The New York Riptide are on the road for the first time this season with travel to the state capital to take on the Albany FireWolves.
Albany sits at 2-2 after an 11-10 overtime win over the Halifax Thunderbirds last Friday. Albany is lead by former Riptide player and Long Island native Kieran McArdle, who leads the team with 18 points despite playing in only 3 of the team’s 4 games so far. Another former Riptide member in Connor Kelly is right behind him with 16 points, and similarly has missed one game. Albany’s strength comes from their defense, with only Toronto and Colorado having allowed fewer goals this season. Goaltender Doug Jamieson has stopped 81% of the shots he’s faced this season.
A major weakness for Albany has been at the faceoff X. After faceoff specialist/defenseman Joe Nardella suffered a season ending knee injury at a Team USA training camp, Albany has faced off by committee, with nine different players having taken at least one draw, and they have combined to win just 9/80 faceoffs over the last three games, an 11.25% rate. Jay Thorimbert has taken every faceoff for the Riptide this season, and while he sits at just 38%, he is coming off his best statistical performance of the season, having won 14 of 24 draws against Rochester. A strong performance at the dot from Thorimbert will be important to give the New York offense more possessions.
The Riptide will seek to build off their best defensive performance of the season against Rochester. Damon Edwards in particular had a strong game, causing three turnovers and picking up 8 loose balls, as did goaltender Steve Orleman, who made 40 saves on 51 shots. Offensively, despite being held goalless in both of his last two games, Jeff Teat still leads the team in points, having either scored or assisted on 25 of New York’s 40 goals this season. Reilly O’Connor, who is making his return to Albany after being traded in the offseason, is second on the team with 16 points. Larson Sundown will look to continue his good run of form, having scored twice in each of the last three games. Especially with the loss of Callum Crawford, who was traded to Panther City earlier this week, it will be crucial for the Riptide to find offense outside of Teat, as now just three players on the active roster have recorded double digit points this season, and the team has scored just 15 goals in their last two games.