It’s a story as simple as the tortoise and the hare and it applied once again for the Norfolk Admirals and Albany Devils, in their bout at the Times Union Center. Except this tortoise had to overcome a natural hat trick in the first period to climb back. Ultimately it was a former Albany River Rat, who left the current tenants shell shocked.
Yet as I said, it was all Albany Devils in the first. Playing without the recalled Jacob Josefson, Brad Mills and the injured Stephen Gionta and Matt Anderson, someone would have to step it up. That someone, was Stephane Veileux.
Early in the frame, on a delayed penalty, Veileux took a pass in the slot from Alexander Urbom and beat Dustin Tokarski for the 1-0 lead.
As the period moved along, the Admirals would respond on the power play. Cory Conacher would lay a nice drop pass for Matt Fornataro, who ripped it home for his sixth, tying the game at one.
However, minutes later Albany would get one back. Tim Sestito along the far boards, made a pretty move to spin around Admirals defenceman Jeff Dimmen and feathered a nice pass to Veileux, who took advantage to light the lamp. Shortly thereafter it was Joe Whitney and Veileux skating into the Norfolk zone. Whitney whipped a pass and hit Veileux in stride for his eighth goal and a natural hat trick. All of this in the first period and it was 3-1 Devils after one.
In the second it was a vastly different story. Norfolk would storm back and it would make for a rough night on netminder Keith Kinkaid. One trend not helping either, was the Devils inability to get the puck out of their defensive end. Albany failed to clear the zone, as Ondrej Palat’s shot went off defenceman Mike Banwell and the puck slid back out to Evan Oberg, who put the puck past Kinkaid for the marker.
Midway through the second, a little give and go by Mark Barberio and Tyler Johnson, resulted in Barberio sliding one past Kinkaid, for his fifth and knotted the game at three.
Although Albany would counter later in the stanza. A streaking Vladimir Zharkov threw the puck to the front of the net, with Chad Wiseman and Nick Palmieri in front. Ultimately Wiseman was credited with his third tally of the campaign and the Devils regained the lead.
It would be a short lived lead.
Following an ill advised icing by the Devils, the Admirals would cash in off the draw. Michel Ouellet blasted one home for his ninth, as the Admirals squared the game at four.
Just moments later, Norfolk would strike back with furry. Mike Kostka and Jean-Philippe Cote, who’d helped assist on the tying goal, went right back to work for the Admirals. Kostka wound up with a howitzer from the point and the beneficiary was Norfolk Captain and former River Rat Mike Angelidis, tipping home the go-ahead goal and eventual winner.
In the waning seconds, with Kinkaid pulled, Wiseman had a wide open net but couldn’t corral the puck to finish the deal. Hence it was a 5-4 victory for Norfolk.
The multiple comebacks were something to savor for the Admirals, whose number the Devils have had virtually all season. Included in that, a 4-0 deficit the Devils overcame in the first game of a weekend mini-sweep at Norfolk, just a couple of weeks back.
That marks the third straight victory for Norfolk, as they hit 51 points on the season. Conversely the loss for Albany snaps a six game point streak.