Devils vs. Binghamton: Albany tough in third

The third period was not kind to the Albany Devils early in the season, but that is changing.

The third period was not kind to the Albany Devils early in the season, but that is changing.

For the first time in three meetings with Binghamton, the Devils played a convincing third period, beating the Senators, 3-2, Wednesday for their fourth win in five games. In their first two games, Binghamton had outscored the Devils, 5-0, in the third period.

Entering the final 20 minutes with the score knotted, 2-2, Albany got the game-winner at 3:09 when captain Stephen Gionta deflected an Alexander Urbom shot from the left point.

It was fitting Gionta got his first goal of the season on a deflection, as the captain is always eager to deflect credit to his teammates.

“It’s always nice to get one, but it was a good team game,” Gionta said. “We got back to our game after the first. I thought we had gotten away from it. Then that was one of our better third periods all year. That’s one thing we harped on, coming out and playing a solid third-period team game. I think that’s what we did, and we got the result tonight.”

Albany goalie Keith Kinkaid, a Union College product, made 31 saves for his second pro win. Having been with New Jersey as a back-up, he had not played since Oct. 16 in a 4-2 loss to Binghamton. His counterpart was former Albany Devil Mike McKenna, who stopped 27 shots.

The Senators opened the scoring at 5:52 of the first on their first power-play opportunity as Mark Parrish deflected a shot by Corey Cowick.

But the rest of the game, the Devils owned the Binghamton power plays. Albany’s penalty kill could often be seen skating on short-handed rushes, spending a good amount of time in the offensive zone.

Then at 15:39 in the second period, Darcy Zajac and Steve Bernier were on opposite sides of a three-on-two short-handed rush. Zajac sent a cross-ice pass from the right side to Bernier for the goal on the left side, tying the game at 2-2.

Bernier signed with the team on Oct. 27, and had played in just two games before Wednesday, and he admitted he is still playing into game shape.

“So many times, you try to do that in games, but it rarely goes in,” Bernier said. “To have that puck go in on a penalty kill — just before that, we got scored on, five-on-five, and that was frustrating — so that was a big goal for us. It was a nice pass from Zajac and a great defensive play from everybody before.

“It’s fun when you score on the PK. It’s so tough to play in our zone on the PK, on the run all over the place. You try to block shots. If you have a chance to go score goals, it’s a plus, for sure.”

It was the second time the Devils answered a Binghamton goal. In the first period, Albany rookie Joe Whitney answered Parrish’s goal with a power-play score on a rebound, pushing his point streak to five games with three goals and three assists in that time. Bernier’s tally answered an even-strength goal by Mark Borowiecki six minutes earlier.

Bernier had a two-on-one chance later in the game and a rebound opportunity with a gaping net, but had to settle for his one goal.

Albany coach Rick Kowalsky is excited to see the progress even just a few games back has made for the seventh-year pro.

“It’s something we see on a reg­ular basis in practice,” Kowalsky said. “He’s still not in game shape. It’ll come, he’s looked better every game. He’s going to be a horse down low.”

Binghamton 1 1 0 — 2

Albany 1 1 1 — 3

First Period — 1, Binghamton, Parrish 6 (Cowick, Hoffman), 5:52 (pp). 2, Albany, Whitney 4 (Zalewski, Wiseman), 8:09 (pp). Penalties — Whitney, Alb (hooking), 4:49; Borowiecki, Bng (interference), 6:22; Berube, Alb (slashing), 15:53.

Second Period — 3, Binghamton, Borowiecki 1 (Petersson), 9:07. 4, Albany, Bernier 1 (Zajac), 15:39 (sh). Penalties — Urbom, Alb (hooking), 4:15; Dziurzynski, Bng, major (fighting), 10:11; Corrente, Alb, major (fighting), 10:11; Wiseman, Alb (holding), 14:44; Radja, Bng (holding), 17:20.

Third Period — 5, Albany, Gionta 1 (Urbom, Zharkov), 3:09. Penalties — Wiercioch, Bng (interference), :41; Perkovich, Alb (boarding), 3:41.

Shots on goal — Binghamton 11-12-10 — 33. Albany 10-12-8 — 30.

Power-play opportunities — Binghamton 1 of 5; Albany 1 of 3.

Goalies — Binghamton, McKenna 1-4-0 (30 shots-27 saves). Albany, Kinkaid 2-2-0 (33-31).

A — 1,469. T — 2:10.

Referees — David Banfield. Linesmen — Jim Harper, Robert St. Lawrence.

Categories: Sports

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