ALBANY, NY – A brand new season is upon us and the Albany Devils skated for the first time Tuesday since their 5-2 victory against the Springfield Falcons to close out the regular season Saturday. The Devils are staring down a first round series against the St. John’s IceCaps, which is set to begin Friday at Times Union Center.
In the AHL, the opening round is a best-of-five and the higher seed doesn’t necessarily always open at home. That’s the case with the Devils and IceCaps. Fifth-seeded Albany will host the first two games before traveling for the remainder at fourth-seeded St. John’s.
Both clubs have stellar home record: the Devils .697 winning percentage ranks fifth in the league, while the IceCaps .671 is 10th.
“You know what, there’s no question it’s important,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “Obviously, we’ve played well here and we feel comfortable here. I don’t think you want to put too much emphasis on it, I think you’ve just got to focus on that first game. The playoffs can be a crazy thing.”
Friday’s game will be the first between the Devils and IceCaps in 2013-14 and the fifth all-time meeting. Last season, Albany went 1-2-0-1 against St. John’s.
There is a cloud of unknown hovering over this first round series, but that doesn’t mean the teams don’t know what to anticipate.
“I expect it to be a fast series,” Kowalsky said. “They’re a team that has some skill up front. Some guys that have been around, proven scorers, that we’ve talked about in Gordon and Samson, Jaffray, their captain, a veteran guy that is their leading scorer. Then the back end, very active D that can all skate, so I expect that with the way we skate and the way they skate for it to be certainly a fast series.”
The Devils will continue their prep work with a Wednesday morning practice at Times Union Center. St. John’s is expected to arrive in the Capital Region Thursday.
ALBANY, NY — The Albany Devils are heading into the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs riding a five-game winning streak, which was capped by a 5-2 victory against the Springfield Falcons Saturday at Times Union Center. Albany concludes the regular season with 40-23-5-8 — the team’s first 40 win season.
“I think it’s a testament to the coaching staff, the players, guys who have been in and out of the lineup, guys who have been up and down,” said assistant captain Tim Sestito. “We’ve had guys contribute the whole year. It’s exciting, but that’s all wiped clean now and we’re looking forward to playoffs.”
Depending on the outcome of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Utica game, the Devils will either be the fifth or sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. They will either match up against third-seed Binghamton or fourth-seed St. John’s.
Against Springfield, Harri Pesonen registered a goal and an assist. David Wohlberg, Scott Timmins, Joe Whitney and Brandon Burlon all scored. The Devils finish the season with 220 goals for, averaging 2.89 goals-per-game.
“They haven’t all been pretty, but you find a way to win hockey games,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “We have some guys now with some confidence that maybe two weeks ago we were concerned about. Pesonen has played well, [Reid] Boucher has his step back, Timmins is still inside, Whitney comes in and has a strong game today with [Mike] Sislo.”
Wohlberg opened the scoring just seven seconds into the game — the fastest goal to start a game all season. His tally was part of a four-goal outburst that included a first period goal from Timmins at 8:08 and second period tallies from Whitney and Burlon.
Pesonen capped the scoring with an empty net tally at 16:32.
“The first goal gave us some life and got some life in the building,” Kowalsky said. “I thought we were solid through two periods. Then they started to play some of their energy guys and made a bit of a push. We got a little sloppy and made it a little interesting. It’s 40 wins, 24 at home, it’s still a big two points.”
The Devils improved to 24-7-2-1 at Times Union Center this season, moving their winning percentage to .750.
In goal, Scott Wedgewood made 20 saves for his 15th victory of the season.
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All 16 teams that will play in the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs have been determined, but the matchups have not been set. The Devils conclude the regular season with a 5 pm outing against the Springfield Falcons. Albany can finish between fifth and eighth place.
The Devils are a win away from the first 40-win season in franchise history. The 2009-10 team finished with 39 victories, but reached the mark during an 80 game schedule. That team went 39-31-4-6.
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Devils vs. Falcons Series
The Devils and Falcons are meeting for the 59th time. The Devils are 28-25-2-4 overall with a 13-11-2-3 home mark and a 15-14-0-1 road record. Albany is 6-5-1-1 during the last 13 meetings, including a 2-4-1-0 record this season.
Last time out, the Devils surrendered a third period lead, falling 6-4 against the Falcons on Mar. 14 at MassMutual Center. With the help from a goal and an assist by Joe Whitney and tallies from Harri Pesonen, Mattias Tedenby and Tim Sestito, Albany established a 4-2 advantage after two periods. In the third, Springfield scored four unanswered en route to victory.
Albany and Springfield are meeting for the final time this regular season.
TROY, NY — The playoff spot has been secured, but there is still regular-season hockey to be played. The Albany Devils put the finishing touches on their 76-game schedule with a 5 pm outing against the Northeast Division-leading Springfield Falcons Saturday at Times Union Center.
Even though that team is in the Calder Cup Playoffs, the team is jockeying for position in the Eastern Conference. Albany can finish as high as fifth and as low as eighth. With 13 AHL games Friday, Head Coach Rick Kowalsky says he will wait to set a lineup for Saturday’s contest.
“We are going to sit on it until the morning,” he said. “Obviously, there will be some guys we rest. We have a couple of guys who are banged up. We are going to take a look at what happens tonight, but we are still going to approach the game regardless. We want to win. We want to prepare. It could be a first round opponent. There are quite enough capable guys here who we can put a good lineup together even with, potentially, key players out.”
Springfield, along with Manchester, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Binghamton,is a potential first round opponent. The Devils will try and extend their current four-game winning streak and build momentum heading into next week’s series.
“No matter if it makes a difference or not, I think you want to be going into the playoffs playing well,” said assistant captain Mike Sislo. “Our focus is on playing well and playing the right way.”
“I think it’s important to just focus on where you are at and what you can do to help the team,” Sislo said. “All of us are happy to be up [in New Jersey] and coming down [to Albany] we knew we were a playoff team and wanted to help and contribute as much as we could.”
The Devils, who have 15 players on the roster with NHL experience, practiced Friday at Knickerbacker Ice Arena.
Saturday, April 19 at 5 PM
The Albany Devils are tipping their hats to you, the fans, on Saturday during the 2013-14 Regular Season Finale at Times Union Center. As part of “Fan Appreciation Night,” the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive an Albany Devils drawstring backpack. Additionally, prizes will be handed out throughout the game.
Fan Appreciation Prizes
- East Greenbush Bowling Center – Gift Certificate
- Lakeview on Crystal Lake – Gift Certificate
- The Arts Center of the Capital Region – $50 Gift Certificate & Tote
- My Place & Co – $15 Gift Certificate
- I love Books – $20 Gift Certificate
- El Mariachi – $45 Gift Certificate
- Capital Combat Zone (Paintball) – 25 passes
- Mary Kay Cosmetics Gift Bag
- Lark Tavern – $20 Gift Certificate
- Hockey Store N More – $50 Gift Certificate
- Guilderland Family Chiro. – 5 Full Examinations (Value $275 each)
- Bomber – Gift Certificate
- Blue82 – $100 Gift Certificate
- City Beer Hall – Gift Certificate
- Valley Cats – 4 tickets to make of choice
- Price Chopper – 5 $20 gift cards
- Hockey Giant –
- Duke’s – Haircut & Shave
- FunPlex Fun Park –Three $30 Gift Certificates
- Hairstyles by Allen
- Downtown Bid – 16 Adults & 8 Kids t-shirts
- Thirty – One Gifts
Shoot For Your 2014-15 Tickets
Enter to win a chance to shoot for 2014-15 season tickets during “Fan Appreciation Night”
ALBANY, NY –The Albany Devils will recognize the Union College Men’s Ice Hockey team during the regular-season finale Saturday at Times Union Center. The Devils have invited the entire Union College community to celebrate the Dutchmen’s 2014 NCAA National Championship.
Puck drop between Albany and the Springfield Falcons is slated for 5 pm. The Devils and their fans will salute the Union student-athletes and the coaching staff during the second intermission. The championship trophy will be on display on the Times Union Center concourse during the first intermission.
Tickets for students, faculty and staff — with Union identification — can be picked up at the Alumni Gymnasium ticket office Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 9 am and 5 pm.
The Dutchmen won the program’s first ever national title with a 7-4 victory against the University of Minnesota Saturday at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center. Union, which finished the season on a 17-game unbeaten streak, went 32-6-4 in 2013-14.
Saturday’s Devils game is part of “Fan Appreciation Night.” To say thank you, the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a Devils drawstring backpack. Additionally, prizes will be handed out to fans throughout the game.
Tickets can be purchased at the Times Union Center box office or at any Ticketmaster outlet. Fans can also buy tickets via charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at ticketmaster.com.