Michael Gwizdala The Hockey Writers
Albany Devils March To Calder Cup Playoffs
The Albany Devils are going to the 2015-16 Calder Cup Playoffs. The club officially clinched its spot with a 3-0 victory against the Hartford Wolf Pack. Their victory capped off the March portion of the docket, which saw the squad go 7-4-0-2. They also reached the 40 win and 90 point plateau, not too shabby considering the rash of call-ups and injuries of late.
This marks the second time in three years the A-Devils have qualified for the postseason. Between two franchises in Albany, the AHL Devils have now made the playoffs on nine occasions since 1993. They’ll be looking to win their first playoff series since sweeping the Hamilton Bulldogs (4-0) as the Albany River Rats in 1997-98.
With nine contests remaining in April, Albany stands at 40-17-8-2 (90 points) and sports a .672 winning percentage. If the Calder Cup Playoffs began today, Albany would have home ice advantage in the first round and host the Portland Pirates.
Congratulations to the @AlbanyDevils who've punched their ticket to the 2016 #CalderCup playoffs! pic.twitter.com/lSqdpQVJQg
— AHL (@TheAHL) March 30, 2016
Albany sports an AHL best 24-5-3-1 record at home. Conversely, the Devils are 16-12-5-1 on the road. On the power play, the A-Devils rank tied for seventh (19.4%) in the league with the extra attacker. The A-Devils are even stronger short-handed, ranking second (88.1%) in the league on the penalty kill.
Most Valuable Player – Jim O’Brien (C)
In March, O’Brien topped the club with seven goals, seven helpers and 14 points. O’Brien had a pair of two-goal outings against the Utica Comets and a three assist effort at the Binghamton Senators. O’Brien registered a plus-eight rating. Additionally, O’Brien potted two short-handed tallies. Plus, O’Brien netted a game-winner at Utica.
Best Defenseman – Corbin McPherson (D)
During March, McPherson was a steadying influence on the A-Devils blue line. Offensively, McPherson netted one goal at the Hershey Bears and recorded two assists. McPherson was a plus-three, recording 17 shots and six penalty minutes.
Top Rookie – Nick Lappin (RW)
Although Matt Lorito and Max Novak both registered eight points apiece, I’m giving Lappin the nod. The Brown University product joined the club as the likes of Mike Sislo and Blake Pietila were summoned to New Jersey. Before an injury knocked him out of the lineup, Lappin gave the team a jolt. Across six contests, Lappin netted three goals and chipped in a pair of helpers, while posting a plus-three rating. Lappin’s tally against the Toronto Marlies, proved to be the game-winning goal.
[RECAP] Nick Lappin scored with 39.5 seconds remaining to help the #ADevils to a 3-2 win ? https://t.co/miIZueUyWc pic.twitter.com/SDb2JEQY3Y
— Albany Devils (@AlbanyDevils) March 13, 2016
Top Goalie – Scott Wedgewood (G)
While Yann Danis capped off the month with a shutout, Wedgewood gets the honors here. This doesn’t include Wedgewood’s two victories and shutout with New Jersey but his Albany stats are impressive nonetheless. When Cory Schneider went down, Danis was summoned to the parent club and Wedgewood came back when the A-Devils were down to Ken Appleby and the ghost of Jeff Frazee. To his credit, Appleby played well in his outings too. Wedgewood played in four contests, going 3-0-0-1, with a goals-against average of 1.72 and a .917 save percentage.
Scott Wedgewood earned his first career shutout as the Devils top the Penguins. https://t.co/zrFNGJ7A1z pic.twitter.com/Ki1yIJ28pt
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 25, 2016
Best Game – March 13, 3-2 Win Against Toronto
Worst Game – March 1, 4-0 loss at Toronto
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