ALBANY -- The Adirondack Phantoms had a chance Monday to end the first half of their season by climbing into a tie for first place. They wake up Tuesday in a tie, but not for the spot they wanted.
Albany's 5-3 victory over the Phantoms at the Times Union Center lifted the Devils into a dead heat with Adirondack for second. Both teams are two points behind Connecticut.
After a strong weekend at home in which they won two games, the Phantoms were never really in this one. The momentum they showed in winning five of their previous seven didn't carry over until too late.
The Devils, on a six-game point streak, scored on a power play and on a shorthanded breakaway in the first, then opened up a 5-0 lead on three quick goals early in the second.
"To be able to still be in there and have a chance to tie for first place and next thing you know the third-place team is tied with you, it just makes things frustrating and difficult," said Phantoms forward Garrett Roe, who scored a third-period goal.
The Devils scored goals 52 seconds apart in the second, prompting Joe Paterson to pull starting goaltender Michael Leighton in favor of Jason Bacashihua.
The goaltender change didn't stem the tide.
Tim Sestito beat Bacashihua on a breakaway 1:16 later to give the Devils a five-goal lead 7:11 into the third.
"We didn't get the puck in deep. Every time we got the puck we ended up turning it over and they came back out of their zone," Roe said. "Every time they got the puck it was in deep and we were turning and playing defense a lot. It caused a lot of pressure for us and made us go back for the puck time after time. You can't play offense when you're going back to your own net all the time."
The Phantoms haven't won in Albany since last January. They've lost their last five games at the Times Union Center. Since moving to Glens Falls, the Phantoms are 4-9 in Albany against the River Rats and Devils.
The Phantoms and Devils are in a stretch where they're about to become real familiar with each another. They meet again Friday at the Civic Center and then again the following weekend in Albany.
"These are four-point games," Phantoms coach Joe Paterson said "We didn't play Albany a lot at the start of the season. Now we've got them again in our building and we've got them coming up again. These are all big games. They're playing well and so are we."
The Phantoms showed some life after Jason Akeson scored in the second to get Adirondack on the board. Roe, hammered by a hard hit at the start of the second period, scored early in the third and Eric Wellwood cut the lead to two with a shorthanded goal 8:07 into the third.
The Phantoms nearly made it a one-goal game on a power play with less than five minutes remaining. Tom Sestito hit a post and Denis Hamel couldn't fire the rebound into the open net.
"We made a push and we started believing after the third goal we could tie the game," Roe said. "(If that puck goes in), it could be a different game, different outcome."
Instead, they'll have to wait for Friday.
Adirondack (20-16-1-1) 0 1 2 - 3
Albany (17-13-5-3) 2 3 0 - 5
First period - 1, Albany, Perkovich 6 (Sislo, Gelinas), 4:09 (pp); 2, Albany, Anderson 7 (Harrold), 16:06 (sh). Penalties - Harper, Adk (boarding), 2:38; To.Sestito, Adk (interference), 13:35; Josefson, Alb (tripping), 15:19.
Second period - 3, Albany, Josefson 1 (Zharkov, Sislo), 5:02; 4, Albany, Ti.Sestito 3 (Perkovich), 5:56; 5, Albany, Mills 2 (Palmieri, Wiseman), 7:11; 6, Adirondack, Akeson 10 (Roe), 11:45. Penalties - Eddy, Adk (fighting), 12:23; Zajac, Alb (fighting), 12:23; Urbom, Alb (hooking), 14:55; Holmstrom, Adk (tripping), 16:36.
Third period - 7, Adirondack, Roe 5 (Manning, Akeson), 3:31 (pp); 8, Adirondack, Wellwood 9 (Holmstrom), 8:07 (sh). Penalties - Whitney, Alb (tripping), 2:04; Kalinski, Adk (hooking), 7:42; Holmstrom, Adk (slashing), 8:54; Marshall, Adk (fighting), 12:01; Sestito, Alb (fighting), 12:01; Gelinas, Alb (boarding), 14:46.
Shots on goal - Adirondack 12-13-10-35; Albany 8-12-6-26.
Power plays - Adirondack 1-4; Albany 1-5.
Goalies - Adirondack, Leighton 14-13-0 (17 shots-13 saves); Bacashihua 6-4-1 (9-8). Albany, Frazee 7-8-2 (35-32).
Referees - Charron, Luxmore.
A - 3,119.