Frazee carries the burden in 2-1 Devils win over Adirondack
There's just no getting around it. The Albany Devils are forcing their goalies to be all-stars.
That's not to say either Jeff Frazee or Keith Kinkaid will wind up in the actual all-star game this season, but they have had to be two of the best players on the team through the first 10 games just to get to 3-5-0-2. Combined, they have a goals-against average of 2.00 (They've allowed 20 of the 21 goals Albany's opponents have scored, the other surrendered by an empty net).
OK, fine, because they've been pulled once or twice, meaning they don't total 600 minutes of ice time, it's actually a hair over 2.00, but I don't usually wear my math hat this late at night. Still, they've been far better than 3-5-0-2, but they have gotten very poor goal support (17 goals in 10 games).
"It's a shame," Albany right wing Matt Anderson said. "Even last night [a 2-1 shootout loss in Providence] and in the Hartford game [another 2-1 shootout loss, in which the Devils had 44 shots on goal]. Scoring one goal just isn't cutting it. Scoring two goals sometimes just isn't enough, either. We've got to do our half, too. We know they're pulling, and it's nice to get these guys a win. Obviously, last night would have been a nice win to get, too, but you can't have them all, I guess."
"Not putting down our offense at all, but we've been a little snakebit lately," Albany defenseman Matt Corrente said. "It's not from lack of trying. We're getting good chances. Everyone's just trying to go out and do their jobs, and good things happen."
The guys in the room know they're putting the burden on Frazee and Kinkaid, but after turning aside 22 of 23 shots in Saturday's 2-1 win over Adirondack, Frazee said that burden wasn't weighing him down.
"I try not to look at it that way," he said. "I just go out there and try to do my best, just play my game and control my rebounds. I think we've been doing a good job of doing that. Sometimes the outcomes aren't there, but I think we've been playing well together, as a whole, throughout the season."
Frazee twice made saves on breakaways and got a little pipe-love on a third. With the game tied, 1-1, in the third period, he made his biggest save of the night.
The puck came off the right wall on a crossing pass to Tye McGinn for what should have been a backdoor Adirondack goal at the left post, but Frazee slid across and got that right pad down, pushing toward the post. He barely got the puck, but got just enough of it to keep the game even.
“I don't know who had the puck over on the left side, but he had it against the wall, so I was playing a little deeper,” Frazee said. “He made a feed across, and because I was playing deeper, I was able to get across and get a toe on it.
“It was close. I think it hit my skate, and there's not much after the skate. I just had enough time to get over there and make the save.”
As soon as he made that save, action was heading the other way. The Devils suddenly found legs for a three-on-one rush with Chad Wiseman skating it up the left side. He dished to Jacob Josefson as Josefson entered the zone through the middle, and Josefson quickly sent it to the right side for Anderson, who scored with a high shot off Phantoms' goalie Scott Munroe's shoulder and into the net.
No assist for Frazee, but man, was he ever a part of that goal.
That's all right, though. The win is the only stat Frazee is concerned with, and he was big enough all night to get it.
"He made some big saves, and at key times. I felt that when they did have chances, they were good ones," Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. "Obviously, some of the two-on-ones, which I thought our D played well and gave him the shooter. I thought he challenged and tracked the puck well. Then a couple big ones right at the end, and obviously the one right before the goal was huge. Make a big play at one end, you go down the other end and score. He was definitely our best player tonight."
"He made a couple big saves tonight," Corrente said. "He came up huge for us. He was on his game, and I thought we played well, as a team. It starts from there on out. It's great when the crowd gets into it, and he makes a big save and we get a little adrenaline going moving up the ice. It's funny how things work out that way."