CRUCIAL POINTS

by Dan St-Jacques // 3.29.2013 // Recap

ALBANY, NY – In what Jay Leach called a “must-win game” afterwards, the Albany Devils knocked off the Hershey Bears, 5-3, Friday at Times Union Center. Several Albany players enjoyed milestone performances as the Devils earned two crucial points towards a Calder Cup Playoff berth.

Leach recorded the first two-goal performance of his career, Cam Janssen had his first multi-point game and Jon Merrill registered his first professional point. Joe Whitney registered his career-high 24th goal and Darcy Zajac netted his career-best ninth tally. Additionally, J.S. Berube registered his first point of the season with an assist. In goal, Keith Kinkaid stopped 28 shots on 31 attempts.

Peter LeBlanc got the Bears on the board first with a power-play goal at 4:20 of the first, but the Devils responded with three consecutive goals. Janssen erased the Bears lead after 68 seconds and Zajac and Leach put the Devils ahead with a pair of goals in the second at 3:18 and 7:04, respectively.

Casey Wellman cut into Albany’s lead at 12:36 of the second, but Whitney restored the two goal advantage, beating Dany Sabourin over the left shoulder from a tight angle at 1:33 of the third. Joey Crabb brought the Bears back within one at 5:04 of the third until Leach added an empty-netter at 19:17 of the third.

Sabourin was brought in to replace Philipp Grubauer in the second period. Grubauer made 4 saves on 7 shots while Sabourin stopped 7 shots on 8 attempts.

Notes & Numbers 
– The Devils improve to 28-26-1-10 (67 pts.) with the win, while the Bears fall to 31-26-3-6 (71 pts.).

– The victory was the third of the season against the Bears, marking the first time in franchise history the Devils win the season series.

– Cam Janssen netted his first goal of the season and his first AHL tally since Oct. 9, 2005 at Philadelphia. Additionally, it was his first professional goal since playing for St. Louis (NHL) on Mar. 30, 2011 at Detroit.

– Darcy Zajac registered his career-high ninth goal of the season and first since Mar. 2 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. In 59 games this year, he has 15 points.

– With his first goal since Jan. 20 vs. Adirondack, Jay Leach posted his third and fourth goal of the season and his 25th of his career.

– Joe Whitney extended his point streak to five games with his team-leading 24th goal of the season. He now has points in 11 of the last 12 games and in 13 of the last 16.

– Defenseman Jon Merrill, who was signed to an amateur tryout agreement earlier in the day, made his professional debut. He registered an assist and a +2 rating and had time on the power play and the penalty kill.

– Keith Kinkaid earned his 19th win of the season and 36th of his career. He is two wins away from tying Mike McKenna on the franchise’s all-time wins list.

Lineup 
Goaltenders: Keith KinkaidJeff Frazee
Defensemen: Brandon BurlonEric GelinasJay LeachCorbin McPhersonJon MerrillAlexander Urbom
Forwards: Matt AndersonPhil DeSimoneJean-Sebastien BerubeMike HoeffelCam JanssenChris McKelvieMike SisloJoe WhitneyDavid WohlbergDarcy ZajacKelly ZajacSteve Zalewski

Next Up 
The Devils return to Times Union Center tomorrow for a 7 pm outing against the Portland Pirates. Fans who aren’t in attendance can follow the action at ahllive.com.

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