DEVILS RALLY TO WIN IN OVERTIME
GLENS FALLS -- These aren't your father's New Jersey Devils farmhands.
It may have felt that way five minutes into Saturday night's game at the Glens Falls Civic Center. The Albany Devils, predecessor to the woebegone River Rats of four years earlier, fell behind the Adirondack Phantoms 3-0 before many of the 3,617 fans had put a dent in their popcorn boxes.
These Devils, unlike the six consecutive last-place teams when Albany last was home to New Jersey's prospects, showed some spunk. Goaltender Jeff Frazee stopped all 18 shots he faced in a relief effort,, and Brad Mills scored 1:38 into overtime as the Devils came all the way back for a 4-3 victory.
"It was the type of win that helps teams come together," Mills said.
"It builds character, and even more it reveals it," Albany coach Rick Kowalsky added. "No question."
Mills converted a pass from Vladimir Zharkov to complete the rally, but the key was Frazee, who came in cold after starting goalie Mike McKenna gave up three goals on six shots in the opening 4:29.
"It always seems, for whatever reason, to shift the momentum a bit," Kowalsky said of the goaltending change.
"If they got another one quick, it could have been a long night," Frazee said, "but we played better defensively and we played a lot better than we did at the start of the game.
"You feel more pressure. You can make excuses, but you never want to use them. You have to be ready for everything. "
After a first-intermission pep talk from Kowlasky, the Devils responded by dominating the second and third periods and outshot the Phantoms 46-24.
"Three goals anymore in this game is nothing, and we had a full 40 minutes of hockey left," Kowalsky said. "We just talked about chipping away at it, sticking to the system and getting pucks deep."
"I looked up at the clock there, five minutes passed and it was 3-0," said Nathan Perkovich, who scored the tying goal 17 seconds into the third period. "No need to panic. Tons of hockey left. We stuck together."
Mattias Tedenby got Albany on the board 40 seconds into the second, and Harry Young made it a one-goal game later in the period.
"We know they're not going to quit, and obviously they didn't," Phantoms coach Greg Gilbert said. "They found a way to get two points out of our building. That's a lesson learned for a young team. We will learn our lesson, and we've got to have that killer instinct."
Pete Dougherty can be reached at 454-5416 or by e-mail at email@example.com Visit the hockey blog at http://blog.timesunion.com/hockey.
DEVILS 4, PHANTOMS 3 (OT)
Albany 0 2 1 1--4
Adirondack 3 0 0 0--3
First period -- Adirondack, Wellwood 2 (Bourdon, Pither), 2:08 (pp). 2, Adirondack, Rowe 1 (Clackson, Moore), 3:17. 3, Adirondack, Lehtivuori 1 (Laliberte, Wellwood), 4:29. Penalties--Palmieri, Alb (interference), 1:42; Maroon, Adk (interference), 7:05; Moore, Adk (delay of game), 7:10; McIntyre, Alb (goaltender interference), 15:11; Laliberte, Adk, double minor (high-sticking), 17:06.
Second period -- 4, Albany, Tedenby 1 (Eckford, Swift), :40 (pp). 5, Young 1 (Zharkov), 13:04. Penalties--Eckford, Adk (delay of game), 15:15.
Third period -- 6, Albany, Perkovich 1 (Swift, Tedenby), :17. Penalties--Letourneau-Lebond, Alb (interference), 8:20.
Overtime -- 7, Albany, Mills 1 (Zharkov), 1:38. Penalties--None.
Shots on goal -- Albany 15-14-14-3--45. Adirondack 9-6-9-0--24.
Power-play opportunities -- Albany 1 of 4; Adirondack 1 of 4.
Goalies--- Albany, McKenna (6 shots-3 saves); Frazee 1-1-0 (4:29 first, 18-18). Adirondack, Backlund 2-3-0 (45-42). T--2:17. A--3,617.