The 2014-15 American Hockey League campaign will mark the fifth season of Albany Devils hockey at the Times Union Center and the eighteenth for a New Jersey Devils affiliate at the downtown arena. For the third consecutive season, the A-Devils will call the Eastern Conference Northeast Division home. There will be a slight change in divisional opponents, out are the Adirondack (now Lehigh Valley) Phantoms, in are the Syracuse Crunch, while the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Hartford Wolf Pack and Springfield Falcons remain.
Albany, which went a franchise best 40-23-5-8 (93 points) in 2013-14, will play a 76-game regular season slate. Of those 38 home contests, 35 will be played in Albany, two at Atlantic City and one for the first time ever in Newark. Furthermore, the other 38 tilts will come on the road. Albany will face the Phantoms in those two Boardwalk Hall contests and will take on the Sound Tigers at Prudential Center. One has to wonder how the players and Albany fans alike will feel again about the Atlantic City games but the game at “The Rock,” should be a treat.
As they did last season, the Devils will begin their quest to the Calder Cup on the road. On October 11, Albany will get it started against the newly minted Adirondack Flames. Apparently the AHL schedule maker went from one extreme to another, as Albany and Adirondack will only meet twice, as opposed to the dozen or so times the Devils and Phantoms had met in the past few years. Although the Flames are in the Western Conference, one would think the two would play a few more times but I digress. Following their second road game at Bridgeport, Albany plays its home opener against the aforementioned Sound Tigers, on October 18.
— Albany Devils (@AlbanyDevils) August 27, 2014
Games to make a face off circle on your calendar:
October 18, Bridgeport Sound Tigers:
Last season the Devils won their first home opener since returning to Albany in 2010, with a 3-2 victory over the Utica Comets. This season they’ll face the division foe Sound Tigers. Last year the Devils tallied a franchise record of eight goals in a game against Bridgeport.
October 25, Hartford Wolf Pack:
The second of a home-and-home weekend duel. It’s always fun and a little rowdy to see and hear the back and forth between fans wearing the respective sweaters of the regional parent club rivals. Albany is on the Hudson after all.
November 29, Utica Comets:
It’s a shame these two don’t play in the same division or conference, because one wouldn’t have known it by watching their tilts last season. Things got a little chippy between the new club in Utica and the one that once called it home. Fans are known to travel well for this one too.
December 2, Springfield Falcons:
For the first time in the 2014-15 campaign, the twice defending Northeast Division champion Falcons soar into the Capital District. In their final match-up of the 2013-14 season, the Devils wrapped up the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, with a 5-2 win in their regular season home finale.
December 7, Adirondack Flames:
Blink and you’ll miss it. This will be the lone time the I-87 (rivals?) rivals will make acquaintance in Albany. Perhaps in the future these two will meet with more frequency, although as the series with the Phantoms proved, geography alone makes not a rivalry. I’m willing to bet that no one will confuse this one with the Adirondack Red Wings and Albany River Rats days of yore.
January 30, St. John’s IceCaps:
This marks the first time the two clubs will meet since their first round playoff bout last spring. St. John’s took that best-of-five, three games to one and skated all the way to the Calder Cup Finals, before falling in five to the Texas Stars. The last time they met in Albany for Game 2, the Devils doubled up the IceCaps, 4-2. It will be the first of two consecutive weekend games.
This season Albany will also play 14 Eastern Conference opponents (Phantoms, Binghamton Senators, Sound Tigers, Wolf Pack, Hershey Bears, Manchester Monarchs, Norfolk Admirals, Portland Pirates, Providence Bruins, Falcons, Crunch, St. John’s IceCaps, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Worcester Sharks) and two Western Conference opponents (Comets, Flames). Additionally, the Bears will be back at the arena formerly known as the Knickerbocker. However, the Phantoms and most disappointingly once again the Rochester Americans will not be making a trip to Albany.
Albany’s longest home-stand (a six pack), spans from March 14 to March 22. Conversely the Devils longest road trip encompasses five games and goes from February 20 to February 28.
The Devils home/road games by month break down as such: October (3/3), November (8/6), December (6/5), January (8/7), February (2/8), March (7/4), April (4/5).
Albany’s home/road games by day, looks like this: Sunday (8/4), Monday (zero), Tuesday (3/0), Wednesday (7/2), Thursday (0/2), Friday (8/17) Saturday (12/13).
— Albany Devils (@AlbanyDevils) August 27, 2014
This season will mark the 79th 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.