HERSHEY, Pa. – Albany Devils netminder Keith Kinkaid came under fire late in the game, but made 34 saves to preserve a 3-2 victory over the HERSHEY BEARS on Saturday night at GIANT Center in front of a crowd of 10,896, in both teams' final game of 2012.
The BEARS got things started at 8:06 of the first period. After Jon DiSalvatore was denied on a short-range breakaway, Ryan Potulny gathered the loose puck and quickly fed Garrett Mitchell at the right hash mark. Mitchell sent a pass to his left that DiSalvatore blasted past Kinkaid for a 1-0 lead.
After failing on a short two-man advantage in the second period, the BEARS found themselves in a tie game at 12:18. Unable to control the puck in their own end, the BEARS had the puck kept away by the Devils quick passing. From the left point, Eric Gelinas then sent a wrist shot on goal that Tim Sestito deflected past Braden Holtby. It was the first goal allowed by Holtby since 18:24 of the first period last Saturday – a span of 133:54 over two-plus games.
Bobby Butler would give the Devils a 2-1 lead at 2:53 of the third, working himself free in the left corner, getting a pass from Jacob Josefson and roofing a shot over Holtby from in close.
But the BEARS battled right back to tie the score just 45 seconds later. A defensive-zone turnover by the Devils left Alex Berry with the puck in the left corner, and his centering pass found Zach Hamill for an easy goal with Kinkaid far out of position.
A turnover at the BEARS offensive blue line ultimately proved to be the difference as Albany led a three-on-two rush the other way. Josefson took the original shot from the slot that Holtby kicked to his left. Butler's rebound try was knocked aside by an acrobatic stop from Holtby, but Pesonen had a gaping net into which he buried his shot at 11:58 to round out the scoring.
Kinkaid improves to 8-7-3 with the win, while Holtby falls to 12-10-1 in making 26 saves on 29 shots. The BEARS and Devils each ended the night 0-for-3 on the power play.
HERSHEY will remain home in the New Year to host the Binghamton Senators on Saturday, January 5 at 7:00 PM and the Worcester Sharks on Sunday, January 6 at 5:00 PM