ALBANY, NY — Jim O’Brien scored twice for the Albany Devils, but some poor puck luck and funny bounces caused the Albany Devils to fall, 4-2, to the St. John’s IceCaps Friday at Times Union Center. While several bouncing pucks went wide for the Devils, the IceCaps were able to capitalize on luck, including a goal that resulted from the puck bouncing high into air and landing in the Devils net.
Here are three takeaways from Friday’s game:
The Devils came out in the first period on fire, skating with incredible intensity and peppering St. John’s goaltender Zachary Fucale with shots. Half way into frame the shots were 9-1 in favor of the Devils. Albany’s skaters made a habit of forcing turnovers and hemming the IceCaps into their own zone. It was nearly perfect execution of the Devils’ system. Unfortunately, the Devils couldn’t carry their momentum into the second period.
“That was our game plan, knowing that we had Ben Johnson coming into the lineup, we moved some guys around, Ryan Kujawinski back to the middle,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “ I thought we skated, I thought we had really good jump. We were on loose pucks.”
O’Brien Scores Two
O’Brien continues to be a force to be reckoned with as he put up a two goals night Friday. He now hase eight points (5g-3a) in his last seven AHL games. O’Brien showcased his shot on the first goal, wristing a beauty from the circle dot to give the Devils the early lead. In the second period, hard nosed determination in stealing the puck and driving to the net payed off just after the IceCaps had tied the game. His backhand went just past Fucale’s pad and inside the post to regain the lead.
“I thought we played pretty good tonight, thought we could have scored some more goals,” O’Brien said. “That’s just the way it goes. I felt comfortable with them, hopefully we can pick it up a notch for tomorrow.”
Already without a number of their top scorers, the Devils found themselves without the AHL’s leading rookie point getter, Matt Lorito, Friday. Lorito’s leads the Devils in points with 33 and assists with 23. Lorito suffered a lower body injury Wednesday and isn’t likely to play Saturday.
“Lower body, he tweaked his ankle, we don’t think it’s anything major, but he played through it and once you get the boot off — those sometimes skates act like casts a little bit,” Kowalsky said. “It didn’t feel good, he tried it this morning. We gave him yesterday off. I’d say highly questionably tomorrow, if at all.”