ALBANY, NY — Max Novak and Mike Sislo both scored a pair of power-play goals to help the Albany Devils extend their winning streak to five games. The team knocked off the Rochester Americans, 2-1, Saturday at Times Union Center.
Here is a look at three key elements of the game:
Novak Gets The Devils Started
Max Novak scored his first career AHL goal Saturday when he gave the Devils an early lead on the power-play. Novak found his own rebound after deflecting a shot on net from Matt Lorito. Novak fired the shot to the ceiling over Americans’ goaltender Andrey Makarov‘s glove.
The Union College product has seen increased ice time recently, generally playing alongside Paul Thompson and Reid Boucher. He has seen itime on the power-play and the penalty-kill in important situations. Novak, who has not dressed in about half of the games this season, has been making the most of his opportunity of late.
“He’s been playing real well and that’s why he’s stayed in that number two spot between Thompson and Boucher,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “He’s been around it; he’s a smart player. It’s good to see these guys score.”
“It feels good,” Novak said of his first goal. “It felt like a long time coming. I’ve been playing good hockey these last couple games. It’s nice to get that out of the way.”
Sislo Gets Record
After tying the Devils franchise record of 27 career power-power play goals Wednesday, Mike Sislo wasted little time putting himself alone in front Saturday. Sislo scored on his trademark laser from the circle on the Devils’ second power play of the game to stand alone at 28 career power-play goals. Sislo leads the AHL with nine power-play goals this season.
Matt Lorito and Joseph Blandisi were moving the puck down low in front of the net when it bounced out to Sislo in his favorite spot. He paused for a moment to open more space and then fired home the eventual game-winning goal.
“It’s nice to have the opportunity to be on the power play,” Sislo said downplaying the record. “I was kinda looking across the seam and up top, it looked like the guy overplayed it a bit so I was able to get underneath and in the middle and get a shot off.
Special Teams Success
The Devils added to their league leading power play and penalty kill with a perfect special teams night. The Devils went 2-2 on the power play and 4-4 on the penalty kill. Both units have been critical to the team’s success all year.
“It’s been a huge part of our success,” Kowalsky said. “We strive to be a five-on-five team, but we’ve gotten to the point now where I think teams are saying ‘you have to stay out of the box on these guys.’ On the other side of it, our penalty kill starts with our goaltending. Both units, our power-play and penalty-kill, there’s a sense of pride and urgency every time it comes up.”
“Special teams is a huge part of the game here in the AHL” Novak said. “It’s great that both our power-play and PK are clicking right now. “