(PR) Elmira, NY – Yannick Tifu scored his second goal and fourth point of the game to snap a 3-3 tie with 5:34 remaining in the third period to lead the Elmira Jackals to a 4-3 win over the Trenton Devils Sunday at First Arena. The Jackals scored three power play goals in the second period in extending their lead in the season series, 7-5.
Tifu’s four points give him 20 in 12 games against the Devils this season, while Justin Donati took over the ECHL lead in scoring (74), contributing four points on the afternoon. Marco Cousineau won for the fifth time of the season against the Devils by making 19 saves on 22 shots and the Jackals improved to 25-23-6-1 by winning their third straight game, keeping pace with the Gwinnett Gladiators who won in Reading for eight in the Eastern Conference.
Jeff Lerg made 30 saves for the Devils whose record stands at 21-31-1-4, and they now trail Elmira and Gwinnett by 10 points for the conference’s final playoff spot with 15 games left in the regular season. A bright spot for Trenton in defeat was the play of Matt Vokes who notched his first two-goal game of the season, while Jeremy Akeson scored the Devils’ other goal.
Matt Vokes two-goal effort started with the game-opening score at 11:49 of the first period, when he directed a centering feed by Matt Lombardi from the left-wing corner past an outstretched Cousineau.
A 17-save first period by Jeff Lerg maintained the Devils’ 1-0 lead into the second period, however Yannick Tifu knocked the first shot of the middle stanza off the crossbar and into the net to tie the game, 1-1, 28 seconds into a carryover penalty with Drew Paris and Justin Donati garnering assists.
Less than four minutes later, the trio of Tifu, Paris and Donati struck again on an Elmira power play. This time, Drew Paris was the goal scorer and he beat Lerg with a shot that hit Trenton’s goalie and trickled over the goal line for his third of the year.
Justin Donati potted Elmira’s third power-play goal of the second period by scoring during a five-on-three at 11:45 of the second period. Donati’s goal came on a hard feed from the right-wing corner that hit Lerg and dribbled over the goal line.
A determined Devils team climbed out of the two-goal hole with two quick strikes in the first five minutes of the third period. Jeremy Akeson started the comeback by finishing a set up by Dave Leaderer, and Matt Vokes drew the Devils even by stuffing in the rebound of a Dan Charleston shot taken from point-blank range in front of the net.
However, the Devils would only be tied with the Jackals for 10:14 as Tifu’s goal with 5:34 remaining in the third period sealed a 4-3 Elmira win, their third in a row since Robbie Nichols replaced Malcom Cameron as head coach Wednesday.
The Devils next travel south for three games next weekend against the Greenville Road Warriors and Gwinnett Gladiators, not returning to Sun National Bank Center until March 11 when they face the Toledo Walleye at 7:00 p.m.