Albany left wing Chris McKelvie did a little bit of everything Wednesday night, completing an elusive Gordie Howe hat trick with the game-winner.
With a handful of players on recall to New Jersey, the Albany Devils are looking for contributions from everyone, and they got them, with 13 Devils registering a point in the 6-4 win over the Springfield Falcons at the Times Union Center.
Playing with seven defensemen and 11 forwards, Albany coach Rick Kowalsky used McKelvie at all three forward positions as the lines changed from shift to shift. McKelvie, just glad for the ice time and to be chipping in, was more focused on the win over the Northeast Division-leading Falcons than his Gordie Howe hat trick, made up of a goal, an assist and a fight.
“I’ve never had one of those, so that’s kind of cool, I guess,” McKelvie said. “I’m just glad the team won. That’s a really good hockey team we played. You could tell, in the second period, they started taking it to us a little bit, but we responded well in the third. It’s a good team win.”
One such hat trick is rare enough, but this game had two. McKelvie fought Michael Chaput
in the first period, and Chaput also registered a Gordie Howe hat trick, his goal coming at 19:15 of the second period to cap a three-goal outburst that gave Springfield a 4-3 lead.
Albany had taken a 3-1 lead when Stefan Matteau deflected a Dan Kelly point shot past goalie Jeremy Smith at 8:14 of the second, but Springfield scored twice in the next four minutes and again on Chaput’s tally before the close of the period.
“It’s disappointing, for sure,” McKelvie said. “We’ve had some letdowns like that in some other losses we’ve had. But we took care of some things in intermission. The coaches came in and told us to clean up some things, and the guys did a good job of that in the third.”
Albany had a goal disallowed early in the second period on Harry Young’s point shot when the referees decided Mike Hoeffel had interfered with Smith in the crease on the shot.
“If anything, maybe it was our jerseys barely hitting each other,” Hoeffel said. “I don’t think there was any contact, at all, but that’s just my opinion. The play happened so fast, but apparently, the ref thought I made contact with him. It’s kind of a bummer, because it would have been really great to see Younger get a goal there. I’m going to have to take him out to dinner.”
Hoeffel, though, made up for it by handing out the primary assists on a pair of scores, including McKelvie’s breakaway that gave Albany a 5-4 lead. At 6:25 in the third, McKelvie skated in and fired between Smith’s pads, getting a good bounce as the puck trickled across the line.
Mike Sislo finished the scoring with an empty-netter in the final minute, assisted by Harri Pesonen, as they became the 12th and 13th Devils to register points in the game.
“I thought Hoeffel had a solid game, I thought McKelvie was just rock solid,” Kowalsky said. “I played him every position but D and goal tonight, and the more I played him, the better he got. That’s what you need in situations like this when your depth is tested, and I thought we rose to the occasion against a tough opponent.”
Springfield 1 3 0 — 4
Albany 2 1 3 — 6
First Period — 1, Springfield, Craig 4 (Marchessault, Parlett), 5:54 (pp). 2, Albany, Hrabarenka 1 (Hoeffel, K.Zajac), 12:10 (pp). 3, Albany, Pelley 3 (McKelvie, McPherson), 12:24. Penalties — Chaput, Spr, minor-major (boarding, fighting), 4:37; McKelvie, Alb, minor-major (roughing, fighting), 4:37; Kinkaid, Alb (hooking; served by Pesonen), 4:50; Joudrey, Spr (tripping), 9:14; Collins, Spr (tripping), 10:38; Weber, Spr (interference), 15:32.
Second Period — 4, Albany, Matteau 6 (Kelly, Whitney), 8:14. 5, Springfield, Jacques 2 (Marchessault, Erixon), 9:51. 6, Springfield, Craig 5 (Chaput, Erixon), 11:51. 7, Springfield, Chaput 3 (Machacek, Goloubef), 19:15 (pp). Penalties — Kelly, Alb (slashing), 13:07; Helgeson, Alb (high-sticking), 17:38.
Third Period — 8, Albany, Demkov 1 (Whitney, Helgeson), 1:00. 9, Albany, McKelvie 4 (Hoeffel, Hrabarenka), 6:25. 10, Albany, Sislo 7 (Pesonen), 19:37 (en). Penalties — Weber, Spr (cross-checking), 1:34; Boyce, Spr (closing hand on the puck), 8:43; Scarlett, Alb (interference), 8:55; Collins, Spr (tripping), 9:36; Boyce, Spr, minor-major (slashing, fighting), 16:52; Pelley, Alb, minor-major (slashing, fighting), 16:52.
Shots on goal — Springfield 8-19-7 — 34. Albany 11-3-23 — 37.
Power-play opportunities — Springfield 2 of 3; Albany 1 of 6.
Goalies — Springfield, Smith 8-3-1
(36 shots-31 saves). Albany, Kinkaid 8-3-1 (34-30).
A — 1,706. T — 2:26.
Referees — Geoff Miller, Terry Koharski. Linesmen — Frank Murphy, Robert St. Lawrence.