The Syracuse Crunch held Albany to just 17 shots on goal and beat the Devils, 2-1, Friday night at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Albany won an offensive-zone faceoff with four seconds left, but defenseman Raman Hrabarenka’s desperation shot was stopped.
Rookie goalie Kristers Gudlevskis made 16 saves for the Crunch (28-30-4-7), moving his record to 17-11-4. However, the defending Eastern Conference champions remain on the brink of elimination from the playoff race.
Albany (35-22-4-8) fell to seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings as Providence beat Worcester, 3-2, in a shootout to pass the Devils by a point. Albany, which has seven games to play, remains four points ahead of ninth-place Hershey.
The Devils are now four points behind fifth-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which beat Bridgeport, 3-0. The Penguins will host the Devils tonight at 7:05.
Scott Wedgewood made 23 saves for the Devils. Albany took a 1-0 lead at 11:30 of the second period when Harri Pesonen scored a power-play goal on his own rebound. His first shot sailed wide and into the boards, but it came back to him and he put it past Gudlevskis.
Syracuse drew even at 17:58 of the second when Cedric Paquette scored on a rebound of Adam Erne’s backhander. Evan Rankin scored the game-winner at 8:21 of the third.
After tonight’s road game against the Penguins, the Devils will travel to play a 3 p.m. game in Glens Falls on Sunday against the Adirondack Phantoms.
Albany 0 1 0 — 1
Syracuse 0 1 1 — 2
First Period — None. Penalties — Janssen, Alb (boarding), 2:50; Rankin, Syr (high-sticking), 13:35.
Second Period — 1, Albany, Pesonen 13 (Urbom, Wedgewood), 11:30 (pp). 2, Syracuse, Paquette 20 (Erne, Gourde), 17:58. Penalties — Pelley, Alb, major (fighting), 8:58; Cote, Syr, major (fighting), 8:58; Smith, Syr (tripping), 10:30.
Third Period — 3, Syracuse, Rankin 14 (Sergeev), 8:21. Penalties — Gourde, Syr (roughing), 1:30; Pelley, Alb (roughing), 10:34; Paradis, Syr (roughing), 10:34; Hoeffel, Alb (roughing), 13:49; D.Zajac, Alb (interference), 13:49; Smith, Syr (roughing), 13:49.
Shots on Goal — Albany 5-5-7 — 17. Syracuse 6-8-11 — 25.
Power-play opportunities — Albany 1 of 3; Syracuse 0 of 2.
Goalies — Albany, Wedgewood 14-14-3 (25 shots-23 saves). Syracuse, Gudlevskis 17-11-4 (17-16).
A — 4,981. T — 2:16.
Referees — Pierre Lambert, Steve Papp. Linesmen — Jim Harper, Francis Trempe.