ALBANY, N.Y. – Giving up late goals continues to haunt the Connecticut Whale and it could lead to the end of its 2012-13 campaign. A week ago, the Whale gave up a goal to Springfield in the final 28 seconds of the third period, costing them at least one point.
On Friday night, Albany’s Joe Whitney scored with 4:59 left in the game to lift the Devils to a 3-2 victory over Connecticut.
It leaves Connecticut, Norwalk, Manchester and Hersey tied with 79 points in the AHL’s Eastern Conference. Two of the four teams will finish among the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference and earn a playoff spot.
The Whale (35-31-6-3) concludes its regular season with a game in Portland on Saturday night. Unfortunately for Connecticut, Norwalk, Manchester and Hershey each have two games remaining on Saturday and Sunday. Connecticut is 0-4-1 in its last five games.
Connecticut needs to win its game with Portland and get some help. Wins by Manchester and Hershey on Saturday night would eliminate the Whale – even with a win over Portland. Manchester visits Wilkes-Barre and Hershey visits Binghamton.
Whitney broke a scoreless game with his 26th goal of the season, poking the puck in from the right side of the goal past Connecticut goalie Cam Talbot, who made 32 saves. The Devils outshot the Whale, 35-23.
Harri Pesonen had the other two Albany goals, and Keith Kinkaid made 21 saves in the Devil net. Kris Newbury and Christian Thomas scored for the Whale. Sean Collins assisted on both Connecticut goals.
Connecticut took a 1-0 lead in the first period as Newbury scored his 20th goal of the season on a breakaway. The Devils tied the game five minutes later on a power play.
The Whale took a one goal lead in the second period on Thomas’ 19th goal of the year with a hard shot that deflected off the Devils’ goalie. It took Albany just 2: 49 to tie the game at 2-2. The Whale’s Dylan McIlrath seemed to have Pesonen well checked on left wing, but Pesonen found enough room to get a hard shot away, and the drive eluded the catching glove of Talbot.
Information from the Connecticut Whale used to compile this report.
Albany 3, Connecticut 2
At Albany, N.Y.
Connecticut 1 1 0 – 2
Albany 1 1 1 – 3
1st Period: 1, Connecticut, Newbury 20 (Collins, Segal), 10:21. 2, Albany, Pesonen 13 (Severson, Gelinas), 15:35 (PP). Penalties-Boucher Alb (hooking), 5:38; Ferriero Ct (tripping), 7:35; Tessier Ct (interference), 14:55.
2nd Period: 3, Connecticut, Thomas 19 (Tessier, Collins), 11:45. 4, Albany, Pesonen 14 (Sislo, Zalewski), 14:34. Penalties-Mashinter Ct (goaltender interference), 3:01; Leach Alb (tripping), 7:44.
3rd Period: 5, Albany, Whitney 26 (Merrill, DeSimone), 15:01. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal: Connecticut 5-12-6-23. Albany 9-13-13-35.
Power Play Opportunities: Connecticut 0 / 2; Albany 1 / 3.
Goalies: Connecticut, Talbot 25-27-1 (35 shots-32 saves). Albany, Kinkaid 21-16-6 (23 shots-21 saves); A-4,818