TROY, NY – For the first time since the beginning of the season, the Albany Devils will enjoy a Friday night away from the rink. The team practiced Thursday at Knickerbacker Ice Arena in Troy, NY in preparation for games against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Saturday at 5 pm and at the Connecticut Whale Sunday at 3 pm.
The team’s last Friday off was on Oct. 12 – the eve of Opening Night.
“In this life you generally go weekend to weekend,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “It is a bit strange – not too many Friday nights off and I don’t know that it will hit me until Friday night actually. I’ll probably end up watching the scores or checking in anyways.”
The Devils will only have two other Friday’s off for the remainder of the regular season: Jan. 4 and Feb. 22.
Rookie defenseman Corbin McPherson is making the transition to the professional game after spending the previous four years at Colgate University. In his first full pro season, McPherson has appeared in 14 consecutive games and 15 overall.
“Personally, I try and do the same thing – get better every day,” McPherson said. “Adjusting to the American League lifestyle has been a challenge to me to start — just without classes and finding stuff to do on my down time. I’ve adjusted and I’m having a great time.”
McPherson appeared in nine games for Albany at the end of 2011-12, making his debut at the Norfolk Admirals on March 23.
“It was huge for my confidence and my development,” McPherson said. “Just getting acquainted with the coaches, the systems and the guys in the room, it was huge. Especially going into camp and starting the year.”
The IIHF World Junior Championship takes place Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia.
Matteau, the Devils’ first-round pick at this year’s draft, is coming off a strong November in which he collected eight goals, four assists in 11 games with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL). The left wing has 14 goals, nine assists in 26 games this season.
Pietila, a fifth-round selection in 2011, has eight goals, two assists in 12 games for the Michigan Tech Huskies (WCHA). The forward posted 10 goals, 14 assists in 39 games as a freshman last season.
Training camp for the U.S. juniors will be held in Tarrytown, N.Y., from Dec. 16-18, with an additional camp set for Helsinki, Finland. The final 23-man roster will be announced on Dec. 23.
The U.S. team is coached by former Devil Phil Housley.