Albany moves past bad loss, prepares for Adirondack
The Albany Devils didn’t look very good in Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to Springfield, but coach Rick Kowalsky said on the tape, it didn’t look quite as bad as in real time.
“You watch it, and we were OK through, basically, half the game,” he said Thursday after practice. “Like I said to the guys this morning, now that I kind of calmed down, don’t accept being OK. Obviously, the guys aren’t happy with the way they played, and it was a tough night, with the exception of the third goal, which was just soft play by everybody involved on the ice. Some bounces and some plays that popped out front for them. We just, unfortunately, got in trouble there and never got out of it.”
The third Springfield goal was scored during four-on-four play when Scott Howes walked the puck out of the corner, behind the Albany goal — and between at least three Devils — and tucked it away to re-establish a two-goal lead, 3-1, at 14:27 in the second period.
The Falcons’ fourth goal was smacked in by Tomas Kubalik from a hard angle on the right side. He sent it over goalie Jeff Frazee and off the bottom of the crossbar. It was close enough to warrant a video review, but it was ruled a goal.
Kowalsky said he was not given a look at the overhead video of the goal, but he is familiar with the quality of the video feed, having tested it out after a practice.
“I thought, just from the sound of it [the goal], that it was in. But I have seen what it looks like [the overhead view], just so I know what they’re looking at,” he said. “It’s a pretty clear feed. I’ve gone underneath there on an off day and had our guy run it. We had a shootout in practice one day, and there was actually one that Frazee covered, and I said ‘Oh, this will be a good one to look at,’ and we did. It’s a very clear, good angle, so I’m confident in the decision they made.”
The Devils will play the Adirondack Phantoms twice this weekend, first in Glens Falls on Friday night at 7, then in Albany on Saturday afternoon at 2.
The Northway Rivalry isn’t as much of a rivalry right now, with Albany owning a 4-1-0-1 record against Adirondack halfway through their season series of 12 games. Still, they are two Northeast Division games that both teams are eyeing for crucial standings points.
“We’re two teams that our desperate for points,” Kowalsky said. “This is my third year hear, and we’ve had some heated rivalries with them, but I think you’ve got a different coach in place there and this being a unique year, I think it’s more about teams needing the points and guys wanting to finish strong before we head to the break. And they’re important points; they’re division points. I think the rivalry will always add a little something to it, but I think where it’s been in the past is not where it is now.”
By the end of Saturday’s game, the two teams will have played four times in nine days. They will not meet again until Feb. 15. They will play twice in March and close the season against each other in Albany on April 21.
Kowalsky on RW Mike Sislo — taking advantage of personnel changes; developing into special teams asset; adjusting from college game:
“He’s had a tough year and was one of those guys that got boxed out of the lineup because he didn’t play well, then he got back in and was better. He’s only got one goal to show for it, but he’s a guy we used on the power play last year. Penalty kill, to be honest with you, we started to use him toward the end of the season. He’s got good instinct and he’s got great speed. He’s a good skater, and he’s been able to use that defensively. So he’s a guy we slowly worked into more penalty kill time this year because we had the luxury of doing that, because we had the depth of our penalty killers with Gionta, Josefson and Henrique at the beginning of the year. Now he’s a guy that’s definitely one of our top four penalty killers, and on the power play, he’s got a heck of a shot. He’s just got to find a way to find room to get it off and put it in the net.
“I think he’s still adjusting from the college game a little bit, as far as gaps and defensemen’s sticks. I think sometimes he hangs onto it a little long and it gets blocked or it gets tipped. He’s got a quick release, he can release in stride. He’s a guy, if we can get him going and putting some pucks in the net — last night was a big goal at that point in the game — he’s a guy that’s going to get more minutes with the changes in the lineup, and a guy that can, potentially, play in all situations for us.”
RW Scott Parse (hip) and LW Chad Wiseman (lower body) are both available this weekend.
“They’re going to be options on the weekend, and we’re most likely looking at them for Saturday,” Kowalsky said. “Whether we use one or both, we don’t know, because it’s going to be one game and done. But they’ve both been cleared to play. It’s just [been] a matter of — with our travel on the weekend — not having a lot of quality practice time with our schedule.”
C David Wohlberg (lower body) is out for the weekend.