Devils Upend Jackals, 5-4
Trenton, NJ - Ryan Hayes and Dave Leaderer scored third period goals that proved to be the difference in a back and forth tilt Wednesday at Sun National Bank Center, a 5-4 Trenton victory over Elmira. The Jackals erased a 3-0 deficit with two third period shorthanded goals, but were ultimately denied a victory that would have clinched the visitors a postseason berth.
Jeff Prough opened the scoring by burying a pass from Ryan Hayes, who was stationed behind the Elmira net, past Marco Cousineau. J.S. Berube picked up the secondary assist on Prough's 22nd goal of the season. Trenton stifled the Jackals explosive offense throughout the first period as Elmira recorded a season-low three shots in a first period that was without any penalty calls.
Tony Zancanaro and Matt Germain scored 42 seconds apart in the second period to expand the Devils lead to 3-0 in the middle portion of the second frame. On a delayed penalty against Elmira, Zancanaro was able to slam home a point blank shot as Cousineau was pulled out of position on a deflected shot. Hayes picked up his second assist of the night and Chris Berenguer recorded the other assist, giving him five assists in six games with Trenton.
Just 42 seconds later, with Elmira on the verge of breaking out of their own zone, pressure from Mike Potacco on Eric Regan allowed Matt Germain to strip the puck and snap a quick wrister from the right side past Cousineau to give the Devils a seemingly comfortable 3-0 lead. The unassisted strike was Germain's second goal of the season and one of two points on the night.
Elmira started its rally with just under five minutes to play in the second period. Just after a penalty to Corey Cowick expired, Dale Mahovsky connected with Cowink coming out of the box and into the zone. Cowick got low on the left side before centering to Yannick Tifu for his first of two goals and the Jackals trailed, 3-1, heading to the second intermission.
Trenton was awarded two power play opportunities early in the third period with a chance to put the game out of reach, only to see Elmira score shorthanded goals on consecutive penalties. Drew Paris ripped a shot over Lerg's blocker-side shoulder to get Elmira within a goal before Tifu scored his second of the night on a cross-ice pass from Eric Regan. With 13 minutes to play in the third, Trenton's three-goal lead had been erased.
Still on the power play a minute later, the Devils answered with Dave Leaderer their only special-teams goal of the night. Dave Leaderer fired past Cousineau from the left-wing circle to restore Trenton's lead. Jordan Southorn and Germain picked up the assists on Leaderer's seventh goal of the season.
Ryan Hayes scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal when his shot from the hash marks fluttered off Cousineau's glove and into the net, giving the Devils a 5-3 lead and an insurance goal they would end up needing. It was Hayes third point of the night as Berube picked up his second helper of the game and Martin Nolet picked up the second assist on Hayes' 22nd of the season.
Eric Regan scored his 13th goal of the year with ten seconds left in regulation to make it 5-4 but Elmira ran out of time and must wait until Saturday for their next chance to clinch a playoff spot.
Trenton moves to 26-36-2-6 on the season with 60 points and will close out their 2010-2011 home schedule with Fan Appreciation Night against the Reading Royals Friday at 7 p.m.
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