Kevin Rooney has three goals in the last four games and will be relied on more now that John Quenneville and Miles Wood are in the NHL.
ALBANY, NY — During the last week, the Albany Devils have lost John Quenneville and Miles Wood to NHL recalls and Scott Wedgewood to shoulder surgery. Thus is life in the American Hockey League. The Devils trudge on, however, with a three-in-three weekend: against Utica Friday (7 pm), at Utica Saturday (7 pm) and against Binghamton Sunday (3 pm).
The team practiced Thursday at Knickerbacker Ice Arena and as a result of the recalls, Head Coach Rick Kowalsky has done some line rearranging.
“We still feel we have the depth to sustain these types of situations and it’s up to these guys to take advantage of the opportunity.”
• More on Quenneville
It seemed like only a matter of time before Quenneville earned his first NHL recall. He is expected to make his debut during Thursday’s game at Chicago. The Devils’ first round pick in 2014, Quenneville has six points (2g-4a) in the last two AHL games and leads Albany with 17 points, including seven goals and 10 helpers, in 19 outings. Additionally, he is tied for first with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Jake Guentzel among AHL rookies.
“He’s been good,” Kowalsky said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked. His compete level, the intensity at the puck and the pace at which we want him to play with has certainly improved. I think there is still room for consistency in those areas.
“I’ve talked about his skill and his ability to shoot. He’s a sniper, but he can also make some plays. It’s just about him figuring out what it takes to compete every day. He has certainly made strides early in his career and he’s very deserving of this recall.”
• Rooney finding his way
Rookie Kevin Rooney, who got a taste of professional hockey at the end of last season on an ATO, has points in three of the last four games, producing three goals and an assist. For the year, he has six points, backed by five goals and a helper, in 19 contests.
“I’m definitely using my speed and try and get in on the forecheck,” Rooney said. “I’m also playing with two good players who have helped me a lot. Both guys were here last year and that definitely helps. Once you get one, you get some confidence. I’m just trying to stay in the moment and keep it going. I don’t want to be too complacent and hopefully get some more.”