The Devils AHL affiliate will be moving to the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs for the first time in their history. This comes off of a three games to one defeat of the Utica Comets topped off with a 6-3 win on Thursday night.
Albany defeated Utica in game one, 3-2 at the Times Union Center in the New York capital. They took game two, 2-0, also in Albany. The Comets staved off elimination in game three, winning 2-1 in overtime at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. But the A-Devils finished off the best-of-five Division Semifinals at Utica in the 6-3 romp.
The A-Devils reached some firsts in their ten-year franchise history. According to Kevin Zalaznik of TheAlbanyDevils.com, the game three overtime loss was the first overtime playoff game in Albany Devils history, as the only other one in the franchise’s history came on April 15, 2010 to the Worcester Sharks when the team was still known as the Lowell Devils and located in Lowell, Massachusetts.
This is also the team’s first trip to the North Division Final where they will take on the Toronto Marlies, who swept the Bridgeport Sound Tigers three games to none in the their first round series.
Some familiar names to fans of the New Jersey Devils have popped up among the league leaders this playoff. Reid Boucher is tops on the A-Devils with six points, good enough for third overall in the league in scoring (he is also eighth overall in goals with three). Damon Severson is sixth overall in the league in scoring with five points (he leads the AHL in assists in this young playoff tournament with five). Scott Wedgewood is sixth overall in the league with a 1.93 goals against average and tied for first in wins with three along with three other goaltenders. He ranks ninth overall in the AHL with a .922 save percentage.
The next hurdle for the A-Devils is the Toronto Marlies. The Marlies were number one overall in the AHL in record, with a 54-16-5-1 mark, good for a .750 winning percentage and 114 points. The Devils finished second overall with a 46-20-8-2 record, a .671 percentage and 102 points. This will be a true clash of two of the best teams in the AHL in the regular season. It should make for some good hockey.
In other Devils prospect playoff news, John Quenneville has been lighting up the Western Hockey League playoffs, leading his Brandon Wheat Kings to within a game of the WHL Final. He has 12 goals this postseason, and had a goal and an assist in Brandon’s 4-2 win over the Red Deer Rebels Wednesday to go up three games to one in the WHL Eastern Conference Finals, according to the Devils’ official website via the WHL’s Twitter feed. They also mention that he has five goals and an assist in the first four games of this series and 22 points overall in the playoffs (12 goals and 10 assists). He is second overall in scoring for the WHL playoffs.
The Devils’ website also reports that should Brandon win the WHL and advance to the 2016 Memorial Cup, they will not be facing Mackenzie Blackwood and the Barrie Colts, who lost in the Ontario Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Finals to the Niagara IceDogs. The IceDogs swept the Colts with a 3-2 victory on Wednesday. Niagara and the London Knights will clash in the OHL Finals. Blackwood finished with a 6-5 record in the playoffs, had a 2.71 goals against average and a .915 save percentage and posted one shutout. All of this information comes via the Devils’ website.
With the Albany Devils still active in the Calder Cup playoffs and John Quenneville and the Brandon Wheat Kings still vying for the WHL title, there is still plenty of hockey left to be played within the New Jersey Devils system.