Albany beats Binghamton, 5-2
The last two nights, the Albany Devils have reaped the rewards of crashing the net and skating hard, posting a 3-1 win over the Northeast Division-leading Springfield Falcons and a 5-2 win over the Binghamton Senators.
Those ugly goals and the contributions from up and down the roster are especially comforting considering some of the top players will soon be departing for New Jersey's one-week training camp.
"Especially this weekend, all those goals we had weren't very pretty, except for maybe that last one [finished by Mattias Tedenby on a rush in the third]," Albany centerman Tim Sestito said. "We got some dirty ones. It's a lot easier game when you're scoring goals. We had some trouble in the beginning of the year, but lately, we've been putting some in, especially against two good teams. It's a good momentum builder for the rest of the way."
"We've talked about having to score, if you want to call them ugly goals," Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. "Sestito's line gets another one tonight. You've got to get around the net. Like I've said, and I'll say it again, it's tough to score goals. We skated again tonight and went to the net and got rewarded for it."
Albany defenseman Eric Gelinas got the Devils on the board Sunday with a power-play strike from the right point early in the first. Sestito made it a 2-0 lead by skating to the right post with a shot, then sending his short rebound up over goalie Robin Lehner.
The Senators came back in the second period with a power-play goal from Patrick Wiercioch and a softy from Shane Prince that trickled through Albany goalie Keith Kinkaid. They didn't have enough, though, to hold their momentum in the third.
"What it is, is we weren't ready to compete and play tonight, and they were," Binghamton coach Luke Richardson. "You could see that in everything from the penalty kill to the five-on-five to everything. They deserve the win. Hopefully, we can play much better than that the next time against them. We sometimes sit back, I think, and rely on great goaltending and ease into a game. You can't do that against a hard-working team."
The game-winner came when Harri Pesonen forced a turnover in the Albany zone and got a three-on-one rush started with teammates Darcy Zajac and Sestito. The trio passed it around a bit, almost a bit too much, and it soon became a three-on-two. Then Pesonen found defenseman Adam Larsson joining the rush, sent the puck to him, and he finished it for a 3-2 edge.
"We've worked a lot on our D zone," Sestito said. "It was maybe a weakness in the beginning of the year, but it's been starting to come together. Our D have been playing great, doing little things to get it to us and then joining the rush."
"They do a good job of turnover transition, then adding in the defense, obviously, which scored the goal," Richardson said. "That was heartbreaking, when we worked that hard in the second to catch back up, and to give them something without them earning it. We just turned it over for no reason, and they made us pay for it, that's for sure."
Mattias Tedenby finished a rush with Stephen Gionta for an insurance goal, and Steve Zalewski added an empty-netter with just over two minutes to play. Kinkaid got his second win in as many nights and his 10th of the season.