Less than one week before the belated start to the NHL season, fans got a chance to whet their appetite for hockey Sunday as the Albany Devils hosted the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in an American Hockey League game at Boardwalk Hall.

The game featured fewer NHL-caliber players than the last Devils game at the Hall. In November, several locked-out players on entry-level contracts were playing for the Devils and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Those players now are in NHL training camps after the end of the 113-day lockout.

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Still, several fans Sunday said the end of the lockout made this game more appealing.

"I just love hockey, you know what I mean?" said Josh Gotwals, a 37-year-old Margate resident.

The Devils lost 5-4 Sunday. They will return to the Hall two more times this season - next Sunday against the Adirondack Phantoms and Feb. 24 against the Hershey Bears.

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