Albany Devils lose shootout, 3-2, to Binghamton
The Binghamton Senators were playing in their third game in as many days, while the Albany Devils were idle on Saturday after a Friday loss in Glens Falls. Binghamton lost Friday and Saturday by a combined 12-3 margin.
That could have added up to a tired Binghamton team, especially in the third period, and given the Devils an edge Sunday.
Albany found some energy late in the game after Steve Zalewski tied the game, 2-2, with a wrister over goalie Marc Cheverie's glove at 15:07, but the Devils couldn't beat Cheverie again for a winner and eventually lost in a 2-1 shootout.
"We talked about it. They lost some guys recently to recall, are coming off back-to-back tough losses. By no means did we think it was going to be easy. I actually kind of addressed the fact that teams tend to respond in these situations," Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. "They've got some guys up from the East Coast league that want to prove themselves. Teams find a way to get energy in games like this. I thought they did out-compete us a lot, at times. It wasn't blatantly obvious, but I thought we weren't tough enough in battles, just not smart with the puck. I thought we made it easier on them than we wanted to. That's for sure."
"I think we could have jumped on them a little bit more, but it was good of us to come back and get that point," Albany rookie defenseman Corbin McPherson said. "Would have liked to have had two points on the weekend, but it's good that we salvaged one. But yeah, we definitely want to have more jump in our game coming into a team that's played three-in-three."
"Sometimes, that's just extra motivation for a team. Yeah, they're a little tired, but they've got some fresh guys in there who are excited and trying to play for a spot, potentially," Zalewski said. "Every team is good, they're one of the better teams in the conference, and three games – yeah, it tires you out, but you can play through it and you can still have a good game."
The Senators also had been hit with recalls in the last week, and they have a few players up from the ECHL to fill those vacated spots. Still, they came away with two points.
"We talked about this little bit of adversity in the last week, losing some players, we had a couple tough outings the last two nights," Binghamton coach Luke Richardson said. "We talked about it before the game, this is a gut-check, we'll see what kind of character we do have. The guys played real hard. We didn't play too fancy. We don't have that type of skill on our team to do that. We've got to work on forechecking, trying to create our opportunities on the power play and score, and limit ourselves to only a few short-handed opportunities a game, not 11 like last game. And I thought we did a way better job."
The Devils outshot the Senators, 37-26, and they had ample opportunity throughout the game to bury a few more chances. Bouncing pucks, though, and passes that slid just a foot too far away or players not quite ready to receive those passes negated so many chances.
The power-play, especially, looked sharp most of the night, right up until the final touch.
"It's been a problem," Kowalsky said. "I can go back to the last three games, Syracuse and Adirondack, point-blank right in the slot chances. Wohlberg the other night, Loktionov had one the other night. Whitney, Anderson, Sislo tonight. It's just ... you've got to bear down. Guys have got to score. A lot of chose chances, we're missing the net high or they're just getting a piece of it. Those aren't going in, and we've got to find a way to just bear down and finish those. Then I thought on a lot of rebounds tonight, we did a pretty good job of creating those, [but] they managed to tie us up or win that battle. You've got to find those pucks and put them home."
The Devils got on the board first, jumping on the Senators 22 seconds into the game with McPherson's second goal of the season and his career. His shot from the blue line sailed over Cheverie's glove shoulder and into the corner of the net.
"I was just trying to keep the puck alive in the offensive zone," McPherson said. "I picked my head up and tried to put it on net, and lucky enough, it went in."
McPherson scored on Feb. 5 at Connecticut, as well.
"I think when I score early like that, I have to stay focused and concentrate on the game instead of being happy that I scored," he said.
"With more games and more time on the blue line, I'm definitely more confident with the puck."
Cole Schneider scored 10 seconds into a power play on a weak call against Tim Sestito to tie the game, then Louie Caporusso scored on a deflection of a Chris Wideman shot from the point to give Binghamton a 2-1 lead in the second period.
Sestito was whistled for slashing as he poked at the puck behind the net as Cheverie tried to manage it. He was also called for unsportsmanlike conduct, as he must have thought as much of the call as I do and probably told referee Jon McIsaac as much.
Then Zalewski scored with just under five minutes left to play to energize the Devils.
"I almost turned it over and sent it the other way," Zalewski said. "We kept the play alive and kept it in. Whitney made a great play to hold it off and let me get back around and open up, he made a great pass through the seam and I was able to catch the goalie leaning. He dropped his glove, and I put it over his glove."
"We sat, as coaches, as a staff in here, and couldn't figure out why we didn't have more energy or more life in our game," Kowalsky said. "Guys seemed really down tonight in between periods. I think it was frustration because we never got a flow going with our forecheck. Then lo and behold, we tie it up and we had nine minutes, it was the last four minutes and overtime, we played like we wanted to win. We were not content, even in the last four minute to just sit back. Maybe they were just saying, 'Let's just get a point out of this,' but I thought that showed we weren't lacking energy. It was there. I don't know where it was for most of the night, though."
Neither team got a shot on goal in the overtime period, and the game went to the shootout with the Senators shooting first in each round.
Here's how it went, round by round:
Binghamton's Caporusso shot wide right, Mike Sislo scored through the five-hole for Albany.
Dustin Gazley lost the handle skating in, Chad Wiseman's shot is saved at the post.
Hugh Jessiman lost the handle, Matt Anderson rang the right post.
Pat Cannone scored inside the right post, Joe Whitney's shot was saved with a pad at the left post.
Tyler Eckford's shot was saved, Zalewski shot wide right, looking to put it in the same spot he did in the third period.
Schneider scored inside the right post, Harri Pesonen's shot was saved with a pad at the left side.
"A couple guys looked a little tentative," Kowalsky said. "Whitney and Zalewski, I thought both shots were not, I don't know, weren't very good. But Sislo, who's a shooter, then Anderson hits the pipe. Wiseman, that's kind of his go-to move, usually it's to the backhand. I thought the other two didn't make a move enough. I still think shooting the puck ... I'm no expert on it, but I still think it's the way to go."
"I was excited," Zalewski said. "I was feeling good about the chance. After scoring in regulation, I was feeling good coming in on the goalie again. I just put it wide and missed. It's disappointing. You could have ended it right there and it ends up going their way. It's unfortunate.
"I was coming in, I prefer to shoot, rather than make a deke. I feel that's a better asset for me, the shot, compared to making a deke. I saw glove side was there again and tried to put it there, and just put it wide."
Earlier in the day, the New Jersey Devils recalled centerman Andrei Loktionov and reassigned centerman Jacob Josefson to Albany. Josefson had not arrived in time for Sunday's game.