Devils sweep through three in the Buckeye State, can clinch playoff spot Wednesday
TRENTON, N.J., -- The Trenton Devils put themselves in a comfortable position atop the ECHL's North Division standings by winning three games in Ohio last week. The Devils can clinch a spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with a win this week, and will complete the regular season with three games against the Wheeling Nailers and Reading Royals.
DEVILS HOLD ON IN CINCINNATI: The Trenton Devils started their three-game road trip in Ohio with a 5-3 win over the Cincinnati Cyclones Thursday night. Matt Radoslovich put the Devils on the board 9:09 into the contest. The New Jersey native deflected a Justin Coutu shot between the legs of Cincinnati netminder Ryan Nie for his 11th goal of the season. The Cyclones would tie game on the power play, as Matt Syroczynski knocked in a loose puck at 13:16. Another Coutu shot led to a Devils goal 62 seconds later, as the defenseman threw the puck towards the net where it deflected off the stick of Brad Snetsinger, allowing the Devils to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. The Devils carried their momentum into the second period, striking quickly with a pair of goals. Eric Castonguay notched a point in his eighth straight game with a laser from the top of the far circle 43 seconds in the period. Just 42 seconds later, Jeff Prough scored another spectacular goal for his 30th of the season. Prough handled the puck at the bottom of the far circle, spun around and squeezed a shot in between the legs of Nie, who left the game after allowing the goal in favor of Loic Lacasse. In the third period, the Cyclones started to take control, and pulled to within a goal with 3:31 left in regulation. The Devils thwarted the Cincinnati comeback with 43.2 seconds remaining when Jim Henkel backhanded the puck from his own blue line into the empty net to seal the victory.
CASTONGUAY NETS OT WINNER IN DAYTON: Eric Castonguay gave the Trenton Devils a sigh of relief with an overtime goal as they defeated the Dayton Bombers Friday night, 4-3. Jeff Prough tallied his first career hat trick and assisted on the winning goal as the Devils moved into first place of the North Division. Castonguay took a pass from Prough at the top of the far circle and fired a laser into the top of the net to seal the win for Trenton with 1:35 left in overtime. The Devils trailed early in the game on a goal by Dayton's Les Reaney, which was equalized by Prough with a shot from the slot at 18:39. He followed with another goal 22 seconds later to give the Devils a lead into the first intermission. Prough knocked in a pass from Brad Snetsinger past the glove of Bombers goalie David Shantz for his second of the game at 19:01. The Bombers would tie the game at the 13:58 mark of the second, though Prough answered again 13 seconds later. Prough took a one-timer feed from Snetsinger in the near circle to collect the hat trick. The Bombers controlled the tempo throughout the third period, and were rewarded late as extra attacker Ryan Smyth tied the game at 19:34 with a wraparound to force overtime. Fortunately for the Devils, Castonguay came through with the game-winner, his fifth straight game with a goal and his ninth straight with a point. Prough's assist gave him his second four-point night of the season.
DEVILS SWEEP BOMBERS: The Trenton Devils completed their jaunt into the Buckeye State Saturday night with their best effort of the trip over the Dayton Bombers, a 3-1 win. The Bombers struck first on the power play with a goal from the point by Jim Henkemeyer at 8:01. The Devils tied the game at 15:25 mark as Trevor Kell found Jim Henkel for a clear breakaway at the red line, and the fourth-year Devil beat Bombers goalie Paul Drew on the backhand for his 21st goal of the season. In the second period, the Devils took the lead on the power play. Matt Cohen scored his first goal since February 22 on a one-timer blast from the far circle for his 12th goal of the season at 6:50. Unlike their last two games, the Devils controlled the third period and put the game to rest thanks to a dazzling display by Tony Zancanaro. The shifty forward deked out Greg Labenski into the Dayton zone on the near side and fired a shot from an impossible angle in the near corner, putting it through Drew for his 4th of the season at 7:38. The Devils earned their sixth straight win against the Bombers, winning all three games at the Nutter Center this season.
PLAYOFF SCENARIOS: The Devils can clinch a spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with a win over the Wheeling Nailers on Wednesday. If the Devils are able to win the remainder of their games, they will clinch the North Division title and home-ice advantage for the first two rounds of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
THE ROARING 20's: Jim Henkel and Brad Snetsinger each scored their 20th goals in Thursday's game, giving Trenton five players with 20-goal seasons. This is only the second time in team history this has occurred. The other instance was in the 2006-07 season, when Trenton had six 20-goal scorers.
TRENTON VS. DAYTON: Trenton earned their 50th regular season win over the Bombers in Saturday's game, improving its all-time record 50-16-4 against Dayton. At Sovereign Bank Arena, Trenton is 28-6-4 against the Bombers.
QUICK HITS: Jeff Prough scored his 30th goal in a Trenton uniform this season in Friday's game, becoming the seventh player in team history to accomplish the feat...The Devils are 23-1-1-2 when scoring four-or-more goals...The Devils are 13-1-0-0 when Jim Henkel has a multi-point game.
Wednesday, April 1, 7:05 p.m. -- Devils at Wheeling Nailers
Saturday, April 4, 7:00 p.m. -- Devils vs. Wheeling Nailers
The Devils will have their first crack at clinching a spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs in a venue that has not been kind to them this season. The Devils have given up points to the Nailers in all six games at WesBanco Arena, as the Nailers are 5-0-0-1 against the Devils in West Virginia this season. The Devils do have an advantage over the Nailers defensively, as the Nailers have given up an average of 3.59 goals-per-game, which is fourth-worst in the ECHL.
Friday, April 3, 7:00 p.m. -- Devils at Reading Royals
The Devils play the Royals for the final time this season Friday night in Reading. The Devils have dominated the Royals throughout the season with a 10-2-1-0 head-to-head record, outscoring them, 46-32. The Devils have taken the last five games from the Royals.
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Tuesday, March 31 -- Practice at Grundy Recreation Center, 10:00 a.m.
Travel to Wheeling
Wednesday, April 1 -- Pre-game skate at WesBanco Arena, 11:15 a.m.
Game @ Wheeling -- 7:05 p.m.
Thursday, April 2 -- Practice at Grundy Recreation Center, 10:00 a.m.
Friday, April 3 -- Pre-game skate at Grundy Recreation Center, 10:00 a.m.
Game @ Reading -- 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 4 -- Pre-game skate at Sovereign Bank Arena, 10:00 a.m.
Game vs. Wheeling -- 7:00 p.m.
End of the 2008-09 ECHL Regular Season
Sunday, April 5 -- Day Off
Monday, April 6 -- TBD
Saturday, April 4, 7:00 p.m. -- Fan Appreciation Night at Sovereign Bank Arena
Come by for the Devils final home game of the regular season! Fans in attendance will have an opportunity to win prizes as our thanks for your support during the 2008-09 season. A list of prizes can be viewed on www.trentondevils.com.
DEVILS GAME BROADCASTS: Tune in as Paul Roper brings you all of the Devils' hockey action live Saturday and Sunday on www.trentondevils.com, courtesy of B2 Networks. Video broadcasts are available for a charge of $7 per game, while audiocasts are free of charge. A cable or DSL Internet connection and Windows Media Player 9 are required to view the games.
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