ALBANY, NY — As the saying goes: “all good things must come to end.” On Wednesday, the Albany Devils 11-game home winning streak was snapped in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Hartford Wolf Pack at Times Union Center. The Wolf Pack established a 2-0 lead in the second period before Ben Thomson scored twice to tie the game late in the frame. However, the Devils couldn’t sustain pressure in overtime and Chad Nehring scored with 33 seconds remaining to seal the win for Harford.
Here are the game’s three takeaways:
Thomson Carries the Offense
Trailing 2-0 late in the second period, Thomson came out of the penalty box with his team looking a little lost. After strong play in his own end, he helped push the play into the offensive zone. As players scrambled for the puck in front of the Wolf Pack net, Thomson set up to the side of the crease. O’Brien dug the puck out and made a great pass that Thomson put home. Just over three minutes later he fired a wrister from the far circle to tie the game.
“The fourth line plays a simple hard game and they’re the ones that get results,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “We need a little more of that from the other lines.”
“That’s something we’ve been looking for in practice,” Thomson said of his second goal. “It was a great look by McKelvie and Pelley made the goal with the screen. He should get most of the credit for it.”
The Halfway Point
The Devils enter the halfway point on a bit of a skid, having lost three straight games (0-1-2-0) but still sit in second place in the North Division with a 23-9-6-0 mark. The Devils struggled to find new chemistry Wednesday in an ever changing lineup. Passes that are normally on line were intercepted or wide and zone exits were a constant battle.
However, Kowalsky knows his team can play better, as they have for much of the season.
“I didn’t think enough guys were sharp and playing fast enough,” Kowalsky said. “Our execution, some of our decisions with the puck, one of the keys was to get the puck behind their defense and we continued to turn it over and play into their hands. I sensed a little frustration on the bench. From top to bottom, we have to be better as a team in how we play with and without the puck. “
The Devils had tied the Albany AHL mark for consecutive home victories, which was held by the 1995-96 River Rats with 11 straight at home, but couldn’t break the record. Protecting home ice is a point of pride for the team, which has resulted in a league-best home point percentage with a 15-2-2-0 record.
“It was good to battle back from a two goal deficit, but you have to take the points when you can get them,” Thomson said. “We’re just going to have bring our lunch boxes and come to work. It’s time to start a new one I guess. Come back on Friday and have a couple at home after that and start a new winning streak.”