The 2013-14 American Hockey League campaign will mark the fourth season of Albany Devils hockey at the Times Union Center and the seventeenth for a New Jersey Devils affiliate at the downtown arena. As they did in 2012-13, the Devils will play in the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference, along with the Adirondack Phantoms, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Hartford Wolf Pack and Springfield Falcons.
For the first time since the 2009-10 season, the Devils will begin their run to a Calder Cup on the road, at Hartford, on October 6. The Devils home opener has them facing off against the AHL newcomer Utica Comets, on October 12. One may recall that the Devils AHL affiliate played in Utica from 1987-1993.
Games to make a face off circle on your calendar:
October 12, Utica Comets:
The home opener. As mentioned above, the Devils called Utica home from 1987-1993. It is also a home coming of sorts for Comets Head Coach Travis Green, who skated for the AHL Capital District Islanders, from 1990-1993. Plus, this game could potentially pit brothers Tim and Tom Sestito against one another. This carnation of the Devils will be looking for their first victory in a home opener, since returning to Albany, they lost their last three to Adirondack, Springfield and Manchester respectively.
October 14, Adirondack Phantoms:
The first of 12 of what will be the last season for the two as I-87 Northway rivals. The Phantoms are slated to move to Allentown next year. In 2012-13, the Devils took the season series from the Phantoms and will look to keep the Cup in Albany. Unless perhaps Barry Melrose and Steve Levy make another play for a team at the Glens Falls Civic Center, the building could go dark at season’s end, hopefully not.
December 4, Springfield Falcons:
For the first time in the 2013-14 season, the defending Northeast Division champions come to Albany. Last year, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault was named an AHL First Team All Star, while Curtis McElhinney was named an AHL Second Team All Star for the Falcons. The somewhat surprising Falcons racked up 99 points and qualified for the post season for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign, when they were guided by Marty McSorley.
March 15, Hartford Wolf Pack:
Welcome back Wolf Pack! Following a brief hiatus of sorts, the artists formerly known as the Whale, are back in the AHL. This contest will mark the eighth and final tilt of the season for the division rivals, whose parent clubs are Hudson River rivals. Last April, Albany all but put a halt to Connecticut’s playoff aspirations, with a 3-2 victory at the Times Union Center.
April 13, Syracuse Crunch:
The two-time (Norfolk 2011-12 and Syracuse 2012-13) defending Eastern Conference champion affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, make their final appearance of the year at the Times Union Center. Albany and Syracuse tend to make a habit of winning in the barn of the opposition, in this series. This game will be the third to last contest for Albany, so if they need the points in a tight playoff race, this could be the deciding hurdle.
This season Albany will also play 13 Eastern Conference opponents (Phantoms, Binghamton Senators, Sound Tigers, Wolf Pack, Hershey Bears, Manchester Monarchs, Norfolk Admirals, Portland Pirates, Providence Bruins, Falcons, Syracuse Crunch, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Worcester Sharks) and one Western Conference opponent (Comets). The Devils do not travel north of the border and most surprisingly they do not play the Rochester Americans.
As they did last year, the A-Devils will play four “home contests” at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Those games include a pair against both the Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Within the division the Devils will face the Adirondack Phantoms 12-times, Bridgeport Sound Tigers ten-times, Hartford Wolf Pack and Springfield Falcons eight-times apiece.
Albany’s longest home-stand (a quartet), spans from October 25 to November 1. Conversely the Devils longest road trip encompasses five games and goes from March 2 to March 14.
The Devils home/road games by month break down as such: October (5/4), November (6/7), December (5/4), January (7/6), February (4/6), March (7/7), April (4/4).
Albany’s home/road games by day, looks like this: Sunday (7/9), Monday (2 home games), Tuesday (1/1), Wednesday (4/1), Thursday (zero), Friday (9/13) Saturday (15/13).
This season will mark the 78th year of operation for the American Hockey League.
Michael Gwizdala covers the New York Islanders for The Hockey Writers. Michael is also an Associate Producer at WNYT NewsChannel 13. Additionally, Michael was once a Media Relations intern for the AHL Albany River Rats. Michael is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.