Five Straight Wins

(PR) Elmira, NY – Matt Vokes’ two goals propelled the Devils offense to a 3-1 victory Friday in Elmira, the seventh win in ten games against the Jackals this season. Dave Caruso made 27 saves and held an opponent to one goal for the fourth time in his last seven games.

A scoreless first period featured Justin Pender skating on a line with Dan Charleston and Chris Poli. With only eight available forwards, the six-foot-four defenseman got the call to skate as a winger and helped create a couple scoring chances and put one shot on net. The Devils killed two Elmira power plays in the first seven minutes and outshot the Jackals 11-5 through the first 20 minutes.

The Devils began the second on a carryover power play, and Matt Vokes cashed in 21 seconds into the frame. Slavomir Tomko took the puck into the zone down the left wing and passed to Chris Poli in the crease. He was stopped by goaltender Andy Chiodo, but Vokes converted on the second chance for his 12th of the season and a 1-0 Trenton lead.

Vokes scored five minute later, his third game winning goal in four games. After creating a turnover inside the Jackals blue line, Vokes went past a Jackals defender through the left wing circle and rifled one over Chiodo’s left shoulder, just inside the long post, for a 2-0 Devils lead at 5:22 of the second. Four days removed from garnering league honors for his 13 point performance last weekend, Vokes’ thirteenth goal of the season brought him within one point of Jeff Prough’s team-leading 37 points.

Less than five more minutes elapsed before Trenton stuck for its third goal of the period. Brett Wilson started the possession in the defensive end and sped past the benches into the Jackals zone on the right wing. A head of steam from Jack Combs split defenders down the slot as Wilson’s saucer pass connected perfectly to Combs who turned sideways to protect the puck and beat Chiodo on the backhand for his 15th of the season.

The Jackals began showing their frustration two minutes later when Elmira’s Chaz Johnson leveled a blind side blow on Dave Leaderer behind the Devils net. Chris Murray immediately defended his defensive partner, leading to fighting majors for each, but Johnson also was charged with a major boarding penalty and a game misconduct. Elmira killed off the ensuing five minute power play, but managed only two shots the entire period.

The Devils held off the Jackals for much of the third, but when the Devils took penalties midway through the period, Elmira coach Steve Martinson pulled Chiodo for an extra-attacker and a six-on-three power play led to Elmira’s only goal. Just as Combs exited the penalty box, a flurry of action came to the net mouth. A shot from Olivier Proulx rang off the inside of the post and across the blue ice to Justin Donati who flipped the puck into a gaping net. The power play goal at 15:23 came amidst 21 third period shots. The Devils prevented further scoring and held on for the 3-1 victory.

Trenton (23-23-4-5, 55pts) remains one point behind the second-place Reading Royals (26-23-1-3, 56pts), who were overtime winners Friday against Wheeling. Five points behind the Nailers for the last playoff spot, the Devils go head-to-head with the Royals in the next two games, including Saturday night at SunCenter.

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6 Responses to “Five Straight Wins”

  1. Bob Smyth Says:

    If anyone wants to know why Chaz Johnson will never play in the AHL, just look at the scoresheet from the recent Trenton – Elmira game: 1 minor, 2 majors, and a game misconduct = 22 minutes. Although he’s got the athletic talent, his punk-like immaturity will prevent him from going anywhere. I guess he’s too stupid to care.

  2. tdevils Says:

    Blame his coach. A lot of guys in Elmira are a lot more skilled than they show…but have to buy into the style the coach wants them to play…and played himself.

  3. Shtikl Says:

    If Sean Avery can make it in the NHL, there’s plenty of room for Chaz Johnson somewhere.

  4. Bob Smyth Says:

    tdevils has a good point – Elmira coach also played the same way. As to Shtikl’s comment about Avery – big difference: Avery agitates and stirs the pot, but doesn’t often wind up with 20+ minutes of penalties in one game. Don’t get me wrong – even though I’m a Rangers fan, Avery is not one of my favorites, but he doesn’t cost his team the way Johnson does. An off-ice official in Trenton recently heard Johnson say to some teenage fans (from the penalty box, of course): “f*** your mother.” Nice, Chaz, real classy.

  5. Shtikl Says:

    Classy, no, but not as low as “Sloppy Seconds” Avery. I’d be happy to tutor the kid to improve his vocabulary, on both ends of the spectrum. He just needs to get creative, think outside the box. And learn to smile when he says these things — that’s one of Louis Robitaille’s most charming aspects: he’s always smiling and laughing.

    I stick by what I said. Avery’s the quintessential cheap shot artist, takes cheap penalties and whines about going to the box, e.g., the slash of the back of Tim Thomas’ head. Pure garbage. I agree that Johnson’s not a real enforcer, and he does lose control and take stupid penalties. But if he were playing for the T-Devils instead of Corms or Stoesz, the Trenton fans would probably cheer for him.

    So, Ashmore, would Killer like to have Chaz on his team?

  6. tdevils Says:

    Whether he would or not — and I doubt he would — is irrelevant…that kind of player doesn’t really fit the Devils ECHL mold. You get those fun guys in Lowell…Robitaille, etc.

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