It was the second time in a matter of minutes that Matt Anderson had a chance to end the game.
This time, he took it.
The Albany right wing drew iron late in overtime with what could have been the game-winner. In the third round of the shootout, he beat Adirondack goalie Brian Boucher over his glove shoulder to give the Devils a 3-2 win over the Phantoms, finishing up a flawless 3-0 shootout.
The win made Albany’s Scott Wedgewood the first goalie in franchise history to win his first two AHL starts.
It helped Anderson, a bit, stepping to center ice after Mike Sislo and Phil DeSimone had already tallied in the first two rounds.
“It’s definitely a little pressure off,”
Anderson said. “Obviously, I would have liked the winner in overtime, off the post. I got it when it counted at the end there.
Kudos to Scott, he played great. If he doesn’t make the first three saves, my goal’s just another goal. Kudos to him.”
In the first and third periods, especially, the rookie was kept busy. In those 40 minutes, the Devils were outshot, 24-7, as the Phantoms possessed the puck well.
“Wedgewood was outstanding tonight, he deserves a lot of credit,” Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. “We got on our heels a bit, and got trapped in our own end. Part of it was they played a good game tonight and put a lot of pressure on us and wore our D down, but we stuck with it. We battled, which I like to see.”
Kowalsky said it wasn’t a decision made lightly, going with Wedgewood on back-to-back nights instead of using Keith Kinkaid, but Wedgewood was good Saturday in a win over Springfield, and he was used to busy work weeks in the ECHL.
Still, Wedgewood said he hadn’t had much success in back-to-back games in Trenton.
“Today, it was kind of just, come in and try to do the same thing if I could, try to give the team a chance to win,” Wedgewood said. “I think in Trenton, I’m like 1-12 in back-to-back nights. I don’t think I’ve won a back-to-back down there. To get one and two [this weekend] right back to back, it’s obviously important for me, and good for the team, especially. That’s a huge extra point tonight.”
The two standings points keep the Devils one out from a playoff berth with 19 games to play.
Adirondack got on the board first when Jason Akeson scored in the opening period, carrying momentum from his first pro hat trick a night earlier. Albany’s Joe Whitney scored his team-best 21st goal 20 seconds into the second period, and Sislo added a score at 12:28. The Phantoms drew even at 18:58 in the second when Jon Sim deflected a Cullen Eddy point shot.
Anderson had the secondary assist on Whitney’s goal, giving the sixth-year pro his 200th career point in the AHL. Whitney extended his goal streak to four games, in which he has five goals and two assists. In his last eight games, he has nine goals and three assists. He has seven goals and five assists in nine meetings with the Phantoms this season.
The Phantoms could have secured an early two-goal lead if it weren’t for a little sacrifice behind Wedgewood in the first period. A deflection ended up to his right after he had come out to the top of the crease. He was on the ice and everything was happening behind him, but he got a little help.
“A guy went to shoot it, and Dan Kelly made a nice two-pad stack with his shin pads and kept that one out,” Wedgewood said. “Then he dove across the net, and I just grabbed the one guy’s stick. It could have been a penalty on me, but the puck was just laying there and it’s the only option I had. So I grabbed on his stick, and made sure he couldn’t move it. Then [Alexander] Urbom came in, then [Cam] Janssen came in. Everyone was behind me. It’s huge for me, knowing I can trust them and that they’re going to put their bodies on the line and bail me out when I need the help.”
Adirondack 1 1 0 0 — 2
Albany 0 2 0 0 — 3
Albany won shootout, 3-0
First Period — 1, Adirondack, Akeson 12 (Roe, Sim), 7:44. Penalties — Sim, Adk (goaltender interference), 5:31; McPherson, Alb (interference), 5:31; Lilja, Adk (interference), 14:50;Hoeffel, Alb (hooking), 17:46.
Second Period — 2, Albany, Whitney 21 (Zalewski, Anderson), :20. 3, Albany, Sislo 8 (Pesonen, Zalewski), 12:28. 4, Adirondack, Sim 9 (Eddy, Akeson), 18:58. Penalties — Manning, Adk (roughing), 5:27; Janssen, Alb (roughing), 5:27; Laliberte, Adk (tripping), 6:25; Brown, Adk (roughing), 13:05.
Third Period — No scoring. Penalties — Roe, Adk (holding), 2:03; Zalewski, Alb (interference), 2:52.
Overtime — No scoring. Penalties – None.
Shootout — Adirondack 0 (Akeson NG, Roe NG, Ford NG). Albany 3 (Sislo G, DeSimone G, Anderson G).
Shots on goal — Adirondack 13-10-11-2-0 — 36. Albany 3-13-4-0-1 — 21.
Power-play opportunities — Adirondack 0 of 3; Albany 0 of 4.
Goalies — Adirondack, Boucher 2-4-1 (20 shots-18 saves). Albany, Wedgewood 2-0-0 (36-34).
A — 5,619. T — 2:24.
Referee — Ryan Fraser. Linesmen — Steve Lemay, Rich Patry.