The Albany Devils fought back against the highly touted Toronto Marlies to force a game seven tonight in Toronto. But would they have it in them to come back from the brink to defeat Toronto and move on to face the Hershey Bears in the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals?
Coach Rick Kowalsky’s team would head into the Ricoh Coliseum with the momentum, but would ultimately fall, 4-3 to the Marlies.
Special teams played an early part in the game when Toronto’s Viktor Loov was called for roughing just 2:20 into the first period.
But it was not the Devils who would capitalize. Connor Brown of the Marlies would score his sixth goal of the playoffs, unassisted, at 2:56, a shorthanded goal. It was 1-0 Toronto.
But in a theme that would repeat throughout the night, Albany would not stay out of it for too long. Just 46 seconds into the second period, Paul Thompson scored from Graham Black and Blake Pietila to tie things up at one.
It would remain tied until 2:41 into the third when the A-Devs would take the lead. Nick Lappin scored his fifth of the Calder Cup Playoffs from Reid Boucher and Jim O’Brien to make it 2-1 Albany.
But, Toronto would not be down long. At 9:07, Kasperi Kapanen made it 2-2 (assist to Justin Holl) to kick off a wild finish to the game.
First, the Marlies’ Connor Carrick scored to make it 3-2 Toronto. He got assists from Kapanen and William Nylander at 12:59.
The A-Devils would tie things up at 15:19 when Thompson scored his second of the game from Marc-Andre Gragnani and Black.
Things looked like they were headed to overtime until, with 3:30 left in the game, Richard Clune scored the game winner (from Nikita Soshnikov and Stuart Percy), ending Albany’s quest for a Calder Cup championship.
Scott Wedgewood made 20 saves on 24 Marlies shots. Toronto’s Antoine Bibeau was equal to 25 of the A-Devils’ 28 shots.
Albany got a lot out of a depleted lineup and nearly battled their way to the next round. As mentioned, with the Hershey Bears defeating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, they will get together with the champions of the North Division, the Marlies, to battle for the Eastern Conference crown.
So, it was a great season for the A-Devs, and congratulations to them on the strides that they made during this AHL season. Here’s to another great year next year and also good luck to the Toronto Marlies as they continue on in the 2016 Calder Cup playoffs.