Shutout In The Shootout…

Here’s Saturday’s recap…

(T-Devils PR) Trenton, NJ – The Trenton Devils rewarded their fans for battling through the elements by battling back from a two-goal deficit late in the third period. Jeff Prough scored the game-tying power play goal, his second tally of the game, with four seconds left in regulation but the Devils could not solve goaltender Jeremy Smith in the shootout, falling to the Cincinnati Cyclones 5-4.
The Devils energized start got the best of them, as Justin Coutu committed a slashing penalty less than two minutes into the game, resulting in a fight between Coutu and Thursday’s shootout hero, Hans Benson. Mike McLean converted late on the ensuing power play, with the scoring chance starting with Ryan Del Monte carrying the puck down the right wing following a pass from a head pass from Kevin Roeder. Del Monte found McLean on the opposite wing with plenty of time and space to pick his spot on Dave Caruso’s blocker side and scored his eighth of the year for a 1-0 Cincinnati lead at 3:07.

A five-on-three power play for the Devils in the last two minutes of the first produced several chances, but few pucks made it through to Smith and the Cyclones escaped the period with a 1-0 lead. The visitors extended their edge on a rebound goal by Barret Ehgoetz at 3:58 of the second period after a Cyclones face-off win to Caruso’s left. Scott Reynolds corralled the puck and shot it on net with the rebound fluttering across for Ehgoetz who knifed it home for his tenth goal of the season and a 2-0 Cincinnati lead.

The first Trenton goal came after a Brock Sheahan interference-on-the-goalkeeper penalty. Nintey seconds into their fifth power play, a face-off to the right of Jeremy Smith skipped right to the front of the Cincinnati net. Jack Combs jumped on the play with a solid stick-check and a quick shot on net. Smith’s rebound popped up in front of him and was batted out of mid-air by Jeff Prough for the power play goal, his seventh of the year.

Cincinnati added another tally on a seemingly harmless centering pass from Scott Reynolds. Reynolds’ pass deflected off Caruso’s stick as he attempted to take away the passing lane, but the puck ended up redirecting through the wickets for a 3-1 Cincinnati lead at 12:15 in the second. The Devils finished the period with strong play, as goaltender Dave Caruso denied a Maxime Lacroix chance with a diving poke check. Seconds later, a tough angle shot from Justin Coutu was kicked out to Chris Murray at the point whose blast was deflected in by Trevor Kell to pull the Devils within one with just six seconds left in the second period.

Five minutes into the third, the Cyclones regained a two goal advantage on a five-on-three power play, with a tic-tac-toe goal scored by Mark Van Guilder with assists from Dustin Sproat and Barret Ehgoetz. With time running out in regulation, Rick Kowalsky called a timeout prior to an offensive zone draw and replaced Caruso with an extra attacker. The Devils won the face-off and crashed the net hard, allowing Trevor Kell to flip a loose puck over Smith with Tony Zancanaro and Dan Eves assisting. The game was all but wrapped up for Cincinnati when Maxime Lacroix committed a hooking minor at the opposing blue line with eight seconds left in regulation. With a six-on-four advantage and the face-off moved to the attack end, Poli won it back for Tim Kunes who shoved it across for Jeff Prough’s one-time slap shot from the left wing to beat Smith and tie the game, 4-4, with four seconds left.

Moving to an extra period, Trevor Kell nearly made it a hat trick with 2:41 left in the overtime, but his rebound stuff attempt was met by Smith and the overtime period ended in deadlock. Dustin Sproat was the only player to score in the shootout, beating Caruso to the blocker side with a quick backhand to forehand deke. Trevor Kell nearly beat Smith as the last shooter, but his shot rang off the outside of the right post to end the game.

The Cyclones have now beaten the Devils in consecutive games, each decided by a shootout. The Devils (9-13-2-4) try to salvage the third game of the series with the Cyclones (16-10-0-1) with another effort tomorrow at 4 p.m.

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