France Gets by Switzerland in Shootout

France defeated Switzerland 4-3 in a shootout at the IIHF World Championship earlier today. The game, played in Paris, saw Devil Yohann Auvitu assist on a power play goal and score a shorthanded goal.

Auvitu scored the opening goal just 2:53 into the game. The goal was assisted by Jordann Perret. It came while France was killing off a slashing penalty taken by Jonathan Janil. It was at the tail end of the penalty. That goal gave France the 1-0 lead that they would take into the first intermission.

Switzerland quickly took a 2-1 lead in the second period as Vincent Praplan scored just 1:22 into the second frame from Denis Hollenstein and Romain Loeffel. That tied it up at one, but at the 3:48 mark, Praplan struck again (from Hollenstein and Gaetan Haas) to give the Swiss the lead just like that.

The third period was kind of a wild one as the French tied things on the power play at the 3:02 mark. Stephane da Costa scored from Auvitu to tie things while Loeffel was in the box serving a tripping penalty. Almost immediately after that, Auvitu was again in the thick of things when he and Pius Suter drew matching roughing calls at the 4:37 mark of the third period.

The Swiss would again take the lead when Andres Ambuhl scored at 13:14 from Suter and Ramon Untersander. But France tied it back up two minutes later when Anthony Rech potted one from Laurent Meunier. The game was headed for overtime and the French seemed to be in control when Praplan was given a tripping penalty with less than 30 seconds left in the third. France would have the power play going into the OT period.

They would not score on that power play or when Raphael Diaz was called for hooking at the 4:27 mark of the OT. The game was headed to a shootout.

Damien Fleury was first up for France by was stopped by Swiss goaltender Leonardo Genoni. Former Devil Damien Brunner went first for Switzerland and was stopped by Cristobal Huet. Da Costa scored for France, Praplan’s shot was saved and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was up. He was stopped too and the game was on Denis Hollenstein’s stick. Huet stopped him and the French had earned the win.

Overall, Huet made 23 saves on 26 Swiss shots, plus he made all he had to in the shootout for France. For Switzerland, Genoni made 21 saves on 25 French shots and was 2-out-of-3 in the shootout.

Auvitu had the goal and assist for two points, four shots on goal and was a plus-2 in 23:34 of ice time.

France next takes on Group B leaders Canada in a major test on Thursday, May 11 at Paris.

In other Devils news, the team announced today that they have re-signed defenseman Viktor Loov to a one-year, two-way contract that is worth $650,000 at the NHL level according to their press release.

Loov, 24, was acquired from Toronto in the deal that sent Sergey Kalinin to the Maple Leafs back in February of this year. He has played the majority of his North American career in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies and the Albany Devils. He does have some NHL experience; however, as the press release notes, he has played in four NHL games, making his debut with the Leafs back on February 18, 2016 versus the Rangers. He notched an assist in that game for his first NHL point. The press release notes that he has played 180 career AHL games and has 11 goals and 31 assists for 42 points and 133 penalty minutes. He is also a plus-24 plus/minus rating throughout those games. Prior to coming to North America, the Devils noted that he played in Sweden for MODO Hockey (Swedish Hockey League) and Sodertalje SK.

The press release notes that the 6-foot, 2-inch, 210-pound defenseman from Sodertalje, Sweden was the Maple Leafs’ seventh round pick (209th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

A-Devils Ousted From Playoffs in Triple OT Epic

An era came to an end as the Albany Devils skated into the Ricoh Coliseum for game three of their first round playoff series against the Toronto Marlies. They fell, 2-1 in three overtimes, losing the series, three games to one and putting an end to the current era of Devils AHL hockey in the New York state capital.

Travis Dermott got the scoring underway at the 8:55 mark of the first period with assists to Kerby Rychel and Justin Holl. That would be Toronto’s last goal for about the next 100 minutes.

The Devils tied things up with a goal from Carter Camper, his second of the playoffs, assists to John Quenneville and Ben Sexton. The game was tied at one and that was the end of the scoring until the 6:43 mark of the third overtime, when Holl scored from Frederik Gauthier and Brendan Leipsic. That goal won the game for the Marlies and sent Toronto into the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs.

The A-Devils had a chance to end things in the first overtime, when Toronto’s Rinat Vallev received a double minor for high sticking at the 12:52 mark. Albany would have four minutes to work with, but the Marlies killed it off, essentially sending the game into the second OT period. Overall, Albany went 0-for-3 on the power play with a single shot while Toronto was 0-for-2 with the extra man, mustering two shots on goal. The Marlies had their shot at ending things in the second OT when Ben Thomson was called for a hooking minor.

The real story of this game was the goaltenders. For the A-Devils, Mackenzie Blackwood made a whopping 58 saves on 60 shots allowed in 106:43 of ice time. He was named the game’s second star for his efforts. For Toronto, Kasimir Kaskisuo made 30 saves on 31 A-Devils shots in getting the win and was named third star of the game. Holl was named the game’s first star with his goal and assist.

So, with that, the Marlies advance deeper into the Calder Cup playoffs and the A-Devils cease to exist. They will move to Binghamton next season. Toronto will likely play the Syracuse Crunch, who defeated the St. John’s IceCaps three games to one, in the next round.

So, congratulations to the Toronto Marlies in a hard fought win and a good series. And good luck to the Devils’ American Hockey League affiliate as they begin their next chapter in a new city next season.