Boychuck helps keep River Rats on a tear, 3-1

Carolina Hurricanes first-round draft pick Zach Boychuk blasted the eventual game-winner off the bot

It happened so fast, it fooled the Providence defensemen.

Carolina Hurricanes first-round draft pick Zach Boychuk blasted the eventual game-winner off the bottom of the crossbar, into and out of the net so fast that the defensemen kept playing the puck. The lamp was lit, however, and the Albany River Rats had the last lead they needed, eventually winning 3-1.

Boychuk admitted he had been looking for a pretty goal earlier in the game, but took the advice of a teammate and just smoked one.

“All game, I was trying to stick-handle and get some moves going, but that wasn’t working so I figured, ‘Just fire a shot,’ ” he said. “Justin Peters had been talking to me all game and telling me to shoot it.”

Peters was working the door on the bench, backing up rookie goaltender Mike Murphy, who stopped 33 shots for the win, ending the Bruins’ five-game winning streak and extending Albany’s to six games. The Rats also have recorded points in their last eight games.

The advice led Boychuk to reel off his shot on a one-on-three, hardly numbers that favor most skaters. Albany coach Jeff Daniels said, however, Boychuk has shown flashes of brilliance this season and this goal fit his style of play.

“That’s where his skill set comes in,” Daniels said. “He has good speed, he likes to attack, he’s got the ability to cut across with that quick release of a shot and catch goalies off guard.”

Boychuk assisted on the first goal, a power-play goal, taking a quick pass from Bryan Rodney and sending it over to Stefan Chaput before the penalty kill of the Bruins could react.

“Those guys are really aggressive [against] the power play,” he said. “They were kind of all over us. We basically realized we had to get quick puck movement to beat it.”

Boychuk, Murphy and Chaput were the game’s three stars. Peters will start today in a 4 p.m. game in Hartford, despite the assignment of goalie Michael Leighton to Albany by Car­olina on Saturday. Daniels said he will stick with the lineup he planned for the weekend and address the issue of having three netminders early this coming week.

Murphy, he said, continues to show improvement.

“He was in control of his emot­ions and he wasn’t as scrambly,” Daniels said. “He made some big saves for us throughout the game. I think he’s playing with confidence right now and knows he can play in this league. I’m trying to get him more time in the net, but at the same time, Petey’s playing well, too.”

The 16-10-1-2 Rats seem to have found a formula for attacking the three-in-three schedule, having swept last weekend’s and entering today’s game with a chance to do the same. They will be without Rob Hennigar, however, who injured.

Chaput said having reliable goaltending goes a long way, but the Rats also have figured out how to pace themselves through the week and the weekend.

“We prepare ourselves mentally, differently,” Chaput said. “Now, we know how hard we can push ourselves. In the beginning of the year, we’d maybe step back in the second game, then in the third game, we’d play the first period but not the third. Now everybody’s pushing in the same direction and pushing in every period in every game.”

Providence 1 0 0 — 1

Albany 1 1 1 — 3

First Period — 1, Albany, Chaput 5 (Boychuk, Rodney), 12:36 (pp); 2, Providence, Lehtonen 10 (Whitfield, Sabourin), 17:41 (pp). Penalties — LeFebvre, Pro (slashing), 6:42; Bodnarchuk, Pro (holding), 11:03; Bellemore, Alb (tripping), 16:37; Larman, Pro (slashing), 19:39.

Second Period — 3, Albany, Boychuk 7 (un), 14:09. Penalties — None.

Third Period — 4, Albany, Blanchard 4 (Goertzen, Angelidis), 19:57 (en). Penalties — Providence bench, served by Lehtonen (too many men), 12:22.

Shots on goal — Providence 10-8-16 — 34. Albany 14-8-7 — 29.

Power-play opportunities — Providence 1 of 1; Albany 1 of 4.

Goalies — Providence, Sabourin 13-8-0 (28 shots-26 saves); Albany, Murphy 6-6-0 (34 shots-33 saves).

A — 3,327. T — 2:14.

Referee — Chris Cozzan. Linesmen — Frank Murphy, Rich Patry.

Categories: Sports

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