Nobody is without blame or responsibility.
That has to be the attitude, said Albany centerman Stephen Gionta, if the Devils are to pull it together and start playing better. The team’s captain, Gionta said it’s not just the leadership that needs to step up.
“We just have to hold each other accountable for the mistakes we’re making,” he said. “That’s everyone, not just the older guys or the younger guys. Everyone’s got to look out for each other, and I think the biggest thing is we have to cut down our turnovers.
“Through the first five games, I think that’s our biggest downfall. It gets you scrambling right from the start when you turn the puck over. If we cut down on those, I think we’ll be all right.”
The Devils’ first opportunity to cut down on those mistakes will come tonight against the Hershey Bears at 7. Last season, Albany lost all six games against Hershey — three of them by one goal — by an average score of 5-3.
The Devils also host Adirondack Saturday night at 7 and will play at Providence Sunday at 4 p.m.
Albany sits at 1-4-0-0, their lone win coming in a shootout, and all of their losses at the hands of third-period surges on the other bench.
In Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Binghamton, the Senators scored three unanswered goals in the third, beginning with one in the first shift, after Albany had played so well in the second period to take a 2-1 lead.
“Our second period on Sunday was one of our better periods,” Gionta said. “We kept it simple, getting the puck in deep, then getting after it. I think it was our best period all year.”
In their only road game so far, the Devils lost, 6-1, at Worcester. Coach Rick Kowalsky said it was one of those nights where Worcester couldn’t miss. Some of the other losses, and their accompanying third-period ugliness, were harder to excuse.
“We addressed it [Tuesday], you know, in the Binghamton game, we got scored on in the first shift, but you’ve got to move on,” Kowalsky said. “I know it’s three-in-three, but you’ve got to move on. Momentum in the third period is such a big thing. We’ve talked about bouncing back, we’ve talked about playing smart. What is the game? Are we up by a goal, do we need a goal, is it a tie game? You’ve got to manage [the game]. It’s just ice awareness, situational awareness. Can I take a risk here, can I not? We just have to be smarter, as a group.”
Playing smarter and giving the puck away less should also benefit whoever is in goal.
Rookie goalie Keith Kinkaid, a former Union College standout, is in New Jersey on a recall as Martin Brodeur is out seven to 10 days, but will not need surgery on his injured shoulder. That leaves Jeff Frazee and rookie Maxime Clermont.
Kowalsky said he’d like to get Clermont a start sometime this weekend, but Frazee will play tonight to start what could be an important weekend for him with the chance to get a win or two under his belt.
He has given up six goals in both his starts this season, but Kowalsky said not all of that was on Frazee’s head.
“I think we have to play better in front of him. He made some huge saves in Worcester,” he said. “There’s no question, he’s let in some goals that he knows he has to have. He’s a four year guy, and he knows he’s got to step up and compete. These guys are counting on him. But we have to do a better job of giving him more support. We haven’t in the two games he’s played.”
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