey. 

There are so many people here who would like nothing more than to see playoff hockey return to the capital city, myself included.  Both publicly and privately, I have always said that some of the most fun I have had in nine years of doing this was covering the last two months or so of the 2008-09 team’s remarkable run.  But, given that the roster has been allowed to struggle while staying largely untouched by any sort of an impactful acquisition, it seems the T-Devils will be booking tee times once the regular season ends.

Prove me wrong.

3:30 PM — Just to pass on the appropriate stats for Nagy and Potacco, whose respective moves I reported earlier in the day…

Potacco has a 0-1-1 line in 9 games this season.  Nagy has 8 goals, 12 assists and 20 points in 42 games with Trenton.  This is his second recall to Albany.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Nagy To Albany; Potacco Returns

February 25, 2011

I’ll have more when I get to the rink in a few hours, but Trenton forward Kory Nagy has been called up to AHL Albany.

In addition, Trenton has brought back forward Mike Potacco.

Stay tuned for a full write-up in tonight’s pre-game notes…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Alumni Updates

February 24, 2011

Two former Trenton Devils were involved in some recent AHL Transactions.

Brad Snetsinger has been signed to a PTO by the Binghamton Senators, while Jack Combs (pictured) was released from his by the Chicago Wolves.

Snetsinger, perhaps most memorable for the way he’d mess around during warmups, was a part of the Devils organization for two seasons.  He spent most of the 2008-09 season in Trenton, posting 49 points (21-28-49) in 49 games.  But he was relatively invisible in the playoffs, registering just two assists in that memorable seven game series against Elmira.

After underachieving at the AHL level last season (5-13-18 in 57 GP), the 23-year-old has split this season between the Utah Grizzlies and Bakersfield Condors.  In 52 games — 26 with each squad — he’s scored 16 goals and added 28 assists.

Combs, still just 23 years old, added a huge scoring boost to Trenton last season.  In 49 games, he tallied 39 points (23-16-39) and finished the season with the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen.

This season, Combs, who has long been regarded as an elite scorer, is tearing up the CHL with the Tulsa Oilers.  He’s averaging well over a point a game, scoring 29 goals and adding 34 assists in 50 games.  In three games with Chicago, he did not record a point.

And here’s a story on Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland.  Haviland, as you know, is a former Trenton Titans assistant and head coach.  He’s also sure to be mentioned for any head coaching opportunities that may arise this off-season as well.

And please don’t miss my latest for ECHL.com, a story on former South Carolina Stingrays goalie Martin Biron.  It’s actually quite the interesting story, and it was a pleasure to speak to Biron about it.  He credits the two ECHL games he played in 1997-98 for turning around his entire career…which, as you likely know, has taken him to four NHL teams over 14 seasons. 

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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