Yes Albany, you still have an AHL team. The road tripping Albany Devils finally return to Times Union Center, right in time for some Thanksgiving home cooking and a four-game homestand. The club has been up to quite a bit while busing it around AHL rinks, so let’s get you reacquainted.
Through 14 contests, Albany is off to its best start in franchise history (8-3-3-0) eclipsing last year’s opening mark of 7-3-1-3. Unlike last season, the Devils have carried their strong play into November. Dating back to their last home game November 1, against the Toronto Marlies, the A-Devils have registered a point in six consecutive contests.
On their latest road swing, the Devils went 4-0-1-0, vaulting them to second place in the North Division with 19 points. Their plus-ten goal differential (40-30) was boosted in part by three consecutive four-goal outbursts at Syracuse, Hartford and Providence.
Lighting up the score sheet have been a group of Devils old and new. Leading the club in scoring is veteran Mike Sislo, posting eight tallies and 13 points. Sislo also gives the power play punch with five markers on the campaign. Matt Lorito, who impressed with a small sample size at the end of last season, is second with 12 points and leads the club with nine helpers. Rookie Joseph Blandisi, who impressed many in training camp, has been a thorn in the side of the opposition, registering five goals, eleven points and topping the squad with 31 penalty minutes.
— Albany Devils (@AlbanyDevils) November 17, 2015
Last week Blandisi notched a pair of goals, including a game-winning tally in overtime at the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Reid Boucher and his eight points across nine games, potted a pair at Providence. Rookie blueliner Vojtech Mozik chipped in with four points in three games last week, including three helpers at the B’s. In net, Yann Danis has enjoyed a stellar return to the Devils organization, recording seven victories thus far, while ranking fifth in goals-against average (1.97) and ninth in save percentage (.926). Albany’s 30 goals allowed are fewest in the North Divison.
— Albany Devils (@AlbanyDevils) November 8, 2015
The A-Devils are also getting it done on special teams.
In eleven of their 14 contests, Albany has registered a goal with the extra attacker. Their 24.6% conversion rate ranks third in the AHL. Meanwhile, their penalty kill unit ranks second in the AHL at 90.9%, allowing only six goals.
On the horizon for the Devils four-game homestand are the Springfield Falcons, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Binghamton Senators. This season the Devils are 0-0-1-0 against Springfield, 0-1-0-0 against Bridgeport, 1-1-0-0 facing Binghamton and have yet to play Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
At home on the campaign, Albany sports a .700 winning percentage, with a record of 3-1-1-0. During that stretch, the Devils have outscored opponents by a margin of 17-9.
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.