(PR) Elmira, NY – The Devils opened their preseason schedule with a 4-2 loss Friday against the Elmira Jackals at First Arena. Jeff Lerg stopped 46 of 50 Elmira shots, while the Devils managed only 18 of their own – their offense hampered by taking 15 penalties. Elmira could not convert on any of its six power plays, though the only special-teams score of the night was a Jackals shorthanded goal. Rookies Ryan Hayes and Matt Lombardi tallied scores for Trenton, in the first and third period, respectively.
Hayes marked the scorecard early – in the penalty column – tangling with Elmira’s Brock McBride after an interference penalty followed by McBride instigating a fight, the first of three official bouts in the game. The Devils Jean-Sebastien Berube was involved in the other two, dropping the gloves with Eric Regan early in the third and with Michael Dubuc in the final minute of play.
The scoring opened with A.J. Perry shooting the puck off Lerg’s shoulder, and the loose puck trickling behind the Devils goaltender. Oren Eizenman and McBride received assists at 13:34 of the first. Trenton struck in the final minute of the frame, as sharp passing from Matt Kang and Darcy Zajac on the deep right side set up Hayes in the net mouth who banged home the tying score.
Elmira outshot Trenton 25 to 4 in the second period and posted the only two goals of the frame. Justin Donati put the Jackals in front for good at 3:25, and a shorthanded breakaway with Yannick Tifu and Perry put the Jackals up 3-1 at 8:03, Perry’s second score of the game. Trenton shut down four Elmira power plays, but generated few opportunities against Jackals’ goalie Shane Connelly.
After killing off a carryover five-on-three early in the third, the Devils surrendered an even-strength goal to Dustin Cameron at 1:56 from Ryan Hillier and Brennan Turner. A combined 42 penalty minutes in the third period gave way to a more balanced finish to the game. The Devils outshot the Jackals eight to seven in the third, and managed to move the puck well in the final stages of the game. On a developing two-on-two, Matt Lombardi steamed through two Elmira defenders, cut from left to right across the goal mouth and fired past Connelly, off the long post and in, to cap the scoring at 4-2, Elmira.
The Devils preseason schedule concludes Saturday with a 7:05 contest at Reading’s Sovereign Center. The Royals defeated the Jackals Thursday evening in Elmira, 5-3, in their only preseason game so far. Trenton’s regular season begins Saturday, October 16 against Reading at the Sun National Bank Center at 7 p.m.