— I’ll have a game story in tomorrow’s Trentonian. The theme is how this team can’t hold a lead. In their last five losses, they’ve had the lead. In eight of their 14 losses this season, they’ve had the lead. They’ve had their chances and haven’t been able to get two points consistently, all you can really say.
With 20 points, the Devils are the worst team in the Eastern Conference. Only the Ontario Reign, with 17 points, keep them from being the worst team in the league. Things will undoubtedly improve with the returns of a few of the injured and called up players, but the fact remains that for the third straight season, this team is digging itself a huge hole in the first half. They dug out of it in 2008-09 and just missed doing so last year. What happens this year remains to be seen.
— Watch the video of Jared DeMichiel’s first period save on what was an absolutely beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play on the power play by Trenton. That’s the kind of play that a team that’s winning and a team that’s getting the bounces scores on. You can read DeMichiel’s comments about that save in the paper, but he basically said he just threw the leg out there out of instinct and made the stop.
— Brad Miller seems to be a solid addition. Wasn’t afraid to shoot the puck, wasn’t a liability defensively. It’s one game, so don’t get too excited yet, but he could be a valuable asset once the team starts to come back together. His goal tonight was tipped, right? I didn’t make that up in my head…thought Ryan Hayes or Matt Lombardi got it.
Head coach Kevin Dean was pleased with Miller’s play.
“I thought he (fit in well),” he said.
“I liked the way he moved the puck. He’s got poise, he’s got great hockey sense. He scored a nice goal on the power play. He’ll definitely help us.”
— Kyle Kucharski has played in five games since his return. He has no points, is a minus eight and has six penalty minutes. Me thinks the experiment of bringing him back in is about over. Mike Potacco did play tonight — I actually noticed him out there this time on a few shifts — but both he and Kucharski recorded no shots on goal.
— David Leaderer must have attempted about 10 shots tonight, but it seems he was too hesitant when he first got the puck and everything was getting put into a lane that was already filled. I’m never too critical of Leaderer, but he’s got to pull the trigger a little quicker.
— While I’m sure the situation will take care of itself soon, Trenton’s got three active goalies and four overall right now. Shane Connelly backed up Dave Caruso tonight, and Mike Brown found himself in a suit. Jeff Lerg, who was checking out his brand new mask after the game, should be back right around the time the ball drops in New York City.
Caruso was good tonight, can’t fault him for the loss. This team will need to ride him heavily until reinforcements arrive up front…he needs to be able to steal some games. Tonight, he stole a point.
— The shootout…watched it again just now, let me just think out loud a bit. Seems the book on Caruso is to try to beat him low. Rob Ricci’s move was pretty sick. Jeff Prough is the last guy I’d want taking a slapshot in a shootout, not that I’d ever want any of my guys doing that…for as a nice of a wrist shot as he has, he’s got to use it there. Was a little surprised Ryan Ginand wasn’t in the initial five shooters.
— Was happy to see Jared DeMichiel between the pipes for South Carolina, as last year, Todd Ford started ahead of Braden Holtby when the Stingrays came to town…Holtby’s already made it to the NHL, and Ford’s been around the league for a while, so I was hoping to see somebody new. I swung by South Carolina’s locker room real quick before going to Trenton’s, and I asked DeMichiel about the shootout, among other things you can see in the paper.
“That was my first pro experience with a shootout, I was excited,” he said.
“The players shot more than I thought they would, I thought guys would try to dangle or deke and stuff like that. But I knew our team would chip in a few goals and I’d have to make a few saves and they’d take care of the rest.”
— Tonight was the first time I’d noticed Dean wearing his Stanley Cup ring. The light reflecting off of it during the post-game media session about blinded me several times. It did not, however, inspire his players to get the win.
They did, however, have their chances on the power play and play well late in the game.
“It would be more frustrating if we didn’t have a good power play, but we hit the post at least once and had a couple other good shots. I thought we did a good job on it,” Dean said.
“It’s frustrating for sure, but it’s not debilitating…I don’t want to be negative about it. Pender hit the post and there were a couple other good shots. I know they scored two goals in the third, (one was) a power play goal. They had a nice play, the kid had a good shot and they got a good greasy goal towards the end. We didn’t get it deep in the last minute, that one kind of chaffed me a little bit. But we responded well in the third. They came out pretty good in the first five minutes and had a pretty good push, but we responded well. From that point on, we had most of the action I thought.”
— Also, I wanted to make sure I thanked Kimber Auerbach and Jesse Eisenberg of the New York Islanders for all their help on Saturday night. I got to cover my first New York Islanders game, and spoke to Zenon Konopka, Trevor Gillies and P.A. Parenteau for ECHL.com features you’ll see down the road. I also spoke to John Tavares about Konopka and Gillies, as well as Atlanta’s Eric Boulton and Rich Peverley for stories on them as well.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com