Calder Cup Finals – Game 5: Monarchs exit AHL as Champions

MONARCHS EXIT AHL AS CHAMPIONS UTICA, NY – The Manchester Monarchs were the AHL’s best team all season long and finally reached the pinnacle of success tonight in winning the Calder Cup over the Utica Comets in five games. Too fast, too tough, too good. These could be words used to describe the Monarchs in the regular season and post season as divisional foes St. John’s, Portland, Worcester and Providence all learned in the regular season and Portland, Wilkes-Barre / Scranton, Hartford and Utica learned in the postseason. Manchester will soon come home to a celebration for their fans and when the confetti and noisemakers are cleaned up, the team will re-locate about 3,000 miles West and set up operations in Ontario, California with four … Continue reading

Calder Cup Finals – Game 4: Monarchs 1 Win away from Calder Cup after 6-3 win

MONARCHS 1 WIN AWAY FROM CALDER CUP AFTER 6-3 WIN UTICA, NY – Coming into Game 4, given the state of affairs that the Manchester Monarchs were in having lost Game 3 without the AHL MVP and losing their workhorse goaltender to injury, doubt started to creep in. Were the AHL’s regular season champions in trouble? Was Utica back in the series? The answer was a resounding no. Manchester takes Game 4 with an impressive 6-3 win and lead the best of seven series three games to one and can win the Calder Cup Saturday. Lineup notes…. Brian O’Neill was back from his injury from Game 1 that forced him out of Game 2. Steve Mastalerz backed up Partik Bartosak with J-F Berube still out … Continue reading

Calder Cup Finals – Game 2: No ‘Dowd’ about it, Monarchs win in OT, 2-1

No ‘Dowd’ about it, Monarchs win in OT, 2-1 MANCHESTER, NH – Heading into Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals, the Manchester Monarchs were 8-0 at home while the Utica Comets were 7-0 coming off of a playoff loss. Something had to give. Nic Dowd from the Manchester Monarchs continued the trend for the home team as the Manchester Monarchs take Game 2 by a 2-1 score and lead the best of seven series two games to none. There were lineup changes for both sides. Kevin Raine drew in for the injured Jeff Schultz on defense for the Monarchs and Nicklas Jensen drew in the lineup for Wacey Hamilton at forward. No change in goal for either side, as it was Jacob Markstrom for … Continue reading

Calder Cup Finals – Game 1: Monarchs need OT to take game 1, 3-2

Monarchs need OT to take game 1, 3-2 MANCHESTER, NH – The two best teams in the AHL all season long locked horns for the first time all season up in Manchester, NH for Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals in front of 8,155 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena. The home crowd went home happy, as they have every game they have witnessed this postseason. Michael Mersch’s game winning goal at 4:10 of the first overtime ensured that the Monarchs extend their record to 8-0 at home in the Calder Cup Playoffs. For the visiting Comets, who vanquished the Chicago Wolves in five, Oklahoma City in seven and Grand Rapids in six may have had a bit of tired legs coming into Game 1. They … Continue reading

Changing AHL Still Has A Few Moves To Go Before The I-6 Invasion Year’s Major Shake-up

MAJOR CHANGES IN PLACE FOR AHL 2015-16 SEASON BAK STUDIOS – The American Hockey League has seen many changes over its 79 years of supplying prospects to the National Hockey League. In the AHL’s first season in 1936-37 the league consisted of 8 teams: New Haven, Philadelphia, Providence and Springfield in the Eastern Division and Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and the league’s first champion, Syracuse in the Western Division. Move forward to 2014-15 and the the league now sits with 30 franchises, boasting a franchise affiliation with every NHL team. However at one point, the AHL was in a battle with the International Hockey League who catered as well to the NHL but ran things differently trying to run in major cities in the United States and … Continue reading

Pivotal Weekend Ahead For Albany Devils

One doesn’t have to be Kenny Loggins to realize, “this is it.” This, being the upcoming home-stand for the Albany Devils. More specifically, this weekend’s three-and-three at the Times Union Center, when the Devils host the Worcester Sharks, Syracuse Crunch and Springfield Falcons. After winning just two games in February, Albany has matched that total (2-0-1) already in March, earning a point in each contest thus far. Currently the sixth through eighth spots in the Eastern Conference are knotted up at 70 points apiece, with the aforementioned Sharks, Falcons and Portland Pirates all playing musical chairs. With 59 games played, Albany has 62 points and is eight back of a postseason berth. The Devils have a game in hand on Springfield and the same amount … Continue reading

Built To Be Champions The 1994-95 Albany River Rats

The 1994-95 season was a special one for the New Jersey Devils organization. It was a championship season that was on full display, with the franchise celebrating its 20th anniversary of winning its first Stanley Cup title. That club featured a number of players who honed their craft at Albany, Utica and other stops around the AHL. Speaking of which, that year was pretty special for the Devils top minor-league affiliate, the Albany River Rats. That season, the Rats won Albany’s first Calder Cup championship. It was the first time since the Montreal Canadiens and Nova Scotia Voyageurs, each won it in the same season, back in 1976-77. Seeing the 1995 squad back together, brought back a lot of great memories, leading some in Albany … Continue reading

Albany Devils Looking To Strike The Right Balance

Fighting through the fog of February. It is never an especially easy task. A task only made more difficult with a slate chalk full of road games, including a recent three-in-three weekend road swing. While they clotted the bleeding Saturday at Utica, the Albany Devils have been scuffling of late. Albany remains a game over AHL .500 but by virtue of going 2-8 in its last ten contests, has fallen seven points off the pace for the 8th and final playoff spot. Certainly there are some key differences between this squad and the one which stood atop the standings after all hallows eve. In New Jersey are Keith Kinkaid, Steve Bernier and Peter Harrold. Then of course the injuries and various call-ups that all clubs … Continue reading

Albany Devils February Focus

Short month, long and winding road trip. That’s what awaits the Albany Devils in February. Much like a baseball team in July, it’s a bit perplexing for a hockey team to have only a pair of home games in the dead of winter but such are the scheduling quirks of the AHL. Thus far, 2015 has been kind to the Devils. January saw the club register a ledger of 8-4-2-1, including a run of points in eight of their last nine games. Albany (22-15-4-5, 53 points) enters February tied with the Portland Pirates for sixth place in the Eastern Conference and just eight points off the pace, behind the Thruway rival Syracuse Crunch, for first place in the Northeast Division and overall in the Conference. … Continue reading

Martin Brodeur The Last Utica Devil

One year, 90 miles and one Peter Sidorkiewicz injury. That’s how close I came to seeing Martin Brodeur in an Albany uniform. Alas, Brodeur spent the 1993-94 season with the New Jersey Devils, won the Calder Memorial Trophy and the rest as they say is history. While he never played in Albany, Brodeur did spend one season in the AHL, playing for the Utica Devils. During the 1992-93 campaign, Brodeur posted a ledger of 14-13-5, in 32 games. That season also saw Brodeur register a goals against average of 4.03 and a .884 save percentage, while making 1,002 saves and recording six assists. In that year, Brodeur also shared duties with Corey Schwab and Chad Erickson. It was the final season of AHL play for … Continue reading