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There may have been just 3,722 seats filled on Saturday night at the Times Union Center, but you can be sure once word gets out who was in each of the nets, a few more people in the Capital Region will be interested in how the Albany Devils' game against the Springfield Falcons went.

It went great ... for the Devils and goalie Keith Kinkaid.

It was a little tougher for Springfield netminder Allen York.

The two used to square off in the Capital Region collegiate rivalry between Union College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and this was their first time starting against each other as professionals.

In college, they faced each other five times over two seasons, with Kinkaid and Union getting the best of it (3-1-1). Kinkaid got the best of it again on Saturday to begin their pro series up, 1-0-0, as the Devils won, 4-1.

"I think it gives a little extra motivation, knowing we played here in the Capital District," Kinkaid said. "We had a rivalry in college, and it's a little extra motivation. He's a great goaltender over there, and hopefully there's many more [meetings] to come."

"We had some good ones," York said. "It was fun to play him again. It would have been nice to win, but they played well today and they deserve to win."

The lone goal Kinkaid allowed was on a loose rebound that got behind him and off to the left on a power play, which Cam Atkinson slid toward and sent into the net over Kinkaid's outstretched arm he had gotten to the ice and to the post.

Kinkaid has been enjoying the improved consistency that comes from the work he's put in, and he credits this year's coaching addition -- goalie coach Dave Caruso -- with making him do that work.

"It's been a big help having Dave Caruso. He's keeping me honest and making me battle every day," he said. "It's working, and it shows in my game right now."

"They've both been, other than a game or two here and there, they've both been rock solid all year and just haven't gotten the offensive support," Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. "He didn't have a real busy night, but he looked confident and he's in control. Good rebound control when he needed to have it. Goaltending definitely hasn't been an issue this year."

Kinkaid improved to 9-7-3 on the season. He had a five-game winning streak early in December. With the loss, York fell to 1-3-0 on the season.

York played in parts of 11 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets last season with pretty good stats to show for it (3-2-0, 2.30 GAA, .919 Sv%). He also spent some time with Springfield, and even made a rehab stint in the ECHL with the Chicago Express.

He had to take a rehab tour in the ECHL again this season, with the Evansville Icemen (3-1-1), but said he's back to top form.

"I'm in great shape right now," he said. "I've been playing for a couple months now. I went down to the coast and rehabbed there, and that was kind of my conditioning. I feel good, I'm just frustrated we didn't get the win today."

"He's done well," said Springfield coach Brad Larsen. "He had a long start here just because he was injured and trying to find his game. He's come back and had a real solid game last game. Tonight, he was fine. I don't think he hurt himself. I think he made all the saves he's supposed to. The goals they scored, he didn't have a whole lot of a chance on."

He really didn't. The fourth Albany goal was an empty-netter, and the three before that were all bang-bang plays set up from below the goal line or just above it with slick passes to the slot or tenacious rebound persuit.

The Devils found a way to win against the Northeast Division's top team for the second time in as many weeks.

"We're just sticking to our game plan and not playing anybody else's," Kinkaid said. "It's motivating, seeing them at the top of the standings, and we want to catch them eventually. We want to be the number one team."

"They play hard and they're a good defensive team," York said. "They've kind of shut us down, found a way to get pucks in front of our net and get goals on us. They've played us well both games. Really, we haven't had much of an answer for them. It's frustrating. You don't want to lose points to a team that far down in the standings, but they've earned their four points against us."

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