River Rats Officially Eliminated From 2009 Playoff Race
Albany played three games in Week 25 and got off to a strong start Wednesday in Rochester. Goals from Harrison Reed, Nick Dodge and Brett Carson gave the River Rats a 3-1 lead early in the third period, but the Americans rallied for two third period goals to force overtime and then won the ensuing shootout 3-1. On Friday night back in Albany the River Rats took another early lead, this time against Hartford, on a Tomas Pospisil goal just 1:45 into the game. However, the Wolf Pack fought back and rattled off five straight goals to take the contest 5-1. Albany did not take an early lead on Saturday when Springfield visited the Times Union Center; the Falcons went up 3-0 in the third period before a late shorthanded goal from Brandon Sutter made it 3-1. The River Rats had good scoring chances throughout the game, firing 39 shots on goal, but Springfield goalie Dany Sabourin was excellent and only allowed the single tally. After going 0-2-0-1 on the week and having Binghamton rally for a 3-2 shootout win over Rochester on Saturday night,
Week 26 Preview:
With any hopes of reaching the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs extinguished on Sunday, the River Rats will now take on the role of spoiler for their remaining eight games of the 2008-09 regular season. Every team Albany faces in the final two weeks is either fighting for playoff position or for the final playoff spot in their respective divisions. In Week 26, the River Rats will try to stave off the playoff-hungry teams, while at the same time fight through a vicious five-game in six-day schedule. Tuesday, March 31st the River Rats will close out the month with a make-up game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Times Union Center; this game was originally scheduled for February 20th and was postponed due to the team's bus crash. Wednesday night Albany heads to Philadelphia for their last game ever at Wachovia Spectrum; which will be demolished this summer. Friday, April 3rd the Rats will play their fourth and final home game at the Glens Falls Civic Center as they battle with the Worcester Sharks for the second time this year in Glens Falls. With three games already behind them, Albany hits the road for two games in less than 24 hours; they play at Binghamton on Saturday, April 4th at 7:05 pm and then in Bridgeport on Sunday, April 5th at 1:00 pm.
Week 26 Schedule:
(BROADCASTING NOTE - The River Rats game on Friday, April 3rd vs. Worcester at the Glens Falls Civic Center will not be aired on 104.5 FM (WTMM) due to a programming conflict. That game can be heard for free over the Internet at www.albanyriverrats.com and can be watched via internet pay-per-view video on www.ahllive.com. The other four games this week will be broadcast LIVE on 104.5 FM "The Team" ESPN Radio, over the internet and on AHL LIVE.)
Tuesday, March 31 - 7:00 pm - Times Union Center - Albany, NY
vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (44-23-3-5, 96 pts)
Third Place, East Division
The Sound Tigers have the same number of points as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but the baby Penguins hold the tiebreaker for second place in the East Division. Bridgeport has one game in hand on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and both teams sit just five points behind first place Hershey. The Sound Tigers still have a shot at home-ice advantage with five games to play, but they've lost their last three, including a key match-up on Saturday with the first place Bears. Bridgeport gave up five or more goals in each of those three losses. Tuesday night's game will be the seventh meeting of the season between Albany and the Sound Tigers and their final contest will take place later in the week on Sunday. The teams split their previous six games, but Bridgeport has taken points from all but one game, since two of the River Rats' three wins came via the shootout. Each game so far in the season series has been decided by two goals or fewer.
Leading Scorer: Mike Iggulden (RW) - 59 points (23 goals, 36 assists) in 67 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Peter Mannino (G) - 3.00 GAA, .898 save pct., 14-12-2-1 in 31 GP.
Who's Hot: Andrew McDonald (D) - 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in his last three games played. Chris Lee (D) - 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in his last four games played. Tomas Marcinko (RW) - 3 assists in his last three games played.
Wednesday, April 1 - 7:05 pm - Wachovia Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA
@ Philadelphia Phantoms (38-29-2-4, 82 pts)
Fifth Place, East Division
The Phantoms are just four points behind Binghamton for the final playoff spot in the East Division and they have one game in hand on the B-Sens. Philadelphia kicked-off last week with a big 3-1 win over Binghamton on Wednesday and then they went on to win two of their next three games. The River Rats and Phantoms have faced off six times this season; Philadelphia took the first three games and held Albany scoreless into game three on January 18th, but Albany took game four 2-1 on January 31st. Philadelphia struck next on March 14th with a 5-4 victory and Albany won the most recent match up 2-0 on March 22nd. The final game of the series will be next week on Wednesday, April 8th at 7:00 p.m. in Albany
Leading Scorer: Jared Ross (C) - 61 points in 58 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Scott Munroe (G) - 2.51 GAA, .925 save pct., 27-19-3-3 in 51 GP.
Who's Hot: Jonathan Matsumoto (C) - 5 points (4 goals, 1 assist) in his last two games played. Rob Sirianni (RW) - 4 goals in his last two games played. Boyd Kane (LW) - 4 assists in his last two games played.
Friday, April 3 - 7:30 pm - Glens Falls Civic Center - Glens Falls, NY
vs. Worcester Sharks (37-34-1-2, 77 pts)
Fourth Place, Atlantic Division
The Sharks are just one point ahead of Manchester for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division, but Manchester has one game in hand. Third place Portland is also in the mix, just two points ahead of Worcester. The race could go down to the wire, as the Sharks face Manchester and Portland in their final two games of the season. This will be the fourth and final meeting between the River Rats and the Sharks and the second time that Albany has hosted Worcester in Glens Falls this year. The River Rats took the first Glens Falls meeting 5-4 in October, but dropped the next two contests in Worcester, each by a score of 4-1. Albany has won all three games this season at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Leading Scorer: Ryan Vesce (RW) - 68 points (22 goals, 46 assists) in 63 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Thomas Greiss (G) - 2.57 GAA, .903 save pct., 25-23-2-0 in 51 GP.
Who's Hot: Trent Campbell (LW) - 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in his last three games played. Dan DaSilva (RW) - 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) in his last four games played. Andrew Desjardins (C) - 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists) in his last four games played.
Saturday, April 4 - 7:05 pm - Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena - Binghamton, NY
@ Binghamton Senators (39-27-5-3, 86 pts)
Fourth Place, East Division
The Senators have hold of the final playoff spot in the East Division, but their work is far from over as Philadelphia sits just four points below them and has a game in hand. Goaltender Jeff Glass has played in Binghamton's last thirteen contests and has helped the B-Sens play .500 hockey over their last eight games. The River Rats have faced the Senators six times this season; Binghamton took two of the first three contests, but Albany won the next three to take the 4-2 lead in the season series. The eighth and final game of the series will mark the last game of the regular season for the River Rats on April 11th at the Times Union Center.
Leading Scorer: Ilya Zubov (LW) - 52 points (14 goals, 38 assists) in 57 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Jeff Glass (G) - 3.19 GAA, .904 save pct., 15-17-2-0 in 35 GP.
Who's Hot: Denis Hamel (LW) - 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) in his last three games played. Ilya Zubov (LW) - 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists) in his last five games played. Matt Taormina (D) - 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in his last seven games played.
Sunday, April 5 - 1:00 pm - Arena at Harbor Yard - Bridgeport, CT
@ Bridgeport Sound Tigers (44-23-3-5, 96 pts)
Third Place, East Division
Albany will finish their week the way that they started it, with a contest against the Sound Tigers. By Sunday's game Bridgeport's run for home ice should be in full swing and it will be interesting to see how the River Rats respond in the 1:00 pm. away game following their 7:05 pm. start in Binghamton the night before. Sunday will be the final math up between Albany and the Senators of the season.
Week 25 Game Results:
March 25, 2009 Albany 3 @ Rochester 4 (1-3 in shootout)
March 27, 2009 Hartford 5 @ Albany 1
March 28, 2009 Springfield 3 @ Albany 1
River Rats Player of the Week: (Week 25)
Mark Flood - D - #4 3 GP, 2 Assists, +2 rating, 0 PIMs
Defenseman Mark Flood has been a steady force on the River Rats blue line over the last month in the midst of many Albany injuries. The Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island native had assists in two of the Rats three games in Week 24 and he led the team in points (2) and plus/minus (+2) over that span. On the season Flood has 27 points (5 goals, 22 assists) in 68 games played; he ranks third on the team in games played this season.
- HIGHLY DEVELOPED - The River Rats player development in the AHL continues to pay dividends for their NHL parent club, the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes have called up nine different River Rats during the 2008-09 season to date and on Saturday against Springfield Albany reached the 100 man-games lost mark due to NHL call ups this year. Three Rats players, Tim Conboy, Michael Ryan and Dwight Helminen have been recalled by the 'Canes for the remainder of the season, while several other Albany players could find themselves back in Raleigh for the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
- SHOOTING DUO - Albany's third line wingers Aaron Clarke and Tomas Pospisil provided the most energy and offensive pressure of any due on the ice Saturday night against Springfield. Clark and Pospisil each registered eight shots on goal, combining for 41% of the River Rats' 39 shots on goal in the game. Falcons goaltender Dany Sabourin kept them at bay, stopping 38-of-39 shots faced for a 0.974 save percentage that night.
- SHORTHANDED SUCCESS - Saturday night rookie forward Brandon Sutter scored his second shorthanded goal of the season in his 14th game for Albany, putting him into second place on the team in that category. Sutter trails Pat Dwyer (3 SHG) for the team lead in shorthanded goals.
- POWER OUTAGE - The River Rats scored two power play goals on Wednesday night in Rochester, including a five-on-three goal from defenseman Brett Carson. However, their offense struggled the rest of the weekend as Albany's power play has gone scoreless in their last 12 power play opportunities.
- HARTFORD WOES - Over the last five seasons Albany has struggled to earn points against the Hartford Wolf Pack. The River Rats are winless in the last 13 meetings with Hartford (0-12-0-1) and have just one win over the Wolf Pack in 16 games over the last six seasons (1-14-0-1), a 5-1 victory on January 14, 2005 in Albany.
River Rats Recent Transactions
March 25 - ADD Jamie McBain (D) - Signed to ATO, called up from the University of Wisconsin (NCAA).
March 25 - DELETE Dominic D'Amour (D) - Released from PTO, returned to Florida (ECHL)
Albany River Rats Team Leaders:
Games Played: Nick Dodge (72)
Goals: Michael Ryan (25)
Assists: Jakub Petruzalek (33)
Points: Jakub Petruzalek (50)
Plus/Minus: Josef Melichar (+7)
Penalty Minutes: Mike Angelidis (142)
Power Play Goals: Michael Ryan (8)
Short Handed Goals: Pat Dwyer (3)
Game-Winning Goals: Pat Dwyer & Michael Ryan (4)
Shots: Jerome Samson (214)
Shooting Percentage: Michael Ryan (20.5%)
Saves: Justin Peters (1,343)
Wins: Justin Peters (17)
GAA: Justin Peters (2.76)
Save Percentage: Justin Peters (0.911)
The River Rats have an exhausting five-game in six day schedule in Week 26, beginning on Tuesday, March 31st as they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for a 7:00 pm face off at the Times Union Center. Albany's other home game on the week takes place at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Friday, April 3rd as they take on the Worcester Sharks at 7:30 pm.
River Rats flex ticket packages and individual game tickets are on sale now at the River Rats office and the Times Union Center Box Office. For more information please contact the Albany River Rats at (518) 487-2244 or online at www.albanyriverrats.com.
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