Devils Co-Host “Hockey Night” at Trenton Thunder

Earlier tonight, the Trenton Thunder, the Double-A Eastern League affiliate of the New York Yankees, hosted Hockey Night at Arm & Hammer Park. The event was co-hosted by the New Jersey Devils and the NHL Network.

As part of the festivities, “Mr. Devil” Ken Daneyko was on hand to throw out one of the ceremonial first pitches and to sign autographs. He was joined by team mascot NJ Devil and three members of the Metropolitan Riveters, champions of the NWHL. Those three players were Rebecca Russo, Kelsey Koelzer and Madison Packer.

The three players threw out first pitches as well and then all five moved to the concourse of the stadium and signed autographs.

The NHL Network auctioned off signed memorabilia including an autographed Alex Ovechkin Capitals jersey. Many of the items were donated by the various NHL teams.

Fans were encouraged to wear hockey team gear and there were representations of the obvious Devils, Rangers and Flyers, but also teams like the Bruins, Red Wings and Coyotes.

The Devils had a presence all night, with a table giving people information about season tickets and the upcoming season as well as Beach Blast.

For the record, the Thunder lost the game 9-7 to the Altoona Curve (affilitate of the Pittsburgh Pirates) after a thrilling ninth inning rally was choked off.

Following the game the Devils presented fireworks and the crowd went home happy, forgetting about the hard luck loss by Trenton.

Riveters Win Championship; Devils Sign Goalie Cam Johnson

The Metropolitan Riveters are the champions of the NWHL. They defeated the Buffalo Beauts 1-0 yesterday at RWJ Barnabas Hockey House in Newark to win the Isobel Cup – their first in franchise history.

In front of a sellout crowd, according to Marisa Ingemi of ESPN.com, the Riveters got a goal from Alexa Gruschow and a shutout performance from goaltender Katie Fitzgerald (who was named MVP according to Ingemi). According to Dan Rice of NWHL.zone – the league’s official website – she made 28 saves. She was able to stare down Buffalo goalie Amanda Leveille in what was a classic goalie’s duel. The Beauts were trying for their second title, which would have made them the first NWHL team to repeat.

The Riveters won their first championship in the league’s third season of existence. The Boston Pride won the first year.

Ingemi said that in addition to the live sellout at the Hockey House, “the livestream broadcast of the game exceeded 45,000 live viewers.” The Riveters’ Miye D’Oench was quoted by Ingemi as saying “It was amazing – the crowd was bumping. We appreciate every single person who came. It was such a great atmosphere. This is what women’s hockey should be like.”

Coach Chad Wiseman was quoted by Ingemi as saying “I don’t know how to express how that feels. From the first season at the Aviator [a recreational sports complex on Long Island] with no dressing room throwing our stuff all around, and now we’re playing at an NHL facility.”

Ingemi said “for all the players have been through, from playing in a second-bit rink to winning the title with the support and backing of an NHL club, the New Jersey Devils, (winning the championship) symbolizes progress.”

Congratulations to the Metropolitan Riveters on their well-deserved Isobel Cup championship. Let’s hope their NHL brothers can do something similar later this spring.

In Devils related news, the team announced yesterday that they have signed goalie Cam Johnson to a one-year entry-level contract.

The contract kicks in in 2018-19. He was a college free agent (just like Keith Kinkaid – who was signed as an undrafted free agent out of college) “who just completed his senior season at the University of North Dakota” according to the Devils’ press release.

The press release said that he “will travel to Binghamton and sign an AHL amateur tryout contract with the club on Tuesday.”

The 23 year-old Johnson played 102 games at North Dakota, going 56-26-12 in his four seasons there. He had 12 shutouts and is North Dakota’s “all-time leader in career goals-against average (2.10), ranks second in career shutouts (12), fourth in wins (56) and career save percentage (.916).” In NCAA playoff/NCHC conference playoff games, he is a career 10-3.

The press release stated that his best season was 2015-16. That season, he had career highs in wins (24), shutouts (five), goals against average (1.66) and save percentage (.935) in 34 games played. That was also the year UND won the NCAA National Championship. Personally, he was named to the NCHC Second All-Star Team, NCAA West Second All-American Team and NCAA All-Tournament Team. The press release notes that he was named to the NCHC All-Academic Team all four of his college seasons.

The 6-foot, 1-inch, 200-pound native of Troy, Michigan played with the Fargo Force and Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL for two seasons prior to moving to the University of North Dakota.