Sorry for taking so long to post some stuff from last night’s AHL game in Newark between Lowell and Hartford. That was a long day, and a day that came after exactly zero hours of sleep, so I was rather burned out.
— About eight minutes into the game, Tyler Eckford went to jump off the bench for a line change and fell flat on his face. It was a bit of a microcosm for the whole event. I was SHOCKED at the low turnout for this. I mean, if you can’t get people to come see your best prospects in a meaningful game for $15, somebody’s not doing something right. What a great opportunity to see some of the kids in the organization and sit wherever you want without having to go to Massachusetts or Connecticut. There were maaaaaaaaybe 1,000 people in the stands, tops.
— This is my eighth year as a sportswriter, and I can only recall one other time where I covered a game completely by myself. Yes, in a press box that must be over 200 feet long, I was the only reporter.
— This was somewhat of a dream come true for Devils fans. There was a season ticket holder party with the players in the lounges before the game, and there were guys walking around in their jerseys before the game. I saw a guy walking around the lower bowl of seats in a #30 Brodeur jersey. It was Martin Brodeur himself. I also saw Patrik Elias, Paul Martin, Mike Mottau, Bryce Salvador, Johnny Oduya, Andrew Peters and many others walking around the concourse in their jerseys.
— I also rode the elevator with many of these guys, but no ride was more memorable than my ride after the game on my way out of the arena. On the way down from the press level, we stopped at one of the suite level stops, and in came Larry Robinson, Scott Stevens, Jacques Caron and Chris Terreri. I made a crack that I had to get out because I wasn’t in the Hall of Fame, and that had Robinson laughing.
— I didn’t bother going down after the game for quotes. Outside of Jeff Frazee, no T-Devil alum really made much of an impact.
— Nice goaltending matchup for Trenton hockey fans, though. Former Titan Steve Valiquette versus former T-Devil Jeff Frazee.
— The first period of this game was pretty flat. It picked up afterwards, but it wasn’t a really great game, to be honest. Matt Taormina started off the scoring by firing a wrist shot from the high slot through some L-Devils traffic in front, namely Nathan Perkovich and Vladimir Zharkov. It seemed to deflect off of someone and past Valiquette, although Taormina got the tally.
About four minutes later, Matt Corrente made a nice little drop pass off the rush to Nick Palmieri, whose shot eluded Valiquette.
Hartford came back in the third, led by strong playmaking by Ilkka Heikkenen. Heikkenen started the play by firing a slapshot on Frazee. Frazee made the initial save, and the save after that on a stuff-in try by former Elmira Jackals standout Derek Couture, but Troy Paul Crowder finally managed to get the puck past Frazee to cut the lead in half.
The Wolfpack tied the game at two when Dale Weise deflected in a Heikkenen shot from the right point. They nearly took the lead with about five minutes left, when Heikkenen made a beautiful cross corner pass to Corey Locke, but Frazee showed great lateral movement to deny Locke from a few feet out at the right side of the crease.
Lowell took the lead for good with 59.3 left, when Palmieri fired a seemingly harmless low wrist shot on Valiquette after receiving a drop pass from Tim Sestito just outside the right circle. The puck somehow banked in off of the former Rangers netminder, giving Lowell an unexpected 3-2 win.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com