Thursday, December 31, 2009

Murphy, Boychuk spark Rats

A pair of rookies stepped up for Albany against Adirondack as the River Rats earned a split in the New Year's week home-and-home series.
Rookie goalie Mike Murphy made 34 saves to record his first career shutout as a pro and rookie center Zach Boychuk scored the lone and game winning-goal in the first period as the River Rats edged the Phantoms, 1-0 on Thursday afternoon in a New Year's Eve matinee before a turnout of 4,340 at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Murphy stopped 22 shots over the final two periods to preserve the victory for Albany (19-14-1-2) and his second win in as many career starts at Adirondack (15-15-2-0).
Boychuk tallied the deciding goal while on the power play, finishing off a pass from defenseman Jamie McBain at 16:02 of the first period to spark the Rats, who ended a three-game skid.
Former NHL goalie John Grahame stopped 23 of 24 shots faced for the Phantoms, who had beaten Albany, 4-2 on Wednesday.
The Rats have won five of the six meetings at the midway juncture of the season series. Albany, which plays at Syracuse on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., hosts Adirondack on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Blanchard suspended indefinitely

Albany left wing Nicolas Blanchard was suspended indefinitely for his hit on Adirondack left wing Patrick Maroon which knocked the forward out of Wednesday's game, a 4-2 Phantoms victory.
Maroon, who was knocked unconscious and was lay motionless on the ice before he was taken off on a stretcher, was taken to Albany Medical Center and was discharged later that night.
Blanchard, who received a major penalty for elbowing and game misconduct, didn't play Thursday at Adirondack, is suspended at least until further review of the incident by the league.

Phantoms snap skid against Rats

Adirondack at last ended its woes in the Northway rivalry with Albany.
Right wing David Laliberte scored the go-ahead goal and defenseman Joey Mormina, a former River Rat, followed with the game winner as the Phantoms rolled past host Albany, 4-2 on Wednesday night.
After dropping the first four games of the season series, Adirondack (15-14-2-0) prevailed to win its third game in its past four outings and handed Albany (18-14-1-2) its third consecutive loss in the setback.
Center Jon Matsumoto scored a goal and assisted on two others for the Phantoms, and defenseman Joonas Lehtivuori, Laliberte and Mormina each tallied a goal and an assist.
Rookie center Zach Boychuk and center Mike Angelidis each scored for the Rats, who travel north to play at Adirondack today at 3 p.m. to complete the New Year’s week home-and-home series.
Earlier in the game, Phantoms left wing Patrick Maroon took a hit from Rats left wing Nicolas Blanchard and was knocked out of the game 3½ minutes into the contest. Only 10 seconds later, Lehtivuori scored on the power play for a 1-0 Adirondack lead.
Motionless on the ice, Maroon was taken off the ice by stretcher and taken to Albany Medical Center, where he was reportedly conscious and able to move his arms and legs.
Blanchard, who was assessed a major penalty for elbowing, was ejected with a game misconduct and will likely be suspended by the American Hockey League.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

PlanetUSA All-Stars announced

The PlanetUSA team for the American Hockey League All-Star Classic on Jan. 18-19 in Portland, Maine has been announced.
Among the starters is center Keith Aucoin, a former River Rat who has been selected to compete in his fifth consecutive All-Star Classic, this time again representing the reigning Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears.
Aucoin who set Albany franchise season-records in assists (72) and points (99) in the 2006-07 campaign and represented Albany at the All-Star Classic that season and at the 2007-08 event.
This season’s PlanetUSA All-Stars will be coached by the Manchester Monarchs’ staff, with head coach Mark Morris (formerly a head coach at Clarkson University) and assistant coach and ex-Rat Scott Pellerin.

PlanetUSA All-Stars
x-Keith Aucoin, Hershey
x-Brandon Bochenski, Norfolk
Mark Cullen, Rockford
Lars Eller, Peoria
Dan Fritsche, Syracuse
x-Nathan Gerbe, Portland
Christian Hanson, Toronto
Mikko Lehtonen, Providence
Graham Mink, Rochester (captain)
Patrick Rissmiller, Grand Rapids
Sergei Shirokov, Manitoba
Jack Skille, Rockford
Brett Stirling, Chicago
John Carlson, Hershey
Jonas Junland, Peoria
Bobby Sanguinetti, Hartford
Sean Sullivan, San Antonio
x-Ivan Vishnevskiy, Texas
Viatcheslav Voynov, Manchester
x-Mike Weber, Portland
Andy Wozniewski, Providence
Anton Khudobin, Houston
x-Michal Neuvirth, Hershey
Alexander Salek, Rochester

Head Coach: Mark Morris, Manchester
Assistant Coach: Scott Pellerin, Manchester

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rats, Phantoms set to square off

The River Rats and Phantoms resume their Northway rivalry at 7 Wednesday night in Albany.
The season series between the East Division foes has been one-sided as the Rats have won all four encounters, two victories in each city.
Second-place Albany (18-13-1-2) is the midst of a two-game losing skid, but has lost only three times in December (7-3-0-0); while sixth-place Adirondack (14-14-2-0) has won four of its past six games. The two teams complete their home-and-home series on Thursday at 3 p.m. in Glens Falls in a New Year’s Eve matinee.
Right wing Jerome Samson, who leads Albany in goals (11), assists (15) and points (26), has registered six (3-3) points in four games against Adirondack, as has center Stefan Chaput (1-5-6 versus Phantoms).
Goalie Justin Peters won the first three meetings with Adirondack this season and rookie Mike Murphy recorded the last win.
Phantoms center Jonathan Matsumoto, selected to represent Canada at the AHL All-Star Classic along with Rats defenseman Bryan Rodney, has totaled four (1-3) points in four games against Albany this season.
Rodney (upper body injury), who didn’t play on Sunday against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, didn’t practice Tuesday.

Rodney chosen as Canadian All-Star

Bryan Rodney has been chosen as a Canadian All-Star and will represent Albany at the American Hockey League All-Star Classic in January.
A native of London, Ontario and a fifth-year pro, Rodney has tallied nine (2-7) points in 21 games with the Rats this season.
Rodney, 25, has played in 18 games with Carolina over the past two seasons, including 10 this campaign, where he’s contributed five assists.
Rodney is the ninth River Rat defenseman to be selected with the honor, including current assistant coach Geordie Kinnear, who was chosen to represent Albany in three All-Star games (1995-96, 1997-98 and 1998-99). Kinnear didn’t play in the 1998-99 game because of illness.
The Rats blue liner to compete in an AHL All-Star game was Raymond Giroux in 2002-03.
Here’s the complete Canadian roster; the PlanetUSA team will be announced on Wednesday.

x-Logan Couture, Worcester
Tyler Ennis, Portland
x-Alexandre Giroux, Hershey
Andrew Gordon, Hershey
Darren Haydar, Lake Erie
Jason Jaffray, Abbotsford
x-Dustin Jeffrey, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Ryan Keller, Binghamton
Charles Linglet, Springfield
Corey Locke, Hartford
Jon Matsumoto, Adirondack
Cal O’Reilly, Milwaukee
Martin St. Pierre, Binghamton
Nolan Baumgartner, Manitoba (team captain)
Tyler Eckford, Lowell
Keaton Ellerby, Rochester
Danny Groulx, Worcester
Mark Katic, Bridgeport
Maxim Noreau, Houston
Bryan Rodney, Albany
x-P.K. Subban, Houston
x-Jonathan Bernier, Manchester
Cedrick Desjardins, Hamilton
Brent Krahn, Texas

Head Coach: Mark French, Hershey
Assistant Coach: Troy Mann, Hershey

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wilkes-Barre foils Albany again

For the second time in two nights, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins spoiled a comeback bid by the Albany River Rats.
Mark Letestu scored twice and assisted on Nick Johnson's game-winning goal and the Penguins held off the River Rats, 3-2 on Sunday.
Wilkes-Barre, which edged Albany, 2-1 in Pennsylvania on Saturday, swept the holiday weekend home-and-home series.
Mike Angelidis scored in the first period for the Rats and rookie Chris Terry tallied in the third to draw Albany within 3-2.
Adam Berkhoel finished with 24 saves for the Penguins while Justin Peters stopped 34 of 37 shots for Albany.
Earlier, forward Matthew Pistilli was reassigned by Albany to Florida of the ECHL.
The Rats return to action with a home-and-home series with Adirondack, hosting the Phantoms on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and play at Adirondack on Thursday in a 3 p.m. New Year's Eve start.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Penguins hold off Rats

The Albany River Rats' comeback bid came up short on Saturday night.
Stefan Chaput scored with 1:52 remaining in regulation, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton held off Albany, 2-1 on Saturday at Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza.
Chaput tallied to foil the shutout bid of goalie John Curry (25 saves). Justin Peters stopped 29 of 31 shots faced for the Rats.
Wyatt Smith and Tyler Spurgeon each scored for Wilkes-Barre, which dealt Albany just its second loss in regulation over its past 12 games (9-2-1-0).
The two clubs will conclude their home-and-home series today as the Rats host the Penguins at 5.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Harrison back with Rats

Veteran defenseman Jay Harrison was reassigned to Albany by the Carolina Hurricanes.
Harrison played in Carolina’s last games and recorded two assists since he was recalled from Albany on Dec. 6.
The 27-year-old Harrison, listed at 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds, has totaled five (1-4) points in 18 games with the Hurricanes this season and has registered eight (1-7) points along with a plus-4 rating in 15 games with the River Rats.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reid reassigned before holiday break

With defenseman Bryan Rodney reassigned to Albany on Sunday, the River Rats sent defenseman Elgin Reid down to Florida of the ECHL on Monday.
During his first AHL call-up, Reed recorded one point in two game with Albany, registering an assist in a 5-2 win over Syracuse on Sunday.
Following the American Hockey League’s Christmas break, the Rats return to face Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a home-and-home series this weekend.
After playing at Wilkes-Barre on Saturday night at 7:05, Albany hosts the Penguins on Sunday matinee at 5.
Also, Sunday will be River Rats team photo and autograph night. All fans in attendance will receive a copy of the club’s team photo and fans will be able to come down onto the ice after the game to take their own photos and get autographs from the players.The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a free casino day trip pass to either Foxwoods Casino or Turning Stone Casino. One fan will also get a chance to win a win a trip to Las Vegas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Rodney sent down to Albany

Bryan Rodney was reassigned to the River Rats by the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.
In his latest callup, the defenseman registered three assists in three games this week, including a pair of assists in the Hurricanes’ 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday. He also assisted on a goal in a 6-3 loss to the Florida Panthers on Friday.
This was Rodney’s third stint with Carolina this season and has totaled five assists in 10 games with the parent club this season.
Rodney has tallied nine points, including seven assists, in 20 games with Albany this season.
Right wing Pat Dwyer, who with Rodney was called up by Carolina on Wednesday, has scored a goal in each of the Hurricanes’ past two games.
Dwyer scored the game’s first goal in both contests — his first two points with Carolina this season — scoring the first period in a 3-2 win over Florida on Friday, then tallied in second period of Saturday’s loss to the Panthers. Dwyer is plus-3 over the past two games and is a plus-2 in 11 games with the Hurricanes this campaign.
Bounce-back win: After its seven-game winning streak was snapped in a 3-2 loss at Lowell on Friday, Albany responded with a balanced 5-2 win at Syracuse on Saturday.
Five different River Rats scored a goal each, including rookie center Stefan Chaput’s game-winner in the second period, and rookie goalie Mike Murphy made 37 saves in the victory.
Albany (18-11-1-2) recorded its eighth victory in its past nine games and is 9-1-1-0 in its last 11.
Murphy has won three consecutive starts to improve to 7-6-0 with a 2.55 goals against average and a .925 save percentage.
After the Christmas break, Albany will return to action with a holiday weekend home-and-home series with East Division foe Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Rats play at Wilkes-Barre on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. and host the Penguins in a Sunday matinee at 5.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Devils snap Rats' win streak

The Lowell Devils halted the Albany River Rats season-high winning streak at seven games on Friday night.
Left wing Alexander Vasyunov scored a goal and assisted on another, tallying the game winner midway through the third period as Lowell cooled off Albany, 3-2 in an American Hockey League clash at Paul E. Tsongas Arena.
The Rats were dealt their first loss in three weeks and were beaten in regulation for the first time in 10 games, having fared 8-0-1-0 over their previous nine contests.
Right wing Zach Boychuk and defenseman Jamie McBain each scored for Albany (17-11-1-0).
Mike McKenna made 34 saves, including stopping all 15 shots he faced in the third period to record the win for Lowell (17-11-3-0), which has won three straight games.
Justin Peters made 24 saves from 27 shots faced for Albany.
The Rats didn’t commit one minor penalty against the Devils and killed off both Lowell power plays.
Left wing Michael Ryan (concussion) was activated from injured reserve by the Carolina Hurricanes and assigned to Albany, but didn’t play against Lowell.
Defenseman Elgin Reid, recalled from Florida of the ECHL earlier on Friday, made his AHL debut against Lowell.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ryan gets green light to return

Left wing Michael Ryan has been activated from injured reserve by the Carolina Hurricanes and assigned to the Albany River Rats.
Ryan had been skating with the Rats while recovering from a concussion suffered in a preseason game with the Hurricanes against Atlanta on Sept. 21.
The 29-year-old Ryan is a veteran of 83 NHL games with Carolina and Buffalo. He generated points 42 points including 25 goals, in 40 games with Albany last season — represented the Rats at the AHL All-Star Classic — and completed his campaign with the Hurricanes, skating in 18 games.
Also, defenseman Elgin Reid was recalled from Florida of the ECHL to provide the Rats with six blue liners for Friday's game at Lowell.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hurricanes recall Dwyer, Rodney again

The Carolina Hurricanes have recalled right wing Pat Dwyer and defenseman Bryan Rodney from the Albany River Rats and both players will be available for Wednesday night’s game against the Dallas Stars.
Dwyer, the Rats’ team captain, was reassigned to Albany on Sunday after he played in consecutive nights with the Hurricanes at Washington on Friday and at Ottawa on Saturday.
This will be the fourth stint of the season with Carolina for Dwyer, who has appeared in eight games with the Hurricanes this campaign. Dwyer is tied for the Albany team lead in goals (11) with right wing Jerome Samson and is tied for second in points (19) with center Stefan Chaput.
Rodney has played in six games with Carolina this season, totaling two assists.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Leighton claimed by Flyers

Goalie Michael Leighton has been claimed on re-entry waivers by the Philadelphia Flyers.
Leighton was placed on waivers by the Carolina Hurricanes last week and was assigned to the Albany River Rats on Saturday. He was then placed on re-entry waivers by Carolina on Sunday.
A two-time AHL goalie of the year, the 28-year-old Leighton represented Albany at the AHL All-Star Classic in the 2007-08 season.
A veteran of 76 NHL games with Carolina, Philadelphia and Chicago, the ninth-year pro appeared in seven games with the Hurricanes this season, faring 1-4-0 with a 4.29 goals against average.
The Rats edged Hartford, 2-1 in a shootout on Sunday to extend their season-high winning streak to seven games.
Albany (17-10-1-2) — which is also riding a nine-game point streak (8-0-1-0) — is also unbeaten in regulation over this span.
Earlier on Sunday, Carolina reassigned right wing and Rats captain Pat Dwyer and left wing Jiri Tlusty to Albany.
After playing at Lowell on Friday night at 7, the Rats play at Syracuse on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rookies spark streaking Rats to victory

ALBANY — Rookies Zach Boychuk and Mike Murphy stepped up to spark the Albany River Rats past Providence, 3-1 on Saturday night to extend their season-high winning streak to six games, also snapping the Bruins’ win skein at five games.
Boychuk scored an unassisted, go-ahead goal in the second period and Murphy made 33 saves to pace the Rats (16-10-1-2), who are unbeaten in their past eight games (7-0-1-0).
Collecting in the puck off a turnover, the right wing sped down left wing and fired a shot over goalie Danny Sabourin and the puck caromed off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net 14:09 into the second period.
Boychuk also assisted on rookie center Stefan Chaput’s first-period goal as the Rats scored first for the fifth consecutive game.
Left wing Nicolas Blanchard added an empty-net goal with 2.9 seconds remaining.
Murphy, in his first start since backstopping Albany to a 4-1 victory at Adirondack last Saturday, stopped all 24 shots he faced in the final two periods against Providence to secure the win.
Providence goalie Dany Sabourin, coming off a 35-save effort in a 3-0 victory over Lowell on Friday, stopped 26 of 28 shots faced against Albany.
Earlier Saturday, goalie Michael Leighton was sent down to Albany by the Carolina Hurricanes.
Leighton will be placed on re-entry waivers on Sunday at noon, and can be claimed by another NHL team until Tuesday at noon. If he isn’t taken during waivers, he can be reclaimed by Carolina.
A two-time AHL goalie of the year, the 28-year-old Leighton has appeared in seven games with the Hurricanes this season, faring 1-4-0 with a 4.29 goals against average. The nine-year pro is a veteran of 76 NHL games with Carolina, Philadelphia and Chicago,
The Rats, who don’t play at home again until two days after Christmas (against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday, Dec. 27), travel today to play at Hartford at 4 p.m.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Peters, River Rats blank Hershey to extend streak

Goalie Justin Peters made 36 saves as Albany turned back East Division leader Hershey, 3-0 on Friday night to extend its season-high winning streak to five games in the American Hockey League. The Rats’ grinding line of Chris Terry, Nick Dodge and Jacob Micflikier combined for seven points, as each had a hand in both of Albany’s goals in the first period. Terry and Dodge each generated a goal and an assist and Micflikier registered three primary assists. After Terry scored on a rebound 7:41 into the game, Dodge took a pass from Micflikier and lifted a shot over Bears goalie Jason Bacashihua in the final minute of the first period at 19:46. Micflikier then set up Mike Angelidis’ power-play, empty-net goal in the third period. Peters made 31 saves over the final two periods to win his fourth consecutive decision and record Albany’s first shutout this season. With the win, the second-place Rats (15-10-1-2) moved to within three points of Hershey (17-8-0-2) in the East Division. Albany hosts Providence at 7 tonight — and the Bruins are also riding a five-game win streak.

Dwyer, Tlusty recalled by Carolina

The Carolina Hurricanes have recalled forwards Pat Dwyer and Jiri Tlusty. This will be the second stint with the Hurricanes for Dwyer, Albany’s team captain. The right wing played in six games in his first recall with Carolina (Nov. 19-30), where he averaged 10:53 of ice time. Through 22 games with the Rats this season, Dwyer shares the team goal-scoring lead (11) with right wing Jerome Samson and is tied for second in scoring with 18 (11-7) points with center Stefan Chaput. This is the first assignment to Carolina for Tlusty, a fourth-year left wing who was acquired by Carolina in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 3, and made his Rats debut on Sunday against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Hurricanes will place forwards Erik Cole (upper body injury, expected to miss two to three weeks) and Chad LaRose (lower body, three to four weeks) on injured reserve. In a pair of separate moves, the River Rats recalled forwards Harrison Reed and Matthew Pistilli from the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.