Notebook: Five-On-Five Play Key For Devils Success


The Albany Devils held a brief practice Monday at Knickerbacker Ice Arena. Afterwards the players headed their respective ways for a three-day Holiday break. The team returns to the ice Friday for a morning skate at Times Union Center and a game at Syracuse in the evening.

Monday’s practice consisted of a handful of drills followed by a Red vs. White full ice-scrimmage and a three-on-three, cross-ice competition. Team Red won the first contest thanks to Corbin McPherson’s game-winning goal, but Team White responded in the three-on-three. Brandon Burlon won it for his team.

Albany is coming off a weekend split that included a 4-2 win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Friday and a 3-2 setback at Syracuse Saturday. Breaking down the games, Head Coach Rick Kowalsky thought the team stuck to the game plan during the first game, but had a tough start during the second.

“Two tough buildings against two good teams,” he said. “I thought we stuck to our game plan in Wilkes-Barre. [The Penguins] forechecked well in that building and we put a lot of focus and emphasis on getting back for pucks and coming out cleanly. We did a good job. On the other side of it, we were in their end and played well in the offensive zone.

“On Saturday, we didn’t get off to a good start. It was kind of the exact opposite. We didn’t handle their forecheck well. We spent a lot of the first half of the game in our end. I give the guys credit. We didn’t have much going, but we stuck with it.”

Special teams was a major factor during both games. Combined, the Devils went 4-8 on the power play and 7-10 on the penalty kill.

Although special teams helped decide both outings, Kowalsky thought the team’s even-strength play was an asset during Friday’s win.

“When you get into those situations, you just play smart, simple hockey and defend well five-on-five, you give your special teams opportunities to win you games” Kowalsky said. “We did the night before. I thought our play Friday night in Wilkes-Barre was better overall five-on-five than it was Saturday.”

This season, the Devils have netted 52 even strength goals and 24 power-play tallies.

Team Red vs. Team White

Here is how the team was divided during Monday’s practice:

Team Red
Graham Black, Alexandre Carrier, Scott Clemmensen, Joe Faust, Mark Fraser, Cam Janssen, Stefan Matteau, Corbin McPherson, Rod Pelley, Ben Thomson, David Wohlberg, Darcy Zajac

Team White
Eric Baier, Brandon Burlon, Ben Johnson, Mike Keenan, Dan Kelly, Chris McKelvie, Reece Scarlett, Paul Thompson, Scott Wedgewood, Joe Whitney, Kelly Zajac

Players on the Move

On Sunday, New Jersey returned center Tim Sestito and right winger Mike Sislo to Albany. Sestito was then recalled Monday, while Sislo remained with Albany.

This month alone Sestito has been recalled three times: Dec. 15, Dec. 19 and Dec. 22.

For the year, Sislo has been recalled three times: Nov. 6, Dec. 4 and Dec. 20.


What To Watch For: Dec. 22-28


After a Monday morning practice, the Albany Devils will take three days off for the Holiday break. They return for a 7 pm outing Friday against the Syracuse Crunch at War Memorial Arena. Albany returns home for a 5 pm fixture Saturday against the Springfield Falcons. The game is the first at Times Union Center since Dec. 7.


Albany split a pair of games last week. Backed by three power-play goals, the team defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 4-2, Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena. The following night, the Devils lost to the Crunch, 3-2, at War Memorial Arena despite goals by Reid Boucher and Paul Thompson.


Boucher, Thompson and Reece Scarlett enter the week with point streak. Boucher has a four-game point streak that includes three goals and two assists. Thompson and Scarlett on on three-game runs. Thompson has two goals and two assists and Scarlett has three helpers.


Saturday’s home game features the Devils “Holiday Special.” All tickets are just $10 and can be purchased the day of game at the Times Union Center Box Office. Additionally, the first 1,500 fans to arrive will receive a special Devils helmet bank.


Both games this week can be seen and heard online or on mobile devices at Friday’s contest can be followed on 104.5 “The Team” ESPN Radio. The broadcast features 10-minute pre and postgame shows.

Larsson, Sislo Recalled


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