Wedgewood makes second consecutive start
It was a bit of a surprise, seeing rookie Scott Wedgewood skating out in front of the Albany Devils as they took the ice Sunday, starting his AHL career with back-to-back games. Especially with Keith Kinkaid as an option.
"He didn't have a real busy night last night," Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said of Saturday's win over Springfield. "He's played a ton of hockey in Trenton. Three-in-three for him is – they play four in five, he's getting off the bus and playing that. So we weren't worried about his energy level. Not to take anything away from Keith, he had a bit of a tough night Friday, and we just thought, hey, we'll go back-to-back with the kid. And it worked out good. We had to have a discussion about it. It was not an easy decision. Keith's been great for us all year, and will be, moving forward. It's one of those hunch things, and we liked how he played last night."
"They have their decisions," Wedgewood said. "I don't think I have much time here – it depends on Marty [Brodeur] and his injury and how much time it takes and the goalie situation here. But getting the chance to play, I'll take it. I won't turn it down. I want to play at this level and the next level. To get that nod tonight was pretty important to me, and it worked out."
And make no mistake, he's right. When Brodeur's back is well enough for him to play, Jeff Frazee will rejoin Kinkaid in Albany, and Wedgewood will rejoin Trenton in the ECHL.
But that doesn't sour the experience for Wedgewood, who stopped all three shootout attempts he faced Sunday to win back-to-back games and become the first goalie in franchise history to open his AHL career with two straight wins.
To do it, he had to come up big when the Devils were outshot, 24-7, in the first and third periods, combined.
"Wedgewood was outstanding tonight, he deserves a lot of credit," Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. "We got on our heels a bit and got trapped in our own end. Part of it was they played a good game tonight and put a lot of pressure on us and wore our D down, but we stuck with it. We battled, which I like to see."
Defenseman Dan Kelly dove across the crease to block a shot in the first period when Wedgewood was stuck out of the net. It was just one example of how the Devils tried to rally around the young keeper.
"You tighten up, because you don't know what to expect," Kelly said. "With the other two guys, you know how they're going to move the puck and where the rebounds are going to be. With Scott, we've only had a week of practice with him, so it's still a learning process for us all. But he's been playing fantastic for us, and he's talking, and we're just trying to help him out as much as possible. He's doing great."
"It was fun," Wedgewood said. "Yesterday, I had a little case of nerves to start, it took a while to get my first shot and settle in. They were a good team yesterday, which added to the nerves, but the guys played great in front of me. The five-on-three goal, it is what it is. It was a tough situation. Then obviously a good third period to seal the deal. Then tonight, it's funny, a lot of these Adirondack guys played with me in Trenton this year, so I knew about five or six of them out there, which is a little different, going from being teammates to being opponents that quickly. But tonight, I was a little more confident, knowing yesterday I played well and got a win to start off. Today, it was kind of just, come in and try to do the same thing if I could, try to give the team a chance to win. I think in Trenton, I'm like 1-12 in back-to-back nights. I don't think I've won a back-to-back down there. To get one and two [this weekend] right back to back, it's obviously important for me, and good for the team, especially. That's a huge extra point tonight. It was just fun out there. It's one of those times when you just have to throw in everything you've got and try to earn a spot."