December 17, 2013

AHL Journal: Whitney the latest local to shine

By Mike Miccoli

Reading, Mass., native Joe Whitney is lighting it up this year for the Albany Devils, joining fellow Boston College alum Brian Gibbons (Braintree, Mass.) in finding some AHL success. (Albany Devils photo) 

After Brian Gibbons (Braintree, Mass.) got his shot in the NHL following an impressive start with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, another Massachusetts native is making a strong case to be next. It just so happens that they have quite a bit in common.

Joe Whitney (Reading, Mass.) of the Albany Devils is quietly becoming a point-per-game player in the AHL, especially after his two goals and three assists this past week. Whitney's offensive production has put him sixth amongst all AHL players with 10 goals and 18 assists for 28 points. He has officially passed Gibbons as the most offensively productive New England talent in the AHL, though both players remain in the top 10.

In fact, you might say Whitney's play is a big reason why the Albany Devils have won six straight games. His 28 points in 26 games have him leading the team with recently recalled Reid Boucher second with 17 points. It's similar to Gibbons' production earlier in the year with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Whitney and Gibbons are both products of Boston College, graduating in 2011. Whitney finished his collegiate career with 40 goals and 102 assists in 161 games and, like Gibbons, went undrafted. While both Gibbons and Whitney have experienced success in the AHL, only Gibbons has been called up to the NHL. If Whitney continues to follow in Gibbons' footsteps in the AHL, he might soon be able to match his fellow former Eagle on that count, too.

News and Notes

-    When Martin Jones was recalled by the Los Angeles Kings a few weeks ago, there was a question mark around the Manchester Monarchs' goaltending after they lost their 9-2-2 starter to their NHL parent club. But Jones' replacement, Jean-Francois Berube, has been lights out for the Monarchs, continuing his dominance in net this weekend with three straight wins. Berube only allowed five goals in three consecutive starts this weekend, helping the Monarchs tighten their lead in the Atlantic Division and atop the Eastern Conference.

-    Andy Miele's five-point game on Saturday night helped the Portland Pirates power through the Worcester Sharks on Saturday night. Miele scored a hat trick and added two assists for the Pirates, who have been impressive of late, picking up points in each of their last five games. Miele continues to be one of Portland's best players, now that Gilbert Brule and Jordan Szwarz are playing up with the Phoenix Coyotes.

-    Just how much were the Bridgeport Sound Tigers relying on the offensive production of Ryan Strome during his torrid streak? Since Strome was recalled earlier this week by the New York Islanders, the Sound Tigers offense has gone silent, scoring four goals in four games. Now that the AHL leading scorer isn't there to help them string together wins, someone must step up and put together points for Bridgeport to start winning games again.

The Week Ahead

Friday, December 20:

Bridgeport Sound Tigers @ Hartford Wolfpack (7 p.m.)

Portland Pirates @ Manchester Monarchs (7 p.m.)

Springfield Falcons @ Providence Bruins (7:05 p.m.)

Worcester Sharks @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (7:05 p.m.)

Saturday, December 21:

Manchester Monarchs @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers (7 p.m.)

Springfield Falcons @ Hartford Wolfpack (7 p.m.)

Worcester Sharks @ Hershey Bears (7 p.m.)

Providence Bruins @ Portland Pirates (7 p.m.)

Sunday, December 22:

Albany Devils @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3 p.m.)

Worcester Sharks @ Hershey Bears (5 p.m.)

Twitter: @MikeMiccoli