Last night the Albany Devils beat the Adirondack Phantoms in a shoot out victory after relgulation and overtime ended in a three - three tie. I thought it might be a good opportunity to report to the NJ Devils fans on how some of the players they got a pretty good look at this season are fairing down here in the minors.
It is interesting how some players do nothing but struggle in the "bigs" yet can flourish one level below. Take Tim Sestito. He played like a man possessed last night. He threw more checks than anybody, even though he may have bounced off a few of the bigger players. He dug a puck off the offensive boards, forced his way past two defenders using a tight spin move, and banked it off the goalie. Someone was mentioning the how well people play when they return from the waiver wire. Perhaps that's the case with Sestito.
Going the opposite direction is Urbom. Sorry folks, but he was all but invisible last night.. For those of you New Jersey folks who are hoping this guy is going to be ready next year, you wouldn't know it from last night's performance. Someone you might just see next year in relief could be goalie Dave Caruso. He put in an impressive performance stopping all five shooters in the shoot out. Stephen Gionta the Albany Devils captain is a perfect fit for the AHL. A smart player and strong leader, always hustling. The small framed Gionta put a hurt'in on some much bigger defenders, much to the approval of the crowd.
Lastly, I wanted to mention Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (PL3), who scored a rare goal last night . A complete gift in front of the Phamtoms goal from a defense who latter hung himself after the game. One of the IN Lou We Trust writers recently referred to PL3 as a "goon". Granted he is not particularly skilled in any one area other than fighting. However having said that, PLS is not a goon and here's why; a true goon is someone put on the ice for the sole purpose of injuring star players on the opposing team, a head hunter if you will. I have seen PL3 in several games and I can tell you this is not his style. While he is in at least one fight almost every game, it would appear that he receives more challenges than he offers. I have seen him delivery some nasty checks but he is not a cheap player. Fighting, whether you like it or not appears to be part of the NHL/AHL for the immediate future. A good fighter can at times be the catalyst a team needs to achieve victory, as was attribute to PL3 by his team mates during a recent victory over the Charlotte Checkers. Last night for the third time I have witnessed, he knocked his opponent down with a sinlge punch. The crowd went wild,
An interesting note: Michael Leighton was the losing goalie. Leighton has many fans in the Capital Regions the result of his very successful years with the old Albany River Rats.