What a difference half a day makes.
After watching their two-goal lead evaporate in the third period Sunday afternoon at Times Union Center, the Devils held on to beat Binghamton, 4-3, on Mike Sislo’s power-play goal 33 seconds into overtime. One night earlier, Albany had watched Hershey erase its two-goal deficit, and the Devils had no response in that one, a 4-2 loss.
Binghamton tied it up, 3-3, just four seconds after Albany had killed off a five-minute penalty.
“It definitely shows how razor-thin the margin for error is out there,” Albany centerman Tim Sestito said. “We did a great job killing basically that five-minute penalty. They get a stick on us, trying to clear, and they put one in. It was tough, we were a bit deflated, but I like how we responded. We didn’t respond yesterday after they [Hershey] got the two goals. It was nice for that. I think it’s something we can build off.”
Sestito is one of a handful of veteran players who turned in a big game. Cam Janssen and Rod Pelley both provided some energy, Janssen dropping the gloves for a fight during the
faceoff after Binghamton took a 1-0 lead.
The Devils came back to take a 2-1 lead before the first intermission. Sestito screened Binghamton goalie Peter Mannino on the second goal, a point shot deflected in by Darcy Zajac. Then with three seconds left in the second period, Sestito gave Albany a 3-1 lead.
Sislo carried the puck in up the right side as the clock ran down and fired, hitting the post. The rebound ended up behind Mannino, waiting at the back door for Sestito to finish.
“I skated by the bench there, and I heard some guys yelling, so I knew it [the buzzer] was getting close,” Sislo said. “I just wanted to get it on net and hope for a rebound. Timmy did a great job going to the net and getting that rebound.”
“Man, I was scared,” Sestito said. “I knew the clock was running low. I saw the puck on the goal line, my eyes were pretty big. I think I took maybe 10 whacks at it to get it in the net, and I was just praying the horn didn’t go off. Then I looked up and was surprised to see three seconds left.”
Binghamton’s Buddy Robinson scored on a deflection that had Albany goalie Scott Wedgewood calling for a high-stick call, but the refs conferred and called it a goal. Then Carter Camper tied it up just after the Devils had killed off a match penalty on Janssen for a hit to the head of Matt Tassone.
A stroke of luck came when Binghamton’s Cole Schneider accidentally sailed a puck from his own zone into the crowd with 1:13 left to play in regulation, giving the Devils a power play that extended into overtime. During four-on-three play in the extra session, Sislo rifled the winner from the left circle.
In a three-in-three weekend with two division-leading opponents, Albany came away with four standings points.
“I thought last night in a real tough building against a very good team, we did a great job for half a game, then the train went off the tracks real quick and we didn’t recover,” Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. “Tonight, I thought the guys’ focus was right, everything was positive on the bench.”
Binghamton 1 0 2 0 — 3
Albany 2 1 0 1 — 4
First Period – 1, Binghamton, Schneider 18 (Mills, Dzingel), 2:40 (pp). 2, Albany, Thompson 24 (Timmins, Whitney), 14:11. 3, Albany, D. Zajac 6 (Hrabarenka, Matteau), 17:54. Penalties – Kelly, Alb (interference), :54; Kramer, Bng, major (fighting), 2:40; Janssen, Alb, major (fighting), 2:40; Lepine, Bng (hooking), 8:59; McCormick, Bng (cross-checking), 10:12; Mills, Bng (boarding), 14:21.
Second Period – 4, Albany, Sestito 8 (Sislo, Burlon), 19:57 (pp). Penalties – Burlon, Alb (slashing), 7:18; Kramer, Bng, double-minor (hooking, roughing), 13:46; Janssen, Alb (roughing), 13:46; Whitney, Alb (delay of game), 16:48; Johnson, Bng (hooking), 18:37.
Third Period – 5, Binghamton, Robinson 9 (Wideman, Guptill), 6:10. 6, Binghamton, Camper 10 (D. Grant), 17:14. Penalties – Scarlett, Alb (holding), 2:37; Janssen, Alb, match (contact to the head), 12:10; Prince, Bng (diving), 12:50; McPherson, Alb (tripping), 12:50; Schneider, Bng (delay of game), 18:47.
Overtime – 7, Albany, Sislo 17 (Whitney, Hrabarenka), :33 (pp). Penalties – None.
Shots on goal – Binghamton 8-11-8-0 – 27. Albany 13-9-12-1 – 35.
Power-play opportunities – Binghamton 1 of 5; Albany 2 of 6.
Goalies – Binghamton, Mannino 3-7-4 (35 shots-31 saves). Albany, Wedgewood 8-12-5 (27-24).
A – 3,333. T – 2:23.
Referees – Evgeny Romasko, Jon McIsaac. Linesmen – Mike Emanatian, Francis Trempe.