The Albany Devils let a momentum-shifting goal early in the third period deflate them and defeat them Sunday in a 4-2 loss to Binghamton.
The same thing happened in the season’s first two games in Albany. This time, the Devils entered the period with a 2-1 lead after a strong second, then allowed the equalizer 31 seconds in.
“They were tired,” Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. “We turned the puck over, we get stripped, we’ve got a D-man jumping up in the play, bad decision. Best player in the league on a 2-on-1, it’s in our net. We just never recovered. We stopped skating, we stopped getting pucks deep. They upped their level, they got the momentum, and that was the difference.”
The best player in the league Kowalsky referred to was Corey Locke, last season’s AHL most val-uable player. He got out on a rush with Derek Grant, got the puck to Grant with a pass across the ice to the left. Grant skated in from the left, got Albany goalie Keith Kinkaid to commit, then kept the puck to finish at the right post while being taken down.
Kinkaid, a Union College product, had just returned from his first professional recall. He backed up for Johan Hedberg Saturday in Nashville, and had been travelling, just about non-stop, since finishing a shootout win in Albany on Friday. He said, however, he wasn’t tired.
The period had started with four-on-four hockey because of a pair of penalties at the end of the second. Among them was a game misconduct on Albany’s Tim Sestito to go with his major boarding, leaving Albany down a centerman.
The Senators continued to work well in transition, but got the winner on a rebound at 11:30. David Dziurzynski shot from the right point, hitting Kinkaid’s right shoulder. The puck bounced to Pat Cannone at the left post for the finish.
Cannone worked in the off-season with Kinkaid, so that goal stung even more for the Devils’ rookie netminder.
Albany defenseman Matt Taormina said the Devils understand they’re late play was their undoing.
“We weren’t getting pucks deep, we were turning it over. It was all of us,” Taormina said. “You can’t really do that, especially in the third period. We were up, 2-1, and it was just little mistakes that we have to turn around. We’ll learn from it, get going and turn this thing around.”
Taormina scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, putting the Devils up, 2-1, at 12:34. He had the puck above the left circle, made a move that sent Senators’ right wing Andre Petersson guessing the wrong way, then stepped into the vacated spot to fire at an unprepared Robin Lehner in the Binghamton goal.
In the first, Steve Zalewski gave the Devils a 1-0 lead at 9:48 by flipping a loose puck up over Lehner’s shoulder. It landed behind the goalie’s left pad and bounced into the net.
Nikita Filatov evened it up in the first with a wraparound attempt that took an unlucky carom off Kinkaid and into the goal. Kaspars Daugavins finished the scoring and the Devils’ chances when he found the empty net with 44 seconds left.
“We’ve been battling with this all year long where, for whatever reason, we just have little stretches where we just don’t compete,” Binghamton coach Kurt Kleinendorst said. “It’s very frustrating, but we responded and came out and had a real good third.”
Binghamton 1 0 3 — 4
Albany 1 1 0 — 2
First Period — 1, Albany, Zalewski 1 (Gionta, Zharkov), 9:48. 2, Binghamton, Filatov 3 (Cannone), 11:21. Penalties — Locke, Bng (hooking), 4:37; Berube, Alb (hooking), 7:07; Hoffman, Bng (holding), 7:38.
Second Period — 3, Albany, Taormina 1 (Henrique, Anderson), 12:34. Penalties — Conboy, Bng (roughing), 19:43; Sestito, Alb, major-game misconduct (boarding), 19:43.
Third Period — 4, Binghamton, Grant 2 (Locke), :31. 5, Binghamton, Cannone 1 (Dziurzynski, Raymond), 11:30. 6, Binghamton, Daugavins 4 (Parrish, Gryba), 19:16 (en). Penalties — None.
Shots on goal — Binghamton 8-3-12 — 23. Albany 12-10-9 — 31.
Power-play opportunities — Binghamton 0 of 2; Albany 0 of 2.
Goalies — Binghamton, Lehner 2-1-0 (31 shots-29 saves). Albany, Kinkaid 1-2-0 (22-19).
A — 1,345. T — 2:10.
Referees — Jeff Smith. Linesmen — Rich Patry, Jim Harper.
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