Red and Black Hockey
On Sunday afternoon, the Albany River Rats got themselves into trouble on the ice, and in the end they are in a two game hole in the best-of-seven series. The final score in Sunday’s game was 6-3, but in fairness it was much closer than that.
In a carbon copy of Saturday’s game, the Rats spent the entire third period in the box. There might be some speculation that the officials tilted the ice, but the fact of the matter is that the Rats have played undisciplined. They took four consecutive penalties in the third period on Saturday, then four consecutive in Sunday’s game two. Hershey, on the other hand, committed no third period penalties on Saturday. The only third period penalties against them on Sunday were fighting majors to match those of the Rats.
The Rats started the third period today with a shorthanded goal by Nick Dodge to take a 3-2 lead, but it all went downhill from there. The parade to the penalty box led to three straight power play goals and finally an empty-net goal in the dying seconds. This was followed by a lot of extracurricular activity that did nothing other than risk injuries and/or suspensions to Rats players. Naturally, Tim Conboy was involved in some of the rough stuff.
In the East Division finals, the Hershey Bears have taken a one games to none lead of the best of seven series. Jerome Samson tallied two goals in the losing effort, as the Rats fell 4-3 in overtime.
Winger Jiri Tlusty suffered a “lower body injury” in the first period and did not return. With game two less than 19 hours away, I guess they’ll have to use one of the “in residence” players or one of the guys who was just recalled from the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.
The theme of the night was penalty trouble. The Rats dug a lot of holes for themselves, amassing 33 minutes of penalties. They were already a man down, and they spent the better part of the third period on the penalty kill. They managed to kill six of the seven penalties, but the killers were spending too much time on the ice and the forwards were already double shifting after losing Tlusty.
Justin Peters made 44 saves in the loss. Due to the back-to-back situation with the short turnaround, I suspect that we’ll see Justin Pogge in nets for the Rats on Sunday.
In AHL Calder Cup playoff action, the Albany River Rats and the defending Cup champ Hershey Bears (Capitals) are set to begin their East division finals series. Because the AHL playoffs aren’t re-seeded between rounds and because they don’t wait for all first round series to conclude, this series might be three games deep while one first round series is still going. I don’t really like that set-up. It could potentially lead to a situation where some team is sitting around for two weeks or more waiting for an opponent.
Anyway, this series will begin with a back-to-back in Hershey on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. In regular season action, the Rats were 2-6 against the Bears, and they lost all four games played in Hershey. Interestingly, the Rats were also 2-6 in the regular season against the Baby Pens, losing all four games played in Wilkes-Barre. That, obviously, had no bearing on the playoff series that the Rats won in straight games.
On Monday night, the Albany River Rats completed their clean sweep of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins with a 5-3 win on the road. The four game sweep puts them through to the Eastern Division final where they will meet the winner of the Bridgeport (Islanders) v Hershey (Capitals) series. The Hershey Bears lead that series 3-1, and game five will be Wednesday night.
The hero of game four was defenseman Jamie McBain, who scored two goals including an empty netter. He’s got four goals in four playoff games, which is best among AHL defensemen. Zach Boychuk scored his first, which turned out to be the game-winner. Oscar Osala and Jerome Samson also added tallies for the Rats.
The Rats will have several days off before the next round begins, and they’ll need to work on their power play. They’ve had 20 power play opportunities and have yet to cash in. This is definitely going to have to change.
On Sunday afternoon, the Albany River Rats took a commanding 3-0 series lead in their Calder Cup playoff series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins with a 2-1 win in Wilkes-Barre. Rats leading scorer Jerome Samson was shut down in the first two games of this series, but he potted the game-winner at 5:45 of the third.
The game was scoreless through the first 40 minutes, but Mike Angelidis got the Rats on the board early in the third, and Samson followed a couple of minutes later.
Game four will be Monday night in Wilkes-Barre at 7:05, when the Rats will have a chance to break out their brooms for a season sweep. The River Rats haven’t won a playoff series since 1998, when they advanced to the Calder Cup semifinals.
The Albany River Rats took a 2-0 series lead against the WBS Baby Pens in Calder Cup playoff action on Friday. They won game two 3-2 with defenseman Jamie McBain potting the game-winner.
The Pens focus has been shutting down Rats leading scorer Jerome Samson, and they’ve done that. Tonight, he only had two shots on goal and had a -1 rating. The Rats, though, are getting big things from other guys. McBain scored his second of the postseason, and Nick Dodge scored his third of the second season. Left wing Chris Terry also contributed with his first goal of the playoffs.
The series resumes Sunday afternoon in Wilkes-Barre. I’m guessing that the Pens might want to dial up a defensive plan that keys in on Nick Dodge.
On Friday, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that they’ve signed defenseman Michal Jordan to a three-year entry level contract. His Plymouth Whalers were eliminated from the OHL playoffs by the Windsor Spitfires, and he wasted no time in getting a professional contract. The 19-year old will report to Albany and join the Rats in the Calder Cup playoffs.
Like Zac Dalpe, the remainder of this playoff season doesn’t count as far the organ-eye-zational payroll is concerned. He’s technically on an amateur tryout contract until his two-way contract kicks in next season.
Jordan, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2008 entry draft, could have played one more season in the Ontario Hockey League, but there’s a lack of blue line depth in the Canes system, so it’s a good thing. He’s a little on the small side, at just 180 pounds, but he’s 6’1” and will probably grow a little taller and certainly heavier. He’s just 19 years old and will be quite a ways away from being ready for the NHL.
On Wednesday, the Albany River Rats won the first game of their first round Calder Cup playoff series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins. Nick Dodge had the game-winner in the last minute of regulation, his second of the game. The Rats play at home again tonight and will hope to gain a 2-0 series lead.
Left wing Jacob Micflikier and defenseman Jamie McBain also tallied goals for the Rats.
Nick Johnson led the Baby Pens with two goals (including a short-handed goal) and an assist. The Pens will see a change in goal on Friday night due to an illness and a call-up.
Following Saturday’s season finale against the Bruins, the Hurricanes assigned a slew of players to the Albany River Rats as they prepare for the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Rats finished second in the East division and will face either the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins or the Lowell Devils in the first round. Each of those teams plays its season finale today.
Tim Conboy had already been reassigned. He was joined by forwards Drayson Bowman, Zach Boychuk and Jerome Samson. Also, defensemen Casey Borer, Jamie McBain and Bryan Rodney were assingned. This article doesn’t name Jay Harrison as one of the assigned players, but he’s on the Clear Day roster, and I assume that it must have been an oversight to leave his name out.
On Saturday afternoon, the Hurricanes season ended pretty much the way it started: ugly. In a 4-2 loss to the Bruins, the Hurricanes surrendered THREE shorthanded goals during the same power play. All in a span of 62 seconds, which has set a new NHL record. I once saw Carolina score two shorties in a single power play, and I’ve seen teams score three in a game, but I’m sure that I’ll never see this again.
Take those 62 seconds away, and the Hurricanes played a pretty good game. That, however, is emblematic of the entire season. There were only a couple of games in which they played poorly for the entire game. Almost every one of the 14 games in the winless streak through November was characterized by breakdowns that lasted three or five minutes. Unfortunately, those breakdowns parlayed into very low confidence levels, and this sort of made the team beat themselves.
About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.