ALBANY, NY — Down 2-0 going into the third period, the Albany Devils rallied back, scoring twice to tie the game before Reece Scarlett won it in overtime to defeat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 3-2, Sunday at Times Union Center.
Here are three thoughts on Sunday’s game:
Kowlasky Wins 200
Head Coach Rick Kowalsky earned his 200th career AHL game in dramatic fashion. Trailing 2-0 going into the third the team rallied back on an early goal from Sislo and a last minute backhand from O’Neill before Scarlett sealed the win in overtime. Kowalsky began his tenure as the Devils’ Head Coach in 2010 and sports a 200-172-61 record.
“Great effort by the guys tonight,” Kowalsky said. “We didn’t get frustrated; we stayed with it. I thought we were the better team for most of the game. They capitalized on some of the chances we gave up. We stuck with it. They came into this game, winning eight in a row. They were a pretty confident team, but we just talked about sticking with it in the third and we did. We had some big plays to tie it up and to obviously win it in overtime.”
“It probably wasn’t the easiest win,” O’Neill said. “It was probably the most nerve wracking wins he’s had all year. I’m happy for him, that’s a pretty big accomplishment. That’s a lot of wins especially in this league. There’s a lot of really good parity. It’s up and down, call ups and what not. You have to do a lot of different things. Good for him. It’s pretty cool way to get his 200 win.”
Sislo Extends Streak; Sets New Career Best
Sislo’s third period goal extended his point streak to five games and tied his season-best total of 23 set in the 2013-14 season. He also picked up an assist in overtime on the game-winning goal to give him 43 points on the year – a new season high.
With the Devils on a 5-on-3 power play Sislo dictated the play to his teammates. He, Matt Lorito and Scarlett moved the puck around the top of the zone until Sislo was able to set up in his spot and fire a blazing one-timer to get his team on the scoreboard. In overtime, he took a pass from Paul Thompson and rushed into a 2-on-1 setting up Scarlett’s winner.
“The guy just keeps scoring goals,” Scarlett said of Sislo. “Just give him the puck and he’ll make things happen. He’s a special player, a pure goal scorer. It’s fun to watch, it’s fun be on the team, give him the puck and see what he does with it. His spot on the power play there, just basically get it over to him and he’ll do the rest.”
Bridgeport came into Sunday’s game having won eight-straight games, including a 4-1 victory over Albany on January 30th. The Devils knew first hand what could happen if they got away from their game and let the Sound Tigers run away with it. Despite playing their third game in three nights, the Devils kept it close and took over in the third. They killed off a big four minute penalty and worked hard to tie the game and then take the victory.
“We worry about our game, but we knew they we’re hot coming in,” Kowalsky said. “ We did not play well against them before the All-Star break in their building. You certainly are aware of a team that’s confident and playing well. We wanted to play a patient game knowing they didn’t play Friday night. They’re coming off back to back games where they put 7 on the board. We knew they could score.”