Never-Say-Die Devils Continue Push
ALBANY, NY — The Devils erupted for a five-goal third period on their way to a 6-2 victory against the Crunch Wednesday at Times Union Center. The win keeps the Devils playoff chances alive with just two games remaining in the regular season.
Albany (35-28-5-6) still must win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Friday and against Hartford Saturday. Additionally, they need several combinations of Portland and Springfield losses to earn a playoff berth.
“Any team, whether you’re in or not, wants to finish the season strong,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “You can talk about having to win three in a row, but our focus is on just one game at a time. We didn’t do what we wanted to last weekend, but we finished with a good game in Worcester. Our focus was winning one game tonight, we did it. Now our focus is on winning a game Friday night.”
For the second time this season, the Devils tied a franchise record for most goals in one period. Entering the night, they had achieved the accomplishment four other times: Dec. 2, 2007 vs. Manchester (Third, 6-3); Jan. 14, 2007 vs. Philadelphia (Second, 6-3); Dec. 27, 2008 vs. Providence (First, 8-1); Mar. 22, 2015 vs. Hartford, (Third, 5-3).
Matt Lorito led the way with a goal and four assists. He is the fourth player in team history to produce five points in a game. David Clarkson (4g-1a) on Jan. 12, 2007 and Matt Halischuk (4g-1a) on Oct. 11, 2008) accomplished the feat while playing in Lowell. Bobby Butler (4g-1a) on Dec. 12, 2012 did so playing in Albany.
As he has done for the past month and a half, Scott Clemmensen provided some timely saves. He stopped a pair of point-blank opportunities during the second period when the game was tied. He finished with 26 saves for his 10th win of the year.
After Syracuse’s Yanni Gourde and Whitney exchanged goals in the first period, the Devils took control during the third. Helgeson and Thomson grabbed the momentum with back-to-back goals 54 seconds apart.
Helgeson’s point shot found the upper-left corner at 1:03. Thomson intercepted a pass and buried his chance at 1:57.
“We came out in the third, we had a good first and second shift and then once we got that goal it relaxed our bench a bit,” Lorito said. “After that I think the boys settled in and we started to play more of our game. We were fortunate enough to get a few more there.”
Back-to-back power-play goals from Whitney at 7:33 and Lorito at 13:30 put the game out of reach, but Matteau added on more at 16:16.
“We were playing well,” Whitney said. “It’s nice to see the puck go into the net. The power play had some success and the guys fed off of it. We took over in the third and, hopefully, carry that momentum into Friday.”
Syracuse’s Tanner Richard capped the scoring at 18:52.
The Devils hit the road to face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Friday at 7:05 pm. Fans are invited to the Recovery Sports Grill in Guilderland, NY to watch the contest with members of the Devils staff.