AHL photo

The Albany Devils’ Mattias Tedenby, left, controls the puck as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ Brian Dumoulin moves in during their American Hockey League game at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Sunday night. The game was the first of four that Albany will play at Boardwalk Hall this season, with the next one scheduled for Jan. 13 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Staff photo by Danny Drake

ATLANTIC CITY - Power plays, checking, fighting and a shootout.

The Albany Devils' game at Boardwalk Hall on Sunday featured quite a different brand of hockey from the charity exhibition featuring NHL stars one night earlier at the historic building.

The crowd was different, too - just 2,803 watched the Devils lose 5-4 in a shootout to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The charity Operation Hat Trick drew a sellout of 10,792 on Saturday night.

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Still, the fans who were there Sunday made their voices heard.

"It felt like a Devils game," said Albany's Adam Henrique, a runner-up last season for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's Rookie of the Year. "You saw a lot of jerseys in the crowd, a lot of red, which was nice. … It felt like being at the Rock (the Prudential Center in Newark), and it's nice to see that support.

The Hall was familiar for Albany coach Rick Kowalsky, who played for several teams in the ECHL when the Boardwalk Bullies were in Atlantic City. The Bullies left town in 2005.

Kowalsky said he wouldn't be surprised if Operation Hat Trick hurt the attendance Sunday, but he said he expects more fans when Albany returns to the Hall for three more games this season: Jan. 13 vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers; Jan. 20 vs. the Adirondack Phantoms; and Feb. 24 vs. the Hershey Bears.

"They get a good crowd in here," Kowalsky said. "It's a good atmosphere."

Still, the game was a stark contrast to one night earlier, when the building was rocking for NHL stars including Henrik Lundqvist, Steven Stamkos and Martin Brodeur.

During a quiet moment in the first period Sunday, one fan yelled out, "Where the hell is everybody?"

That fan, Bob Pierowski of Staten Island, N.Y., later laughed about it.

"It's actually a decent crowd," said Pierowski, 58, a New York Islanders fan who has been to several hockey games at the Hall and plans to come to all four Devils games here this season.

The crowd saw an exciting, back-and-forth game. Neither team ever led by more than one goal.

Neither team scored in the shootout until the fifth round, when Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's Jayson Megna beat goalie Keith Kinkaid with a nifty toe-drag move. Megna said he copied the move from Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk.

"We didn't know how many fans to expect on a Sunday, but the fans were good, atmosphere was great, and it was a pleasure to play," Megna said.

The building was at its loudest when Albany's Tim Sestito, older brother of the Philadelphia Flyers' Tom Sestito, dropped the gloves and exchanged punches with the Penguins' Bobby Farnham.

Mays Landing resident Brian Mullery, a former Bullies season-ticket holder, said he chose to go to this game instead of Saturday's exhibition.

"I knew (the charity game) was going to be like a public skating session - no intensity," said Mullery, 47. "This game means something."

Egg Harbor Township's Ray Glanville, another former Bullies season-ticket holder, attended both games and wore his Bullies jersey.

"I love having hockey back here," Glanville said.

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