ALBANY, NY — Mike Hoeffel sent the puck high off the defensive zone glass and Chris McKelvie used his speed, scoring a breakaway goal at 6:25 of the third period. The goal propelled the Albany Devils to a 6-4 victory against the division-leading Springfield Falcons Wednesday at Times Union Center.
“I kind of cut across and I saw five hole,” McKelvie said. “Originally I thought it went through, but then I didn’t see it in. Then I saw the ref pointing and realized it did somehow go in, so I think it might have trickled through five hole and kicked off his back skate or something.”
McKelvie registered the infamous “Gordie Howe” hat trick: a goal, an assist and a fight. He was named the game’s First Star.
Raman Hrabarenka, who had an assist, joined Rod Pelley, Stefan Matteu, Artem Demkov and Mike Sislo as Albany’s goal scorers. Hoeffel and Joe Whitney both posted a pair of helpers. Albany has scored five or more goals in three of their last four games.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “We knew we were going to have to get contributions from different guys and our big guys would have to be good.”
“I thought Hoeffel had a solid game and I thought McKelvie was just rock-solid. I played him every position but defense and goal tonight. The more I played him, the better he got. That’s what you need in situations like this when your depth is tested and I thought we rose to the challenge against a tough opponent.”
The Devils fought back from two deficits during the game. After falling behind 1-0 5:54 into the contest, Albany surged for three straight goals. Hrabarenka scored at 12:10 and Pelley followed at 12:24.
In the second period, Matteau made the score 3-1 at 8:14, but Springfield, backed by goals from Jacques (9:51), Craig (11:51) and Chaput (19:15), regained the lead, 4-3.
After the intermission, Demkov, who signed a player tryout agreement before the game, netted his first career AHL goal, tying the game one minute into the period.
McKelvie’s winner setup Sislo’s empty-net goal at 19:37.
“I’m glad the team won, that’s a really good hockey team we played,” McKelvie said. “I don’t know if you could tell in the second period; they kind of started taking it to us a little bit, but we responded to it well in the third. That’s a good team win.”
The Devils travel to face the Binghamton Senators Saturday at 7:05 pm. Fans can watch the game online or on mobile devices at ahllive.com.