Devils edge Hartford, 4-3 Three-goal second the difference in game

ALBANY, NY – Hartford Wolf Pack goaltenders Jeff Malcolm and Scott Stajcer both stopped penalty shots Friday night at the Times Union Center against the Albany Devils, but the Wolf Pack gave up three second-period goals and lost 4-3.

It was the second straight loss for the Wolf Pack, after they went 5-0-0-1 in their first six games.

Harri Pesonen had penalty shots in the first period, stopped by Malcolm, and in the third, stopped by Stajcer, but Stefan Matteau, Jon Merrill and Scott Timmins scored in the second period for the Devils, with Timmins’ fourth goal of the season standing up as the game-winner.

Ryan Bourque, Andrew Rowe and Aaron Johnson scored for the Wolf Pack, and Danny Syvret had two assists.Albany Devils logo

“I think we kind of let ourselves down in the second,” Johnson, the Wolf Pack captain, said. “We came out with a great first, a great third, but just little mistakes in the second that really bit us in the butt, but I thought we ended well.”

Malcolm, making his pro debut after helping to lead Yale University to an NCAA championship last year, faced the first penalty shot only 5:03 into the game, after Pesonen was hooked trying to get past the Wolf Pack defense.

Malcolm made a pad save on Pesonen’s penalty-shot attempt, and Bourque gave the Pack the game’s first lead at 9:27. Brendon Nash got his first Wolf Pack point with the primary assist, as he threw the puck at the net from the right point and it went off the inside of the goalpost to Albany goaltender Scott Wedgewood’s left. Bourque was pressuring the front of the net, and he swept it in from the left side of the goalmouth.

Albany tied the score with 2:26 left in the period, on a fluke goal by Mike Hoeffel. Hoeffel tracked down a loose puck along the goal line on the right-wing side and threw it toward the front of the net. Malcolm blocked the pass, but as he went down on top of the puck, it slid out from underneath his pads and over the goal line.

The Devils went on to dominate the second frame, outshooting the Wolf Pack 11-4 and scoring three times.

Matteau gave Albany its first lead at 4:04, with his first AHL point. Matteau got a drop pass from Pesonen on left wing, and fired a low shot that Malcolm got a big piece of, but it slipped through him and in.

Merrill made it 3-1 for Albany 3:40 later, at 7:44, on a power play. Brendan Burlon fed the puck off the left-wing boards to Merrill at the middle of the blue line, and his one-timer beat Malcolm.

The Devils widened the advantage to 4-1 at 13:38, with Timmins and Joe Whitney working a nice give-and-go play. Timmins handed the puck to Whitney in the right-wing corner and headed to the front of the net, and Whitney’s return pass was perfect for Timmins to bang into the net.

Stajcer replaced Malcolm to start the third period, after Malcolm made 19 saves through the first two periods, and Stajcer sparked a Wolf Pack comeback by stopping Pesonen’s second penalty shot of the game at 6:19.

Pesonen drew the penalty shot call when he was held up by Sam Klassen, but Pesonen’s bid was stopped by the right pad of Stajcer.

Just 37 seconds after that, at 6:56, Rowe notched his first Wolf Pack point with a goal, spinning in the slot after taking a pass from Andrew Yogan and whipping a wrist shot past Wedgewood’s catching glove.

Johnson then cut the margin to 4-3 on a power play with 12.8 seconds left. Marek Hrivik fed the puck across the slot to Johnson below the right-wing faceoff dot, and Johnson’s one-timer beat Wedgewood.

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