River Rats grab 2-0 series lead

Throughout the season, Albany defenseman Jamie McBain has shown he’s got a hot shot from the perimet

Throughout the season, Albany defenseman Jamie McBain has shown he’s got a hot shot from the perimeter.

In Game 2 of the East Division semifinal series of the Calder Cup Playoffs Friday night at the Times Union Center, McBain snuck in a little farther on occasion for a closer look at the net. At the 15:58 mark of the third period, he took advantage of one of those looks to bury the game-winner in Albany’s 3-2 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

“They’re pretty good at covering you out high,” McBain said. “A lot of times, you’ve got to try to switch it up on them, find those holes, get down the ice a little bit and force them to try to cover you a little bit more.”

The win gives Albany a 2-0 lead in the series, which will shift to Wilkes-Barre for games 3 and 4, Sunday at 5 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m.

McBain was one of seven players returned to Albany by the Carolina Hurricanes at the end of their regular season. He was playing more than 20 minutes a night in his first NHL recall, playing in all situations.

The River Rats also got goals from Chris Terry and Nick Dodge — his third of the series. The winner was McBain’s second of the series. He also has been a defensive asset, rushing back on a Penguins breakaway to prevent a shot by Dustin Jeffrey.

“It just shows he’s such a complete player,” Albany coach Jeff Daniels said. “He can bring it, offensively, then he can make a big defensive play like that. He’s an NHL defenseman.”

However, he stopped Jeffrey by slashing at his stick, resulting in a penalty shot. Albany goalie Justin Peters stopped the shot to keep the game tied, 1-1, at the 8:45 mark of the second period.

Peters made 28 saves for his second career playoff win in as many starts, sending the River Rats on the road with a two-game lead in the series. Peters said, however, his focus is on the first shot he will face in Game 3.

“All we’ve done, really, is do what we’re supposed to do–win at home,” he said. “Personally, my mindset about the whole sit­uation is the same [as in the regular season]. I’m just trying to focus on one shot at a time, and not worry about the results so much. I’m just worried about what I can control, making the saves out there, trying to be my best and making sure I’m ready when I come to the rink. Usually, the results take care of themselves.”

The Penguins will hope their home ice will cool off the River Rats and shift the momentum in their favor, as it has done all season.

“It’s where we’ve played our best hockey this year,” Penguins coach Todd Reirden said. “There’s room for growth in our game. I would be real discouraged if that was a great game from our team and we still came up short. There’s room for improvement, there’s more to give from certain guys in our room and I look forward to seeing that when we get home.”

W-B/Scranton 1 0 1 — 2

Albany 0 1 1 — 3

First Period — 1, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Tangradi 1 (Vitale, Engelland), 15:12. Penalties — Sill, WBS (roughing), 11:02; Boulerice, WBS (roughing), 16:44.

Second Period — 2, Albany, Terry 1 (Dodge, Rodney), 7:17. Penalties — Tangradi, WBS (roughing), 7:02; Conboy, Alb (roughing), 7:02; Harrison, Alb (tripping), 12:28; Bowman, Alb (slashing), 16:00; Smith, WBS (hooking), 17:27.

Third Period — 3, Albany, Dodge 3 (Harrison, Borer), 10:00. 4, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pushkarev 1 (Vitale), 14:50. 5, Albany, McBain 2 (Bowman, Angelidis), 15:58. Penalties — Lovejoy, WBS (hooking), 7:58; Johnson, WBS (roughing), 20:00; Angelidis, Alb (roughing), 20:00.

Missed pnalty shot — Jeffrey, WBS (8:45 second).

Shots on goal — Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 8-10-11 — 29. Albany 11-11-10 — 32.

Power-play opportunities — Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 0 of 2; Albany 0 of 4.

Goalies — Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Curry 0-1 (32 shots-30 saves); Albany, Peters 2-0 (29-28).

A — 3,016. T — 2:28.

Referee — Ghislain Hebert. Linesmen — Jim Briggs, Mike Emanatian.

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