Albany Devils Rally to Force Game 7

The Albany Devils had just suffered two straight brutal losses at home to fall behind in their AHL North Division Final playoff series three games to two. Heading back north of the border to the Ricoh Coliseum, it just seemed a mere formality that the Toronto Marlies had this thing sewed up.

As an article on mentioned, the A-Devils were without Mike Sislo, Jim O’Brien, Pavel Zacha and Brian O’Neill who have all sustained injuries during this series. They are all a key part of the Devils’ offense and cannot be replaced.

But somebody forgot to tell the Devils about the script. Albany came out swinging and defeated the Marlies 4 to 1 to force a game seven on Monday night in Toronto.

The A-Devils showed they meant business when they scored just 4:24 into the game. Reid Boucher had that goal (with Vojtech Mozik and Seth Helgeson getting the assists) to make it 1-0.

Albany would not wait long to double their lead. Less than a minute later at 5:13, Corbin McPherson netted his first of the playoffs from Rod Pelley to make it 2-0 Devils.

Coming out of the first intermission, Toronto knew that they needed something to get back in the game and that something would come off of the stick of Kasperi Kapanen, as he scored his second of the playoffs from Stuart Percy and Viktor Loov at 10:45.

The A-Devs would get that goal back when game three hero Nick Lappin scored his fourth of the playoffs (assists to Matt Lorito and Boucher) at 14:42 to put Albany up 3-1.

Graham Black would add a goal 8:56 into the third period (with McPherson and Lappin with the helpers) to top the game off 4-1 for the A-Devils.

Lappin (one goal, one assist for two points) would be named the first star of the game as Boucher would be the number two star (also with a goal and an assist on the night). The third star was Albany goalie Scott Wedgewood.

And speaking of Wedgewood, he made 34 saves on 35 shots seen in getting the clutch win. Toronto goaltender Antoine Bibeau saw 28 shots and had 24 saves in taking the loss.

Albany went 0-for-3 on the power play while Toronto was 0-for-5 with the man advantage.

And now looms game seven. The game will be played Monday in Toronto as both teams look to move on to the AHL’s Eastern Conference Final. With so much on the line, can the A-Devs complete the comeback and move on? Or will Toronto, the best team in the AHL in the regular season, move on and continue playing for the Calder Cup? Each team will now get a chance to write their own destiny.

A-Devils Fall to Marlies in Game Five

The Albany Devils AHL North Division Final playoff series with the Toronto Marlies was all knotted up at two games apiece going into game five tonight. The A-Devils knew they were in a must-win situation and that they would be down a defenseman.

Earlier in the day, the word came down from the American Hockey League front office that Dan Kelly would be suspended ten games for an illegal check to the head of a Toronto player in game four. The hit resulted in a match penalty and this is further discipline. The suspension will be served over as many playoff games as the Devils play, effective immediately (tonight against Toronto), and will carry over to next season (or “the next time Kelly is active on an AHL club roster” according to the press release put out by the AHL).

So with that issue aside, the A-Devils would need to focus on the task at hand: winning game five and taking a 3-2 lead in the series, getting them closer to a Calder Cup championship.

Unfortunately for them, that was not to be. The Toronto Marlies came into Times Union Center and played a thorough game, winning 5-1 and going a game up in the best-of-seven series, pushing Albany to the brink of elimination.

The first period passed with no scoring for either team. In the second, Albany got into some penalty trouble, as Joseph Blandisi was called for delay of game at 1:18. Toronto would convert on this power play, with Connor Carrick scoring (assist to Mark Arcobello) to give the Marlies a 1-0 lead at 1:23.

Toronto would go back on the power play when Damon Severson was called for slashing at 5:32. It took the Marlies a little bit longer to convert on this power play. At 6:38, Connor Brown scored off assists from Josh Leivo and Arcobello. It was 2-0 Toronto now.

More scoring in the second would see Nikita Soshnikov beat goaltender Scott Wedgewood at 15:19 (from Richard Clune and Ben Smith). Toronto had tripled their lead, making it 3-0.

Albany would crawl back into it when, at 17:01, Paul Thompson scored his first of the playoffs from Seth Helgeson and Ryan Kujawinski. The A-Devs had cut the lead to 3-1 going into the second intermission.

In the third period, however, Toronto put the game away when Brendan Leipsic scored at 11:09 (assist to Leivo). Leivo would add an empty netter at 17:52 of the third (Arcobello with his third assist of the night on that goal).

Wedgewood, in the loss, made 18 saves on 22 shots faced. Marlies goalie Antoine Bibeau saw 22 Devils shots and made 21 saves in the win.

The series now shifts back to the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto for game six on Saturday with the home team looking to punch their ticket to the AHL’s Eastern Conference finals and the A-Devils looking to force a game seven next Monday also at Toronto.