Thank You, 2010-11 Edition

April 23, 2011

It’s around 1:45 AM on a Saturday morning, and I finally have some time to really put together a halfway decent post that puts a bow on the 2010-11 season from a personal standpoint.

Covering a bad team has the potential to not be a whole lot of fun, and this was a bad team.  Thing is, I’m still not sure I understand why.  Maybe I’m too close to the forest to see the trees, but I honestly believe there was enough talent on this team for their fate to be a lot better than what it ultimately was.  Fact is, though, that 15 teams in a 19 team league make the playoffs, and Trenton didn’t.  That’s a bad team.  But there’s time to talk about that at a later date.

I actually ended up covering more regular season games this year (29) than I had my first year in 2008-09 (28) or in 2009-10 (27).  And, for the most part, I did have fun.  For me, that’s the most important factor.  Outside of some low-paying freelance work, I get paid in “thank you’s” and my own enjoyment of being fortunate enough to see professional hockey for free.  But covering the team with Mike Radano of The Times and Hockey.org’s Josh Burke was a pleasure this season, and it certainly made some of those bad losses go by a little quicker.

The interactions I had with the fans who do follow the team was a pleasure as always, and although I can’t blame a lot of you for being negative with the way things have gone for the franchise over the past few seasons, I do hope that our conversations and my coverage have been a bright spot over the past three seasons.

I can say that for me personally, my interactions with the Trenton front office has been a bright spot.  There are a lot of good, hard-working people there; from Jim Leahy to Dan D’Uva to everyone inbetween, and that’s one of many factors that’s made the 45-minute drive each way from my home a bit easier to take for the past three seasons.

Of course, my job would be significantly more difficult, if not impossible, without the cooperation of the players and coaching staff, and they again could not have been better to deal with as a whole.  Kevin Dean was as accommodating as you could possibly be in his first season as the team’s head coach, and this year’s group of players was always very willing to both talk to me and help me find the players I needed to talk to if, by some stroke of luck, it wasn’t them who I needed to bother with my ridiculous queries.

There’s a lot that can change between now and October, but I’d like to come back for a fourth season.  I think the growth that I made professionally as a hockey beat writer was immeasurable — from getting more than a few NHL opportunities through ECHL.com to the progression of my work covering Trenton — and I’d at least like to give it one more season before I hang em’ up, so to speak.

So thank you.  Thank you for all of your support over the past three years…I can assure you that everyone’s kind comments and e-mails and personal conversations have meant a lot more than you might realize in making the sacrifices that go into doing this every season a little easier to deal with.

I can always be reached at mashmore98 AT gmail.com, and I hope everyone has a safe and healthy off-season.  As of now…see you next season.

-Mike-

Is This Your New Goalie?

April 23, 2011
Former Union goalie Keith Kinkaid, pictured here in February playing at Baker Rink (Photo: Mike Ashmore/2011)

As you’ve likely seen by now, the New Jersey Devils organization has signed former Union Dutchmen goaltender Keith Kinkaid to a contract.  He will most certainly be competing for a spot at either AHL Albany or ECHL Trenton.

I was fortunate enough to see Kinkaid play this February in Princeton — along with Darcy Zajac’s brother, Kelly — and I got a bit of a mixed bag that day.  Kinkaid’s numbers this season are inarguably good — He posted a 25-10-3 record with a 1.99 GAA — but he gave up four early goals to the Tigers that had Dutchmen head coach Nate Leaman consider pulling Kinkaid.  But he really shut down Princeton for the last 30 minutes or so of the game, as Union came all the way back (led by Zajac) to top the Tigers.

I’d obviously focus more on the overall numbers based on one game, but I have seen him play and did want to pass along my thoughts on him…and yes, I did see the story that Kinkaid is penciled in for Albany.  Gerald Coleman was penciled in for Lowell in 2009-10, and they brought in Mike McKenna on a tryout deal.  So I’ll believe that when I see it.

Here’s the team release:

(PR) Newark, NJ – The New Jersey Devils today signed goaltender Keith Kinkaid to an entry-level contract. The announcement was made by Devils’ President/CEO/General Manager Lou Lamoriello. As per club policy, no further terms were disclosed.

Kinkaid, 21, joins the Devils’ organization after spending the past two seasons at Union College(ECAC). He appeared in 38 games overall this past season, posting a 25-10-3 mark with three shutouts and a 1.99 goals-against average. The 6-3, 180-lb. netminder completed the season ranked first in ECAC conference games in wins (17), shutouts (2-tie), and goals-against average (1.90). Hehelped lead the Dutchmen to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, making 26 saves in a 2-0 loss against eventual NCAA Champion Minnesota-Duluth, as well as their first Cleary Cup, marking a first-place finish in the ECAC. Kinkaid was named a 2010-11 AHCA First Team All-American, as well as First Team All-ECAC. He was also the recipient of the Ken Dryden Award as the league’s top goaltender.

Born July 4, 1989, his collegiate totals show a 37-18-6 mark, with fourshutouts, and 2.18 goals-against average in 63 appearances. In 2009-10, he was named to the ECAC All-Rookie Team, while earning Third Team All-ECAC honors. Prior to his collegiate career, Kinkaid spent the 2008-09 season with St. Louis (NAHL). That year, he helped lead the Bandits to the Robertson Cup Championship, while being named most valuable player of the playoffs. During his lone NAHL campaign, Kinkaid was also named the league’s MVP, goaltender of the year, and First Team All-Star. In 2007-08, he played in 15 games with Des Moines (USHL). The native of Farmingville, NY also played for the New York Bobcats of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League. In September, Kinkaid will attend his first NHL training camp.

Devils End Season On Positive Note

April 3, 2011

(PR) Reading, PA – The Trenton Devils broke a 1-1 first-period tie with three straight goals, and went on to beat the Reading Royals, 5-2, in the final game of the season Saturday at Sovereign Center.

The Devils’ win gives them a final record of 27-37-2-6 and denies the Atlantic Division-champion Royals (44-23-2-3) a chance to win first place overall in the Eastern Conference and get home-ice advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The winning goalie for Trenton was Jeff Lerg, who made 31 saves on 33 shots in his third straight victory while clinching a winning record of 13-12-1. Trenton’s goals were scored by Brad Miller, J.S. Berube, Matt Germain, Jeff Prough and Tony Zancanaro, and five Devils had multiple points.

Daren Machesney allowed four of the five goals, saving 35 of 39 shots in a losing effort. Reading received its goals from Yannick Riendeau and Olivier Labelle.

After three penalty calls in the first three minutes of the game, Trenton had a power play and Brad Miller scored the game’s first goal to give Trenton a 1-0 lead. Assisted by Jeff Prough and Ryan Hayes, Miller’s goal came off a high-slot drive and gave the Alpharetta, GA native his 14th power-play point of the season; he added an assist later to finish the season with 23 points overall.

The Devils’ lead lasted just a minute, as former QMJHL MVP Yannick Riendeau scored his 18th goal of the season into a gaping net after Lerg had been drawn out of his crease by solid Reading puck movement by Olivier Labelle and Ryan Cruthers.

The Devils regained their lead before the first period’s midway point, when J.S. Berube netted his 12th goal of the season. Ryan Hayes got his second assist of the game with a leading pass to Berube, who got around a Reading defender, made an expert move to his left and fired past Machesney. Miller, who finished plus-4 for the night, had the secondary assist.

The Devils built on their lead by scoring twice in the second period for a 4-1 edge after 40 minutes. First, Matt Germain scored at the 4:00 mark and made the score 3-1 by making a tricky move around Machesney after receiving a breakout pass from Jordon Southorn. Then Jeff Prough shoved in his 25th goal of the season, at 15:25, on Trenton’s fourth attempt of a net-mouth flurry. Berube and Hayes earned helpers, capping their rookie seasons with 30 and 50 points, respectively.

In the third period, Labelle scored to narrow Reading’s deficit to 4-2 with a tip of a Sam Roberts point shot, but the most veteran Devil, Tony Zanacanaro, capped the season’s scoring with his tenth of the year, a shorthanded empty-net goal, in the last minute of the game with assists to Dave Leaderer, his 33rd point, and Matt Germain, who posted seven points in his first nine pro games.

The Trenton Devils win the game 5-2 to cap the 12th season of professional hockey in New Jersey’s capital city. The final gathering of the 2010-11 team will be Tuesday at Dublin Square Irish Pub & Restaurant in Bordentown for episode 12 of the Along the Boards radio show heard live on Z88.9 at 7 p.m. featuring head coach Kevin Dean and Devils players.

Coming Up…

April 1, 2011

You’d might as well put a stamp on the post-game stuff, because I mailed it in.  I don’t really think the focus was on what happened in the game so much as what’s happened this season, and I asked Trenton head coach Kevin Dean a few questions about that after tonight’s loss.

I’ll have that for you in the next few days, as well as a “thank you” post far more formal than the stupid video you saw earlier today.  The Olli-Stache, by the way, is currently circling the drain.  In that sense, the similarities to it and Trenton’s first 50 games or so this season are somewhat striking. 

I’ll likely have a look at the team’s season-long struggles as well…might even dig up a few bright spots as well.  Truth be told, there certainly were some.  But I’d hate to ruin my rep of being negative all the time.

In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves in the comments…and thanks for reading all season.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com // Twitter: mashmore98

Puck Stops Here; Home Schedule Ends With Loss

April 1, 2011

(PR) Trenton, NJ – Chris Blight and Casey Haines scored in the opening 3:08 of the third period to snap a 2-2 tie and the Reading Royals defeated the Trenton Devils, 6-3, Friday at Sun National Bank Center.

For the Atlantic Division champion Royals (44-22-2-3), the win helps their hopes of an Eastern Conference regular-season championship alive, starting the day a point behind the Greenville Road Warriors. The Devils drop to 26-37-2-6 and finish their 2010-11 schedule at Sun National Bank Center with a record of 15-16-1-4.

The winning goalie in the final game of the season at Sun National Bank Center was Matt Dalton, who made 23 saves on 26 shots, his fourth win in five games vs. Trenton. Prior to taking their first lead of the game in the third period, the Royals received goals from Andrew Sarauer and Olivier Labelle.

Jeff Prough continued his strong play by collecting points on all three Devils goals (two goals, one assist), while Ryan Hayes also scored for Trenton. With 14 saves, the losing goalie was Dave Caruso.

After the teams played on even footing throughout the first half of the opening period, Hayes scored his 23rd goal of the season at 11:27 of the opening frame and gave the Devils a 1-0 lead. Hayes’ second goal in the last two games was scored when the Trenton rookie knocked the puck out of mid-air, with Jeff Prough earning the assist.

However, the Royals’ league-leading offense responded less than five minutes later, when Olivier Labelle potted his 20th goal of the season. On the power play, Labelle’s goal came off a deflection of a feed by Rob Kwiet, and Ryan Cruthers also garnered a helper.

The Devils regained their lead when Jeff Prough scored his first goal of the game at 14:52 of the second period, by scoring on his third attempt of the sequence as he was falling to the ice, after getting tripped at the side of the net by a Reading defenseman. Assists on the play went to J.S. Berube and Chris Berenguer, whose helper was his sixth in his first seven games as a pro.

But, the Royals again responded as Andrew Sarauer scored out of a net-mouth scrum, with 41 seconds left in the second period, to knot the teams 2-2 after 40 minutes.

Building momentum off their tying goal, the Royals went ahead for the first time when Chris Blight beat Caruso with a wrist shot at 1:24 of the third period. Two minutes later, Casey Haines added insurance for the Royals and made the score 4-2 by notching his 18th goal of the season.

Jeff Prough scored his second of the game and 24th of the year with 2:16 left in the third period to cut Reading’s lead to one, but the Devils’ comeback attempts were foiled when Chris Blight made the score 5-3 with an empty-net goal in the game’s final minute. Andrew Sarauer scored his second of the game, a shorthanded empty-netter, with eight seconds left to finish the scoring.

The Devils and Royals will be back in action tomorrow night, when Trenton finishes its 2010-11 schedule with a 7:00 p.m. game at Sovereign Center.

Game 71: Pre-Game Notes

April 1, 2011

6:50 PM — Trenton starters are…

6-8
11-14-21
35

Trenton active roster is…

23-26-28-33
10-18-20-22-24-29-34
1

Reading starters are…

Dalton
Kwiet-Ross
Labelle-Cruthers-Riendeau

6:25 PM — Dave Caruso and Matt Dalton is your goalie matchup tonight.  Matt Arhontas, as of now, nowhere to be seen…

5:20 PM — Brad Miller’s active tonight, and Dan Charleston has been placed on the 21-Day IR. 

Not sure who I’d expect in the nets for Reading — guessing Daren Machesney — and I’d presume Dave Caruso will get the nod for Trenton.

Also, happy 25th birthday to Ryan Ginand.  You may recall him from such films as “Should Have Been Called Up To Albany A Long Time Ago.”

3:45 PM — It’s the last home game of the year, so…let’s keep it light, shall we?

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Ginand Named To All-ECHL Second Team

April 1, 2011

(ECHL PR) PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Thursday announced its All-ECHL Second Team for 2010-11 as determined in a vote of ECHL coaches, who were asked to select a goaltender, two defensemen and three forwards.

2010-11 All-ECHL Second Team

G – Dov Grumet-Morris, Greenville Road Warriors (24 gp, 15-8-1, 2.32 GAA, .922 save pct.)

D – Jason Lepine, Toledo Walleye (66 gp, 9g, 35a, 44 pts., +7)

D – Bryan Miller, Alaska Aces (62 gp, 8g 33a, 41 pts., +12)

F – Trent Daavettila, Kalamazoo Wings (69 gp, 30g, 48a, 78 pts., +27)

F – Ryan Ginand, Trenton Devils (68 gp, 29g, 46a, 75 pts., +1)

F – Francis Lemieux, Florida Everblades/Bakersfield Condors (56 gp, 28g, 45a, 73 pts., +2)

The ECHL will announce the Community Service and Sportsmanship award winners on Friday.

Dov Grumet-Morris of the Greenville Road Warriors is 15-8-1 with three shutouts in 24 appearances this season. He is second in the league with a .922 save percentage and third with a 2.32 goals-against average. Grumet-Morris was loaned to Connecticut of the American Hockey League on Feb. 4, and has gone 11-4-1 with one shutout, a 2.00 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage in 18 appearances for the Whale.

Jason Lepine of the Toledo Walleye leads ECHL defensemen with 35 assists and 44 points and he is tied for second with 17 power-play assists. The 26 year old has also appeared in one game with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League this season tallying two assists.

Bryan Miller of the Alaska Aces is tied for second among league defensemen with 41 points, 33 assists and 17 power-play assists while his 22 power-play points are tied for third among blueliners.

Trent Daavettila of the Kalamazoo Wings leads the league in plus-minus at +27. He leads the K-Wings, and is fourth in the league with 78 points, while his 48 assists are good enough for third in the ECHL. He was named ECHL Player of the Month for February after scoring 22 points (8g-14a) in 14 games and also earned ECHL Plus Performer of the Month honors after leading the league with a +15 during February. The 26 year old also appeared in one game with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League this season.

Ryan Ginand of the Trenton Devils is fourth in the league with 46 assists and sixth with 75 points, which is the second in team history behind Scott Bertoli’s 79 in 2006-07. His 402 shots this season lead the league, and also rank second for most shots in a single season in ECHL history. Ginand represented the Devils at the 2011 ECHL All-Star Classic and scored two goals in the ECHL All-Stars 9-3 win over Bakersfield. Currently loaned to the Albany Devils of the American Hockey League, Ginand has four points (2g-2a) in two AHL games this season.

Francis Lemieux was second in the league in scoring with 73 points (28g-45a) when he was loaned to Connecticut of the American Hockey League on Feb. 28. Despite spending nearly a month in the AHL, he still ranks seventh in the ECHL scoring race. Traded from Florida to Bakersfield on March 11, Lemieux is tied for fifth in the league with 45 assists.

————-

In addition, former Trenton Devils goalie Gerald Coleman was named to the All-ECHL First Team. Here’s the release on that…

(PR) PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Thursday announced its All-ECHL First Team for 2010-11 as determined in a vote of ECHL coaches, who were asked to select a goaltender, two defensemen and three forwards.

2010-11 All-ECHL First Team

G – Gerald Coleman, Alaska Aces (45 gp, 29-14-1, 2.22 GAA, .912 save pct.)

D – Wes Cunningham, Greenville Road Warriors (66 gp, 7g, 33a, 40 pts., +15)

D – Eric Regan, Elmira Jackals (52 gp, 13g, 28a, 41 pts., -3)

F – Mark Derlago, Idaho Steelheads (65 gp, 43g, 36a, 79 pts., +2)
F – Wes Goldie, Alaska Aces (70 gp, 44g, 37a, 81 pts., +25)

F – Kory Karlander, Kalamazoo Wings (69 gp, 32g, 45a, 77 pts., -3)

The ECHL will announce the Community Service and Sportsmanship award winners on Friday.

Gerald Coleman of the Alaska Aces is 29-14-1 with a league-leading 2.22 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. His 29 wins and four shutouts are each tied for the league lead. The 25 year old was named to the All-ECHL Second Team while with Trenton in 2008-09 when he finished second in the league with a 2.29 goals-against average. Coleman, who is under contract to Peoria of the American Hockey League, appeared in two NHL games with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2005-06.

Wes Cunningham of the Greenville Road Warriors is tied for second among ECHL defensemen with 33 assists and is third with 40 points. His 14 power-play assists are tied for fifth among blue-liners.

Eric Regan of the Elmira Jackals is making his second consecutive appearance on the All-ECHL First Team after earning the honor with Bakersfield last season. He is tied for second among ECHL defensemen with 41 points, tied for third with 13 goals, and tied for fifth with six power-play goals. Under contract with Anaheim of the National Hockey League, Regan has also seen action in 12 games with Syracuse of the American Hockey League this season tallying one assist.

Mark Derlago of the Idaho Steelheads leads the league with 18 power-play goals and 42 power-play points, while ranking second with 43 goals, tied for second with 24 power-play assists and third with 76 points. It is the second straight year that Derlago has reached the 40-goal plateau and he has scored at least 32 goals in each of his four ECHL seasons. The 25 year old was named to his second ECHL All-Star Classic this season where he tallied two assists in the ECHL All-Stars 9-3 win over Bakersfield. Derlago was an All-ECHL Second Team selection in 2008-09 and an All-ECHL First Team selection last season.

Wes Goldie of the Alaska Aces leads the ECHL with 44 goals, is second with 81 points and 283 shots, and is tied for second with 15 power-play goals and in plus-minus at +25. Goldie is on an ECHL season-high 16-game point streak, over which he has tallied 27 points (14g-13a). He has scored at least 40 goals for each of the last five seasons, becoming the first player in league history to accomplish that feat. The 31 year old ranks second in league history with 333 career goals. Goldie was an All-ECHL Second Team selection in 2008-09.

Kory Karlander of the Kalamazoo Wings is second in the league with 35 power-play points, tied for second with 24 power-play assists, fourth with 77 points and fifth with 32 goals. Karlander was an All-ECHL Second Team selection in 1997-98.

Game 70: Post-Game Video Interviews

March 30, 2011

Kevin Dean

Matt Arhontas

Game 70: Pre-Game Notes

March 30, 2011

6:55 PM — Marco Cousineau in goal for the Jackals…

6:50 PM — Trenton starters are…

Lerg
Berenguer-Nolet
Berube-Hayes-Prough

Rest of Trenton roster is…

Vichorek, Leaderer, Southorn, Godlewski
Zancanaro, Stoesz, Lombardi, Nagy, Potacco, Arhontas, Germain
Caruso

6:40 PM — Arhontas, as you can see, will wear #25.  I last saw him in the ECAC Playoffs this month…undersized kid for sure.  Slightly shorter than Tony Zancanaro if you can believe that.  Grinder, hustle guy…not the most skilled kid out there for sure, but the effort was always there when I saw him.  I’ve seen him play eight times in person for Princeton…he was 1-3-4 with a plus-one and two PIM’s.

6:34 PM — And here’s Arhontas from warmups…

6:26 PM — Here’s Arhontas from this year…

6:25 PM — Trenton signs former Princeton forward Matt Arhontas…

(PR) Trenton, NJ – The Trenton Devils today signed forward Matt Arhontas. The announcement was made by Albany and Trenton General Manager Chris Lamoriello.

Arhontas, 24, recently concluded his college career at Princeton University (ECAC). In four seasons with Princeton, the Naperville, IL native compiled 28 goals and 37 assists with a plus-15 in 127 career games, posting a career-high 19 points his senior year. Arhontas played three seasons of junior hockey with the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks from 2004 to 2007, serving as captain his third year and scoring a career-best 18 goals and 45 points. The 5-7, 160-lb. right-handed shooter was born March 10, 1987.

Trenton hosts Elmira Wednesday at 7 p.m. and plays its final home game of the 2010-11 season against the Reading Royals Friday at 7 p.m.

3:40 PM — As is the norm, not a whole lot going on at this time of day.  But, since I’m here, I’d might as well update you on the travels of Ryan Ginand, who was recently called up to AHL Albany. 

In two games, Ginand has two goals and two assists and is a plus-two with seven shots on goal and four penalty minutes.  Couldn’t be happier for him…nice to see he’s making the most of an opportunity that he deserved much earlier in the season.

Curtis Marouelli is your referee for the evening.  Purchase tickets accordingly…sitting behind the glass behind the benches might be ill-advised, as coaches will likely be punching it often throughout the evening.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Ginand Signed To PTO, Scores In AHL Debut

March 27, 2011

With the Trenton Devils having a rare weekend off, the organization deemed it was finally time for Ryan Ginand to see his first AHL action.  Despite being tied for third in the ECHL with 75 points (29 goals-46 assists) in 68 games, the 24-year-old forward saw countless players called up or signed to PTO’s ahead of him.

Wearing #23, Ginand scored one goal on four shots and was a plus-one in a 7-4 loss to the Hershey Bears.  He also had four penalty minutes.

Trenton doesn’t play again until Wednesday night, when they host the Jackals.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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