A-Devils Clinch Spot in Calder Cup Playoffs

The Albany Devils have qualified for the AHL’s Calder Cup playoffs with a 6-3 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack last night at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York. The A-Devils had been struggling of late, but with an influx from the NHL club, they were able to get over the hump and get into the postseason tournament.

You can see Devils with NHL experience up and down the scoresheet. This is a good thing not only for Albany, but also for New Jersey, as the young Devils will gain some great experience by participating in high-pressure situations like a playoff series.

In the clinching game, John Gilmour got the Wolf Pack – who are the Rangers’ AHL affiliate – on the board first at 1:46 of the first period. It took until 13:52 when Vojtech Mozik scored his tenth of the season in the power play (with assists from Brian Gibbons and Karl Stollery) for the A-Devils to tie things up.

The second period saw Hartford regain the lead at 3:20 when Marek Hrivik put them up 2-1. But once Kevin Rooney tied the game shorthanded and unassisted at 6:58, the A-Devils took over the game. John Quenneville scored on the power play from Jacob MacDonald and Carter Camper at 17:08 to give Albany a lead they would not relinquish.

In the third period, Miles Wood scored at 3:06 from Blake Coleman and MacDonald. MacDonald scored at 6:00 from Wood and Coleman and Ben Thomson ended the scoring for Albany at 13:55 with an assist to Shane Harper.

Nicklas Jensen would add his 30th of the year for Hartford to make the final 6-3 with one second remaining in the game.

On the evening, the Devils were 2-for-5 on the power play while the Wolf Pack were 1-for-7 (the third period was particularly penalty-filled).

MacDonald was named the game’s first star with a goal and two assists, Wood was the second star with a goal and an assist and Quenneville was the third star with a goal.

In goal, Mackenzie Blackwood made 23 saves on 26 Hartford shots for the A-Devils while for the Wolf Pack; Magnus Hellberg had 25 stops on 31 shots against.

Albany will finish up their AHL regular season on the weekend, as they play at the Rochester Americans on Friday and are home to the Americans on Saturday.

Congratulations to the Albany Devils and head coach Rick Kowalsky, as well as assistant coach Sergei Brylin, as they embark on the 2017 Calder Cup playoffs.

In other Devils prospect news, Yegor Rykov and SKA St. Petersburg defeated Metallurg Matnitogorsk to take a two games to one series lead in the KHL’s Gagarin Cup Finals.

SKA won 2-1 in double overtime at the Ice Palace in Saint Petersburg to take the edge, with Evgeny Dadonov scoring in the second OT period. Rykov had only 5:17 of ice time on six shifts over the game.

Game four comes on April 14 from Saint Petersburg at the Ice Palace.

Speers Nets Assist as Soo Takes Series Lead over Flint

Blake Speers had an assist on the game winning goal in game four as the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds took a three games to one series lead over the Flint Firebirds. The Greyhounds won 5-2 at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint.

Speers had the primary assist on Boris Katchouk’s goal just 17 seconds into the second period to make it 3-0 at the time. Bobby MacIntyre had the secondary assist on the goal. Morgan Frost, Otto Makinen, David Miller and MacIntyre also scored for Sault Ste. Marie to give the Greyhounds a commanding lead in their best-of-seven series.

Everett Clark and Kole Sherwood had the goals for the Firebirds. Hayden Verbeek – nephew of Devils alumni Pat Verbeek – assisted on Miller’s goal at 2:35 along with Jack Kopacka to give the Greyhounds a 4-0 lead at the time.

Game five of this opening round OHL playoff series takes place on March 31 from the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.

Another Devils prospect is also having some playoff success on another continent. Yegor Rykov, currently playing for SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League has advanced to the Gagarin Cup Finals and will play for the top trophy in Russian hockey.

SKA completed a sweep of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in their best-of-seven Western Conference Final earlier today at Arena 2000 in Yaroslavl.

Former Devil Ilya Kovalchuk also, of course, plays for SKA St. Petersburg while another former Devil, Andrei Loktionov is a member of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. SKA will meet the winners of the Eastern Conference Final, currently ongoing between Ak Bars Kazan and Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

The KHL’s Gagarin Cup Finals begin early next month.