ALBANY, NY — During Round One, the Albany Devils travel included a 95 mile trip to Utica for Games 3 and 4. However in Round Two, things won’t be so easy. Other than their flights to and from St. John’s, Toronto is the furthest the Devils have to travel for away games.
Since the North Division Final is following a 2-3-2 format, Albany will be in Canada for the start and finish of the series, which means a lot of bus time.
“It’s a good thing if you took out the seven hour bus ride, other than that it’s great,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky regarding the format. “The travel in a long series like this is going to come into play. You have to figure out how and when is the best situation to travel from city to city. Two of the days after a travel day are afternoon games, which adds another element of fatigue and difficulty. The every other day, I don’t have a problem with its more so just the travel.”
The Devils practiced Monday morning before boarding their bus to Canada. The team will practice Tuesday and Thursday afternoons with games on Wednesday and Friday. The team will make its way back to Albany and practice late Saturday and play Sunday.
The excessive travel and limited ice time will change the way Albany approaches its practices.
“I think moving forward when you add the travel, practices on those days in between games are a matter of just getting the blood flowing,” Kowalsky said. “When you take the afternoon games, your morning skate is really the game before. Once you get into those situations, the most important thing is rest.”
The Devils are making their third trip to Toronto this season. The team played back-to-back games on Oct. 17 and 18 and one contest on May 1. Albany was 1-1-1-0 at Ricoh Coliseum this season.