ALBANY, NY – The Albany Devils had an optional skate Thursday morning at Times Union Center. The practice came after the team extended its winning streak to five games with a 4-2 win against the Springfield Falcons Wednesday.
Next up, the Devils prepare for a 5pm game Saturday against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and a 3 pm contest Sunday against the Portland Pirates.
“It was just an optional skate and a lot of guys went out,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “The way the schedule sets up, we have two afternoon games basically. There won’t be any pregame skates, so today was more about getting rest. If you wanted to go out to feel the puck, it was a pretty light skate.”
Albany is a victory away from matching the franchise record for longest win streak. Last year’s team won six consecutive contests between Nov. 30 and Dec. 14. The Devils will try and improve to 7-0-0-1 against a Sound Tigers team that was responsible for Albany’s shootout loss on Oct. 17.
At the beginning of the year when the book was still out on a lot of teams, the Devils were focused on their own game and systems. Saturday’s meeting will be the third between the Devils and Sound Tigers, so there is built-in familiarity ahead of the contest.
“You start to get into other teams’ systems and tendencies a little bit more,” Kowalsky said. “You get to know the goaltenders; you get to know some of their players. I think that’s the biggest thing. We do pre-scouts every game and go over their systems, but I think as you start to see teams more you get an idea of their identity and how they play.”
The Devils and Sound Tigers both have Friday night off. Albany is expected to hold a full practice in the morning.
With three goals during the last two periods Wednesday, the Devils have now outscored opponents 25-6 during the second and third periods combined.
“They dictated the play more than we did,” Kowalsky said. “That’s certainly not how we want to play. With that being said, as the game wore on we got a little bit better in a lot of those areas. Our compete level, our urgency, our physical play just picked up once we did get the lead.”
Sestito Plays 400th
During Wednesday’s game, Tim Sestito logged his 400th career AHL game. The Devils center broke into the league at the end of the 2004-05 season, playing nine games with the Sound Tigers. For his AHL career, the Rome, NY native has producing 67 goals and 83 assists.
Photos by James DiBianco Jr.