ALBANY, N.Y. – Albany Devils captain Jay Leach scored twice, his second goal hitting the empty net with just under 43 seconds left to play, to push his team to a 5-3 win over the HERSHEY BEARS on Friday night at Times Union Center.
The Bears forced the Devils into early penalty trouble and after missing on a two-man advantage, grabbed the game’s first goal on the five-on-four chance. Peter LeBlanc worked himself free in the right circle, collected a feed from Boyd Kane and sent a one-timer along the ice and underneath the stick of Keith Kinkaid at 4:20.
The Devils answered 1:08 later when a shot from Jean-Sebastien Berube was deflected past Philipp Grubauer by Cam Janssen.
Albany then jumped out to a 3-1 lead early in the second period, scoring twice on four shots to chase Grubauer from the game. First, Darcy Zajac deflected a shot from Alexander Urbom past a screened Grubauer at 3:18. Later, on a delayed penalty call, the Devils skated cleanly through the neutral zone on a rush led by Phil DeSimone. Rookie Jon Merrill fed a pass back to DeSimone, who looked for a cutting Leach for the tip-in past Grubauer.
Dany Sabourin came into the game and stopped all four second-period shots he faced. The Bears would also get a goal back when Casey Wellman one-timed a pass from the left circle off of a feed from Joey Crabb past an outstretched Kinkaid at 12:36.
Just 1:33 into the third period, the Devils would re-gain their two-goal lead when the Bears failed to clear their zone. Joe Whitney stepped up for the takeaway and walked down the right wing, letting a wrist shot go that beat Sabourin high under the crossbar.
Crabb brought the Bears back within one when he completed a two-on-one rush with Jeff Taffe at 5:04. Taffe fed a perfect pass beyond the outstretched stick of a Devils defenseman for Crabb, who snapped a hard shot past Kinkaid.
With the Bears net empty for an extra attacker and the faceoff in Albany territory, Steve Zalewski won the draw. Leach grabbed the puck, turned and hit the target from nearly the opposite end of the ice to round out the scoring.
Sabourin was tagged with the tough-luck loss, allowing just one goal on eight Albany shots in 32:24 of work, and fell to 9-11-3. Grubauer earned no decision in 27:04 of play, stopping four of seven Devils shots. Kinkaid improved to 19-15-5 with 28 saves on 31 Hershey shots.
The club will return home tomorrow, March 30 for a 7:00 PM matchup against the Providence Bruins. All fans in attendance will receive a ticket to Pocono International Raceway for the June 8th NASCAR Event Weekend, and all fans will also have the opportunity to come down onto the ice post-game for the Dietz and Watson Ham Shoot and a chance to win Easter food items.
Tickets for the three remaining BEARS home games may be purchased at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.