Devils Grind Out Gutsy Win To Extend Streaks

ALBANY, NY — The Albany Devils had and lost three leads, but pulled out a come-from-behind victory with less than eight minutes remaining, defeating the Syracuse Crunch, 6-4, Saturday. The win extended Albany’s home winning streak to nine games and its overall stretch to five straight.

Five different Devils registered multiple points. Mike Sislo had two goals and an assist and Joseph Blandisi had three helpers. Matt Lorito had the game-winning goal and an assist and Reid Boucher had a tally and a helper. Reece Scarlett contributed a pair of assists.

Netminder Yann Danis, who was named to the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic roster Thursday, made 19 saves for his 16th victory — tied for second most in the league.

Syracuse’s Jonathan Drouin and Jeff Tambellini each contributed a pair of goals. In goal, Kristers Gudlevskis and Adam Wilcox shared responsibilities. Gudlevskis made eight saves in the first period. Wilcox had 17 stops during the second and third periods.

HIGHLIGHTS & GAME NOTES

• Lorito scored his second game-winning goal of the season. He extended his point streak to three games (3g-2a) thanks to his eighth multi-point game of the season. He leads the team with 27 points and 19 helpers.

• Sislo, who was returned on loan by New Jersey earlier in the day, scored his league-leading 10th and 11th power play goals. He has a team-leading 15 goals and is second on the team with 26 points.

Rod Pelley was an assist shy of accomplishing the Gordie Howe Hat Trick. He scored his third goal of the season and fought Crunch captain Mike Angelidis midway through the second period. This year, Pelley has six points (3g-3a) in 32 outings.

• Tropp, who was also an assist shy of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick, extended his point streak to three games with his ninth tally of the year. He has two goals and an assist in the last three games and three goals and a helper in the last five outings.

• Boucher and Blandisi both extended their point streaks. Boucher moved his stretch to four games (3g-3a) and Blandisi extended his streak to two outings (5a). Scarlett had two assisst, giving him four points (1g-3a) in the last four contests.

• Coming off injuries, Seth Helgeson and Blake Pietila returned to the lineup. Helgeson missed five games after suffering a shoulder injury at St. John’s on Dec. 16. Pietila missed four games with a lower-body ailment suffered at Rochester on Dec. 19.

• The Devils scored two power-play goals for the second straight game. They went 2-5 at Hartford last Sunday and 2-6 against the Crunch.

TURNING POINT

Trailing 4-3 in the third, Sislo scored his second power-play goal of the night at 12:49. Sixty-four seconds later, Lorito won a puck in the neutral zone, raced down the right wing and beat Wilcox over the left shoulder at 13:53 to give Albany its fourth and final lead of the game.

HOW IT PLAYED OUT

Albany scored first for the 20th time this season thanks to puck movement on the power play that began with Blandisi high in the neutral zone. He worked the puck down low to Lorito, who made a cross-ice pass to Sislo for a one-time goal at 10:27.

Syracuse’s Daniel Walcott sprung Drouin for a breakaway minutes later and he beat Danis blocker-side at 12:08.

Tropp responded thanks to Blandisi forcing a turnover high in the offensive zone and Boucher found Tropp at 14:12 in the exact spot Sislo scored his goal.

Before the end of the first, Drouin struck again, using his speed to get behind the Devils defense and scoring at 19:17.

Pelley gave Albany its third lead of the night, cashing in on a broken play atop the crease at 8:44 of the second.

However, Tambellini scored through a screen at 10:39 of the second and again at 5:14 of the third period. Former Devil Matt Taormina assisted on both plays.

THE ESSENTIALS

Shots: Albany 31, Syracuse 23
Power Play: Albany 2-6, Syracuse 0-2
Three Stars: 1. Matt Lorito (ALB), 2. Mike Sislo (ALB), 3. Jeff Tambellini (SYR)

NEXT UP

The Devils return to Times Union Center Saturday with a 5 pm start against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The first 2,000 fans to arrive will receive an A-Devils Bobblehead courtesy of the Times Union.

Highlights: Devils 6, Crunch 4

Postgame: Rick Kowalsky

Postgame: Matt Lorito

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