A-Devils Win Game One, 3-0

The Albany Devils kicked off the 2017 AHL Calder Cup playoffs at home at the Times Union Center with a 3-0 win over the Toronto Marlies in game one of their first round series.

Ben Thomson scored at 16:22 of the first (assist to Seth Helgeson), John Quenneville scored unassisted on the power play at 13:03 of the second period and Brian Gibbons scored unassisted into an empty net at 19:23 of the third period to round out the scoring for the first matchup.

In goal, Mackenzie Blackwood made 27 stops on 27 shots faced. He was named the game’s first star. Thomson was the second while Quenneville was the third, each with a goal. Quenneville also led the team with four shots on goal.

Toronto’s Garret Sparks made 20 saves on 22 A-Devils shots.

On the power play, the Marlies were 0-for-4 while the Devils were 1-for-5 with three shots on goal.

Game two takes place on Saturday from Albany, New York with a 5 PM puck drop.

Over in the OHL, the Mississauga Steelheads began their third round series against the Peterborough Petes. This one was a little bit closer, with Mississauga taking the game 5-3.

Michael McLeod had four points, including a goal and three assists in being named the game’s first star.

Owen Tippett got the scoring started in the only goal that McLeod did not factor into at 12:57 of the first period. Steven Lorentz and Nikita Korostelev (on the power play) would put Peterborough up 2-1 in a ten minute span early to midway through the second period.

But Spencer Watson scored at 14:08 of the second and from then it was the Steelheads’ game to lose. McLeod had an assist there and an assist on his brother, Ryan’s power play goal at 19:07 of the second.

In the third period, Semyon Der-Arguchintsev briefly tied the game up at three for the Petes. But Watson scored the game winner at 12:23 with assists to both McLeod brothers.

Michael then scored the insurance goal to put Mississauga up 5-3 unassisted at 13:42 of the third period.

In goal, Matthew Mancina made 27 saves on 30 shots faced while the Petes’ Dylan Wells made 27 saves on 32 shots.

Game two of this series takes place on April 22 as well. The game will be played at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.

In one final bit of news, the Devils signed a player today from the KHL’s Moscow Spartak to an entry level deal.

Defenseman Yaroslav Dyblenko signed a two year entry-level deal today as the announcement was made by Ray Shero. He had four goals and seven assists for 11 points to go with 51 penalty minutes in 51 games last season according to the Devils’ press release on the matter. Over his KHL career, he has 12 goals, 27 assists, 39 points and 150 penalty minutes all in 180 games.

He is a 23-year-old native of Surgut, Russia and shoots from the left side. He is 6-foot, 1-inch tall and 205 pounds. The press release mentions that he won a bronze medal at the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia; was a member of the Russian Selects team that played in (and won) the 2012 Subway Super Series tournament; was the KHL’s Rookie of the Month for October 2013; and was invited to Team Russia’s training camp for the 2016 World Championships.

That is quite a resume, hopefully he pans out as more and more NHL teams begin to look at the KHL as a feeder league to try to get prospects at a decent price.

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.