Devils Winning Streak Ends With 2-1 Loss
ALBANY, NY — The Albany Devils had their four-game winning streak halted with a 2-1 loss against the Manchester Monarchs Wednesday at Times Union Center. Scott Clemmensen turned aside 27 shots and Matt Lorito registered his second goal of the season.
Manchester’s Michael Mersch netted the game-winning goal at 3:48 of the third period while on the penalty kill. An Albany miscue deep inside the defensive zone led to a turnover and Mersch’s wrister found the upper-right part of the net.
“They’re a team that is going to jump on that,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky of the game-winning goal. “They’re going to be opportunistic. They’ve got the speed and they’re pretty tenacious on the puck in their pursuit, so if you do make a mistake, they’ve got the skill to capitalize on it.”
The Devils, who are seven points out of a playoff spot with eight games remaining, move to 31-26-5-6. The first-place Monarchs improve to 44-16-6-2.
“They’re a very good team,” Clemmensen said. “If we had to kind of map out a win before the game, we would have drawn it up very similar to the way the game went. Very tight, not giving up a lot and being in their face and very tight defensively. I thought we did that for the most part tonight and on the scoreboard it showed.”
Lorito opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 18:50 of the first period. Manchester goaltender Jean-Francois Berube made a tape-to-tape pass to Lorito, who sent a wrister into the gaping net.
The Monarch’s response came near the midway point of the second period. With the help of some misdirection, Nick Ebert’s shot beat Clemmensen five-hole at 12:50
The action in front of Clemmensen escalated during that second period. Seventeen of his saves came during the middle frame. At the other end, Berube increased his league lead with his 33rd victory. He finished with 14 saves.
“We knew we weren’t going to go out and beat them 7-6, so if we were going to win it was going to be a low scoring kind of tight checking game,” Clemmensen said. “I thought for the most part that’s what it was. In retrospect we did what we wanted to do, but we came up just short.”
The Devils have at least one power-play goal in five games, going 8-28 … Ben Johnson, who was reassigned to Albany from Orlando (ECHL) on Monday, appeared in his first AHL game since Feb. 15 vs. Harford … The Devils first period marked the eighth consecutive period with at least one goal, dating back to the third period on Mar. 22 against Hartford.
The Devils travel to face the Springfield Falcons Friday at MassMutual Center. Fans can follow the 7 pm game online at ahllive.com or over the airwaves at 104.5 “The Team” ESPN Radio.