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Parise's pair, including one in O.T., wins for Albany

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01-26-2005, 10:46 PM
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MIKE4DEVILS
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Parise's pair, including one in O.T., wins for Albany

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 26, 2005). The Albany River Rats pulled out a victory in overtime, 4-3, against the visiting Worcester IceCats, the first time all season (in 11 tries) that Albany emerged victorious on a Wednesday evening.

It did not lack for excitement. Just when River Rats' fans thought that Albany had the game in hand late in the third period, Worcester scored twice (once on a hotly disputed goal; again just before the buzzer) in the final 67 seconds, both with the extra attacker.

The game also had a few fights, including one in which Ilkka Pikkarainen jumped in, willingly drawing a penalty, to defend Devils' prospect, Zach Parise, who emerged with a pair of goals tonight, including the overtime game-winner.

After a scoreless first period, in which the best scoring chances were actually by the IceCats shorthanded (Blake Evans and Peter Sejna). Albany did manage an impressive nine shots and a few scoring chances on a double-minor penalty assessed against Jay McClement for spearing. However, Curtis Sanford held the fort and kept Albany off the scoreboard during that power play.

The Rats struck paydirt early in the second period when Dean McAmmond made a nifty move on defenseman Trvor Byrne. After leaving the Worcester IceCat at the blue line, McAmmond beat Sanford stick-side high.

A goalie error by Sanford, in getting trapped behind the net, led to Ahren Nittel's tap-in, from a Pascal Rheaume behind-the-net feed late in the middle frame.

Worcester rebounded quickly, though, scoring a few minutes later. Jon DiSalvatore stationed himself in front of the paint and redirected a pass from Blake Evans in the corner through Ari Ahonen's five-hole.

The third period saw more cautious play by the Rats, at least in the early going. Zach Parise scored an "extra effort" goal at 17:18, to give Albany a seemingly safe 3-1 lead. Charging down the slot, Parise's shot missed the left post. But he kept skating, scooped up his own rebound off the boards, circled the net and jammed it in just inside the post on a wrap-around.

The IceCats never gave up. A goal by Jon DiSalvatore, that probably should have been disallowed as a "high stick" tally, counted even though it was batted into the net out of the air with what Rats' fans were sure was a "tennis overhand" shot.

But, the shocker came with a fraction of a second left in regulation. Ari Ahonen did not get close enough to the post and Mike Glumac's desperation shot from the goal line snuck through to bring overtime.

An odd-man rush in the second minute of the extra session proved the difference. Zach Parise had the puck and some jump. Fortunately, he waited for Pascal Rheaume to catch up. The pass across got through and the relay went into the net off Parise's stick before Sanford could slide across.

The River Rats, as well as their fans, breathed a sigh of relief. A hard-fought win almost went down the drain in the final 67 seconds of regulation.

The three stars were awarded to three River Rats, though this writer would have given Jon DiSalvatore of the IceCats some recognition for his two goals. Third went to Ahren Nittel of Albany, with a goal and an assist; second, to Dean McAmmond of Albany, with the pretty first goal; and, first, to rookie Zach Parise, with a pair of goals, including the game-winner in overtime.

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