Despite Gutsy Win, Devils Eliminated from Postseason
ALBANY, NY -- The Albany Devils occupied the final playoff spot for about an hour and a half following their 4-2 victory against the Hartford Wolf Pack Saturday in front of a lively Times Union Center crowd. Unfortunately, Springfield rallied for a 4-3 overtime win at St. John's to eliminate Albany from playoff consideration.
The Devils, who ended the season on a four-game winning streak, did nearly everything they needed to do during the last 14 games, including winning 10 times. Albany finishes with a 37-28-5-6 record.
"We kept things alive," said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. "This past week, we had all big games against good teams playing for a position in the division or trying to get into playoffs. You wish you have a few more stretches like this that you put together at some point in the season. But, it was a gutsy team effort by everybody."
Scott Clemmensen was a big part of the Devils run down the back stretch. He went 7-3-1 with a 1.57 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage during his last 12 appearances. He made 26 saves against Hartford (43-24-5-4) for his 12th win of the season.
"I'm very proud of these guys," Clemmensen said. "The way we stuck together all year long, and the way we played all year long. Particularly these last few weeks, we really put the playoff push on."
Against the Wolf Pack, the Devils erased two deficits. They trailed 1-0 after Oscar Lindberg scored 5:51 into the first period. Brandon Burlon responded with his eighth goal of the season at 11:32 of the same period.
Chris Bourque moved Hartford ahead 52 ticks into the second period. Then Mike Sislo, Joe Whitney and Reece Scarlett teamed for back-to-back goals seven seconds into a pair of power plays.
Whitney setup Sislo for a one-timer at 13:52 of the middle frame and then Scarlett setup Sislo in the same exact spot at 14:02 of the third.
"You obviously want to get it set up as fast as you can," Sislo said of the two quick man-up tallies. The centers did a good job of winning draws. We got it back and were able to spend more time in the offensive zone."
Reid Boucher capped the scoring with 1:04 remaining in regulation, finding the empty net.
From there, all Albany could do is sit and await the results of the Springfield game and the Portland contest.
"It wasn't the situation we wanted to be in, but we had no one to blame but ourselves for where we were in terms of behind the eight-ball," Clemmensen said immediately following the game. "Regardless of what happens over the next 24 to 48 hours, I'm very proud of our guys and how we really pushed and didn't give up."
With a pair of assists, Joe Whitney became just the second Devil in franchise history to register 60 points in a season. Petr Vrana had 61 in 2007-08 ... Stefan Matteau extended his point streak to four games (3g-1a) thanks to an assist ... Mike Sislo scored his 19th and 20th goals of the season for his second straight 20-goal season ... Reid Boucher potted his 15th tally.
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