The Albany Devils didn’t put many pucks on net early, and when they saw opportunities later, failed to beat St. John’s goalie Michael Hutchinson in a 1-0 Game 3 loss Wednesday at Mile One Centre, falling behind, 2-1, in the best-of-five series.
Game 4 will be played Friday night at 6 at Mile One Centre. The Devils must win to force Game 5 on Saturday.
St. John’s had 12 shots on goal before Albany found its second and outshot the Devils, 30-14, through the first 40 minutes.
“Especially the first couple shifts, we were in their end and had opportunities to put pucks on the net, and we just passed up on them and decided to make a pass, which ended up turning into a lost possession,” Devils coach Rick Kowalsky said. “That was my biggest concern. That was one of the biggest differences in the game, we didn’t put enough pucks on net, especially early, and make this guy have to make saves and control his rebounds.”
Albany goalie Keith Kinkaid made big save after big save and was no small factor in six successful penalty kills. He finished with 34 stops.
“It’s easy to get into the game with a few shots right away,” Kinkaid said. “I felt pretty good the whole game, just control yourself and try to give the boys a chance to win.”
At 17:50 in the first period, the IceCaps’ Kael Mouillierat scored the game’s only goal, breaking into the zone after a neutral-zone turnover and lifting a late backhand past Kinkaid at the right post.
He and the players in front of him have been solid in their own zone through three games, but the Devils have to provide more scoring, Kowalsky said.
“I think the biggest thing that I’ll take out of this game is that we didn’t skate or were as physical as we needed to be or have been, then just finishing,” Kowalsky said. “Bearing down and finishing those chances, because we had numerous opportunities to at least tie this game up.”
Albany 0 0 0 — 0
St. John’s 1 0 0 — 1
First Period — 1, St. John’s, Mouillierat 1 (Redmond, O’Neill), 17:50. Penalties — K.Zajac, Alb (delay of game), 8:18; St. John’s bench, served by O’Dell (too many men), 14:54; Merrill, Alb (interference), 18:11.
Second Period — None. Penalties — Merrill, Alb (hooking), :31; McKelvie, Alb, major (fighting), 4:27; Hill, StJ, major (fighting), 4:27; Merrill, Alb (high-sticking), 6:32; Matteau, Alb (boarding), 9:20; Redmond, StJ (hooking), 10:12; Lipon, StJ (hooking), 15:41.
Third Period — None. Penalties — Helgeson, Alb (hooking), 4:01; MacKinnon, StJ (holding), 6:55.
Shots on goal — Albany 6-8-10 — 24. St. John’s 17-13-5 — 35.
Power-play opportunities — Albany 0 of 4; St. John’s 0 of 6.
Goalies — Albany, Kinkaid 1-2 (35 shots-34 saves). St. John’s, Hutchinson 2-1 (24-24).
A — 6,287. T — 2:22.
Referees — Graham Skilliter, Geno Binda. Linesmen — Justin Day, Joe Maynard.