Next man up. The rally cry has served the Albany Devils well in January and heading into the American Hockey League All-Star break. Callups of Luke Gazdic, Steven Santini, Seth Helgeson, Karl Stollery and Blake Coleman, along with injuries to Joseph Blandisi, John Quenneville, Jan Mandat and Peter Straka, haven’t deterred the Devils.
At the break, the top affiliate of the New Jersey Devils has an overall ledger of 25-17-1-1 and their 52 points and .591 win percentage place them second behind the Syracuse Crunch in the North Division. The A-Devils posted a mark of 7-4-1-0 in January.
In their most dominating victory of the month, the Devils cruised to a 6-2 win over the St. John’s IceCaps on Jan. 4. Ahead 1-0 through one period, a five-goal surge sparked the Devils to their fourth consecutive victory. Five of their six goals came against IceCaps All-Star goalie Charlie Lindgren. Five Devils players, including Coleman, Brian Gibbons, Blake Pietila, Carter Camper and Ben Sexton registered multiple points.
Forwards Blandisi and Quenneville and defenseman Vojtech Mozik will represent the Devils in Allentown. The rookie Quenneville leads the squad with 19 assists and 29 points. Blandisi is tied for fourth on the club with 23 points. Mozik’s six tallies and plus-13 rating lead all Devils defensemen.
— Albany Devils (@AlbanyDevils) January 26, 2017
Six of Sexton’s 13 tallies came in January. The Devils forward recorded three multiple-point games. On Jan. 11, Sexton netted the 3-2 overtime winner at Springfield.
— Albany Devils (@AlbanyDevils) January 12, 2017
Since his return to the lineup, the Devils have been happy campers. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. In January, Camper dished out eight helpers. The Miami University product has provided veteran clout on a young roster.
The rookie forward out of Providence College has carved out a nice campaign with eight goals. Rooney always hustles and always seems to be involved in the action. On Jan. 18, No. 21 netted a 3-2 overtime winner against the division leading Crunch.
The former Oshawa Generals goalie has emerged as the consensus No. 1 backstop for the Devils. In January, the Devils netminder has only yielded three goals on two occasions. Among AHL leaders, Appleby ranks first with a 2.05 goals-against average and ninth with a .920 save percentage.
— Albany Devils (@AlbanyDevils) January 24, 2017
On the campaign, the Devils are 14-6-1-0 at Times Union Center. Their home win percentage of .690 is second in the North Division. In January, the Devils finished 3-1-1-0 on home ice.
Racking up 365 penalty minutes, the Devils are well versed in skating shorthanded. Their penalty kill has produced four shorthanded goals this season. On the year the Devils’ 84.5% penalty kill rates fifth in the league.
Through 23 road contests, the Devils are 11-11-0-1. Away from Albany, the team went 4-3-0-0 in January. The Devils goal differential is minus-12 in other AHL barns.
A Jan. 7 tilt at the Lehigh Valley Phantoms had the Devils blanked for the only time during the month. The 2-0 loss marked the first time the Devils lost to the Phantoms since the Philadelphia Flyers shifted their franchise from Glens Falls. The Devils couldn’t generate any offense in this game, sporting an 0-for-7 with the extra attacker.
Coming out of the All-Star break the Devils will find a loaded schedule in February. They play 13 contests with seven at home and six on the road. In Albany, the Devils start out the month against the division-leading Crunch and the Phantoms make their first visit to Times Union Center. After traveling to Binghamton and hosting Providence, the Devils embark on a three-game road trip to Rochester and two in Toronto.
Following the road swing, the Devils return home for a four-game homestand against the Crunch, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Utica Comets. Rounding out the month the Devils have two contests against the IceCaps.
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.