HERSHEY, Pa. – In a back-and-forth contest, the Albany Devils couldn’t overcome the Hershey Bears, 7-4, Saturday at Giant Center. The Devils held two leads during the outing, but the defending Calder Cup champions had an answer each time. Steve Pinizzotto netted the game-winning goal at 11:19 of the third period.
The Devils had made it 4-4 at 7:06 of the third and then a 30-plus minute delay followed due to ice issues in Albany’s crease. When play resumed Pinizzotto scored his team’s third power-play goal and sealed the victory.
David McIntyre, Brad Mills, Ryan Ginand and Steve Zalewski were the goal scorers for the Devils.
Goaltender Jeff Frazee, who was coming off an injury, made his first start since Mar. 6. He found a grove early with a pair of point-blank saves within the first five minutes. He finished the first period with 17 saves and followed with 12 in the second and nine in the third. Frazee did see action at Syracuse last night, making three saves in approximately 10 minutes.
McIntyre opened the scoring with a turnaround shot just south of the goal crease at 5:59 of the first period. The Devils sustained pressure deep within their offensive zone and Alexander Urbom found Alexander Vasuynov below the goal line. The puck popped out for McIntyre to net his 11th goal of the year.
Albany’s lead lasted for about seven minutes then the Bears grabbed the advantage thanks to Keith Aucoin scoring at 12:57 and Andrew Gordon finding the net at 15:55 on the power play. Both players assisted on each other’s goals.
In the second period, Mills made it 2-2 with the team’s 11th shorthanded goal of the season, which was setup by Adam Henrique on a two-on-one. Mills redirected a pass over the shoulder of Nolan Schaefer. It was Mills’ third shorty of the season.
The Devils grabbed their second lead of the game thanks to Ginand, who was signed to a PTO earlier in the day. Ginand’s goal – his first career AHL tally – came at 18:20 of the second period with assists going to Andy Thomas and Nathan Perkovich.
After Dmitry Orlov tied it at 19:44 of the second, Hershey’s leading scorer Brian Willsie regained the lead at 4:01 of the third.
Zalewski answered moments later at 7:06. Henrique found rookie Ben Sova at the point. He purposely sent a shot wide of the net and the puck bounced in front where Zalewski batted it out of midair for his 14th goal of the season and 10th with the Devils.
After the stoppage and Pinizzotto’s goal, Maxime Lacroix made it 6-4 at 18:19 and Boyd Kane added an empty netter at 19:13.
Aucoin and Gordon led the Bears with a goal and two assists each. Schaefer earned his fourth victory of the season by making 27 saves.
Albany, which just finished the bookend of a six-game road trip, returns to the Times Union Center on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. contest.