Saturday, October 10, 2009

Rats sink Pirates 5-2

Brandon Sutter camps in front of goaltender Jhonas Enroth
(Photo by 'akoszuta')

Prospects Zach Boychuk, Brandon Sutter, Chris Terry and Drayson Bowman put on a show last night for the Albany faithful, helping the River Rats sail past the Portland Pirates by a score of 5 to 2. 

The Rats' young offensive talent skated circles around the Pirates' defenders with a tremendous display of speed, passing and playmaking. 

The Rats came out firing on all cylinders from the get-go, dominating the first period in shots 16 to 5.

Zach Boychuk did an excellent job of quarterbacking an early power play. Boychuk hustled to keep things alive in the offensive zone, and for the second time in two games he found Brett Carson open at the point. Carson, who continues to develop his offensive game, put the puck home with a little help from Brandon Sutter in front. 

Sutter had a great game, tallying a goal and an assist. He is very smart when it comes to positioning, both offensively and defensively. 

Sutter also has the brains to keep up with Boychuk, who scored his first professional goal on a nice give-and-go with Sutter in the third period. 

Boychuk picked up three points on the night with a goal and two assists.

Boychuk commented after the game that the team is developing genuine chemistry, a fact that was evident from the stands. 

Drayson Bowman and Chris Terry are proving to be a dynamic combo in their own right. They both know how to think on their feet and move the puck in heavy traffic. They were dishing and dealing throughout the game and teamed up for a power play goal in the second period. 

Terry scored again in the third, finishing the night with a goal and an assist. 

Bowman and Terry each have two goals in two games. 

Jerome Samson maintained his reputation for pouncing on loose pucks. After Zach Boychuk was stopped on a breakaway in the second period, Samson beat the defenders to the rebound and rattled it home. He is looking better than ever.

Pat Dwyer, on the ice and on the bench, is proving why he was named captain. Dwyer's ability to move the puck down low is invaluable. He assisted Chris Terry's second goal in the third period.

Justin Peters was fantastic in net. He kept the Rats comfortably ahead in the second and third periods with several high-concentration saves. He stopped 24 of 26 shots. 

Peters was also the subject of an amusing video segment that was played on the Jumbotron during a media timeout. In the clip, Peters is identified by several of his teammates as the Rats' "toughest" player. Skaters on the bench couldn't help from sneaking a peek at the screen as highlights were shown of Peters fighting during last year's season-ending brawl. The fans enjoyed the moment.

The worst news from the night is that Brett Carson left the game in the third period after taking a hard hit in the defensive zone. He remained on the bench for a moment, but eventually returned to the locker room. He was holding ice on his wrist. His status is unknown, but we should know more tonight. 

Benn Olson and Matthew Pistilli were healthy scratches. Olson will be in the line-up tonight if Carson is unable to play. 

The Rats take on the Rochester Americans at 7 p.m. at the Times Union Center. 

More post-game coverage: