TROY, NY – To say Mike Sislo had a productive weekend would be an understatement. The Devils winger led all scorers with four goals in three games. To help put things in perspective, the AHL’s Player of the Week, St. John’s center John Albert, had five goals in four contests.
Whether or not he could have matched Albert’s four-in-five, Sislo played a big part in Albany’s weekend sweep and move up to fifth in the Eastern Conference. He registered a pair of goals, including a shorthanded, game-winning tally, Friday at Adirondack. He followed with a power-play goal Saturday against Norfolk and a goal Sunday against Utica.
“I felt that I can help the team that way and I need to help the team that way,” Sislo said about his contributions. “Obviously sometimes there are things you can’t control, but I thought it was good to be able to get some specialty team points and just help the team have success.”
With 22 games still remaining, Sislo has already accumulated a career-high 17 goals and 30 points in 43 games. As Head Coach Rick Kowalsky points out, Sislo provides much more than just statistics on the scoresheet and could be key towards a Calder Cup Playoff run.
“If he gets hot it could be a big big bonus for us,” Kowalsky said after Wednesday’s practice at Knickerbacker Ice Arena. “He kills penalties, he’s on the power play, he’s out there for important faceoffs on both ends of the ice. He’s going to be a key guy for us moving forward and is certainly a good sign to see him get on the board and score some goals, especially the way he did.”
Now in his third year, Sislo’s game continues to develop and he has been rewarded for his progress. At the beginning of the season, he was named an assistant captain and on Jan. 3 he made his NHL debut.
“I think the recall to New Jersey was certainly a big boost in his confidence,” Kowalsky said. “He’s a guy that consistently does the little things right and now some pucks are starting to go in.
“Blocking shots, getting pucks in, that stuff has to be consistent and is. That’s why he has a letter. Just the way he carries himself everyday in practice and games is the main reason we did it. But now, you see him step up in big games and that’s the true sign of leadership.”
In 166 career games, Sislo has registered 83 points, backed by 39 goals and 44 assists. His 30 points this season currently rank tied for second on the team.
Reid Boucher, Mike Hoeffel, Cam Janssen, Stefan Matteau, Chris McKelvie, Rod Pelley, Tim Sestito, Mike Sislo, Mattias Tedenby, Scott Timmins, Joe Whitney, David Wohlberg, Darcy Zajac, Kelly Zajac