ALBANY, NY — The Albany Devils had — and the lost — two leads before defeating their North Division rival the Utica Comets, 3-2, in overtime Wednesday at Times Union Center. Jim O’Brien scored twice, including the game winner 58 seconds into overtime. Yann Danis made 24 saves in the first of a home-and-home series.
Here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s game:
UNSTOPPABLE FORCE VS. IMMOVABLE OBJECT
A battle between the Comets on an eight-game road winning streak and the Devils riding a seven-game home streak was a tough billing to live up to, but Wednesday’s game delivered. The Devils and Comets were unable to separate all night long until and, like any a game of this magnitude, overtime fitting.
The Comets controlled play early in the game, but the Devils played a strong third and carried it over into overtime, winning less than a minute into the extra frame.
“From start to finish that was our best period in five or six games,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “Second half of the second, we got going. We kept it simple, got it deep and did a really good job in the third. Everybody was involved, all four lines played really well and hard. We won races and battles and had opportunities to expand the lead.”
A PAIR FOR O’BRIEN
O’Brien scored two nearly identical goals to increase his season total to six. In the second period, O’Brien crashed the net, following a Paul Thomspon shot and tapped the rebound past the outstretched leg of Comets’ goaltender Richard Bachman. In overtime, he followed up on his own bid after a great pass from Brian O’Neil. O’Brien continues to build chemistry with linemates Thompson and O’Neill. The combination features three strong two-way players, who have been difference makers in their careers.
“I thought we had a lot of good chances tonight, close to having a few more,” O’Brien said. “We just have to keep on working, keep on playing the right way and keep on getting better and better. “We talk a lot about having a presence through the slot going to the net. When pucks are there you have to get there with speed and strength and look to bat them in.”
SCARLETT ACTIVE ON OFFENSE
Scarlett remained involved in the offense all night long. He led all Albany defensemen and was second on the team with four shots and hit the post at one point.
“He’s really smart that way, he picks his spots and he’s confident right now,” Kowalsky said. “He’s been arguably our best defenseman for the last four or five games. He’s moving his feet, he’s got a good stick, but he can make plays and get involved in the rush. He’s certainly a guy who can activate and get those chances.”