Hard to believe that we have reached the end of the regular season in the AHL.
But the good news for the Devils is…it’s not over yet.
For the first time since 2010, a Albany/Devil team will be playing in the postseason for a chance at the Calder Cup. And it was a clean sweep for the second straight week to boot. Here we go with another happy recap of the week:
Tuesday: Per the AHL transactions, Curtis Gedig was released from his amateur tryout contract. He joined Albany on April 4th, but never appeared in a game.
Wednesday: It appears the Devils will be looking for another ECHL team to assign players next season, as Elmira became the new affiliate for Buffalo and Rochester.
4/16 at Portland: 3-2 W (SO)
The last road game of the regular season saw the Devils in Lewiston, taking on the Pirates with a playoff berth awaiting them with a win. After a scoreless first, Portland struck early in the second period–23 seconds in–on a Greg Carey goal. Reid Boucher would answer with his 22nd about 6 minutes later. Dan Kelly would put Albany ahead late in the period with his 3rd. But Portland would tie it up with just under 13 minutes left in the third on a power play goal by Lucas Lessio. The game would carry over into overtime, where Albany would manage the only two shots on goal. It was on to the 15th shootout of the season, where Mattias Tedenby and Boucher missed in the first two rounds, and Jordan Szwarz would connect in the 2nd to put Portland up 1-0. In the third round, Keith Kinkaid would stop Andy Miele, then Stefan Matteau would score to tie it up. Kinkaid stopped Brandon Yip in the 4th round, then Mike Sislo, in his first appearance since March 30th, would connect for a 2-1 lead. All Kinkaid had to do was stop Carey in the 5th…and he was successful, officially clinching a playoff spot for the Devils, the first since the River Rats in 2010 when Carolina was the parent club. Kinkaid stopped 20 of 22 saves in regulation/overtime in picking up the win. Kelly Zajac added two assists.
Note: I was not around to watch online, so no idea how lines/defensive pairings went.
4/19 vs. Springfield: 5-2 W
One game to go, and it was all about the positioning, as the Devils played host to the Falcons. Win and they finish no lower than 6th. Lose, and possibly slip into the 8th spot. David Wohlberg made sure the second scenario wasn’t a possibility, as he scored just seven seconds into the game on former Devil goaltender Mike McKenna for a 1-0 lead. Scott Timmins would add his 13th goal 8 minutes later for a two goal lead. Joe Whitney and Brandon Burlon would score 1:18 apart in the second for a 4-0 Devil lead, chasing McKenna in favor of rookie Anton Forsberg. And the goaltender switch seemed to help Springfield at first, as they would cut the lead in half on goals by Jake Hansen and Darryl Boyce in the third. But then they would pull Forsberg rather early, and Harri Pesonen would take advantage and score his 15th to put the Devils back up by 3. Scott Wedgewood would stop 20 of 22 in getting the win, the Devils fifth in a row to close out the regular season. Ben Johnson would notch his first professional point via an assist on Pesonen’s goal. Four other Devils each had assists as well. And all this was despite having half the regulars/NHL callups out of the lineup resting.
Darcy Zajac-Stefan Matteau-David Wohlberg
Mike Sislo-Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito
Reid Boucher-Scott Timmins-Harri Pesonen
Cam Janssen-Ben Johnson-Graham Black
Extra: Chris McKelvie, Mike Hoeffel, Rod Pelley, Mattias Tedenby, Kelly Zajac
Brandon Burlon/Dan Kelly
Alexander Urbom/Reece Scarlett
Raman Hrabarenka/Eric Gelinas
Extra: Seth Helgeson, Adam Larsson, Jon Merrill, Corbin McPherson, Joe Faust
When the smoke finally cleared on Saturday night, the final results:
1. Manchester–105 points (won Atlantic Division)
2. Springfield–100 (won Northeast Division)
3. Binghamton–96 (won East Division)
4. St. John’s–99
That means, Albany will be taking on St. John’s in the first round. More info on that to come.
Obligatory Fight of the Week:
No gloves dropped or faces punched this week.
My Player of the Week:
You know what? For such a great run in the regular season, let’s reward everyone! And I really couldn’t pick just one who stood out in both games this week.
I’ll have final stats in Part 1 of the Season in Review, details to come on that.
The Solar Bears dropped Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup to Cincinnati 4-2 in Florida. Maxime Clermont drew the start and stopped 22 of 26 in the loss. Game 2 is Sunday evening, then it’s off to Ohio for Games 3-5 on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
This Week’s Schedule:
Hot off the presses, the first round schedule is out: The series opens in Albany on Friday evening, followed by Game 2 on Saturday. Games 3-5 will be played in St. John’s on Wednesday, April 30th, Friday, May 2nd, and Saturday, May 3rd (Friday and Saturday if needed).
As far as coverage goes for me blogwise: Monday I will have Part 1 of the Season Review, with all final regular season stats. No individual pregamers, since it’s the same opponent. I will have a full stat pack for the series by Friday afternoon, the plan is for a noontime release. I will do the same for any rounds the Devils make after that. There will be a recap of Games 1 and 2 next Sunday, and a photo gallery as well.
Twitter wise: I will definitely be on hand for Game 1. Saturday may be a little tricky, as I am going to Yankee Stadium (yay free tickets in the terrace level!) for a 1 PM game. I plan on coming straight to the arena when I get home, which if all goes well I’ll miss mostly the first period. Game 3 I won’t be around due to work obligations, but Games 4 and 5 I will do if they are needed.
With that all said…time to start the journey to the Cup!