The Trenton Devils finished the regular season by placing second in the North Division after posting wins against the Reading Royals and Wheeling Nailers last week. The Devils will begin a best-of-seven playoff series against the Elmira Jackals at home Friday and Saturday night.
DEVILS LOSE IN THE SHOOTOUT: The Devils earned a point in Wheeling for just the second time this season, but lost to the Nailers in a shootout Wednesday night, 4-3. Despite the loss, the Devils clinched a spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs after the Johnstown Chiefs lost in regulation to Cincinnati. Jim Henkel put the Devils on the board with an early goal at 2:53 of the first. NHL veteran Mike Wilson doubled the Devils' lead with a slap shot from the blue line at 8:19. Billy Ryan cut the deficit to one with a power play goal at 18:46. The Nailers carried their momentum into the second period to garner the tying goal by Chris Margott at 5:23. The stalemate would not last for long. Eric Castonguay broke the tie 52 seconds later with his 26th goal of the season to put the Devils back in front. Jordan Morrison tied the game with 7:08 remaining in regulation while the Nailers were on the power play to force overtime. The Devils had a chance to win the game in overtime on the power play, but were unable to put in the deciding goal. The game went to a shootout that was dominated by the Nailers, who scored in the first three rounds to clinch the second point.
DEVILS TAKE THE CROWN IN READING: The Devils picked up their 11th win in 14 games against the Reading Royals with a 5-1 triumph Friday night. The scoring started 2:04 into the game as Matt Radoslovich netted his 12th tally of the season. Jeremy Akeson added to the lead 37 seconds later with his 16th of the season. Tony Zancanaro picked up a goal on the power play at 13:05 to give the Devils a 3-0 lead into the second period. Eric Castonguay scored both goals of the second two minutes apart that sunk the Royals into a deeper hole. Ben Gordon broke the shutout with a power play goal late in the third period, though it did not diminish a fine night for Gerald Coleman, who made 26 saves on the day he celebrated his 24th birthday.
DEVILS HAMMER NAILERS: The Devils closed out the regular season with a bang as they dominated the Wheeling Nailers, 6-0, in front of 5,515 fans at Sovereign Bank Arena Saturday night. With the win, the Devils clinched the second seed in the North Division and home-ice advantage in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Tony Zancanaro put the Devils on the board with a power play goal in his second straight game at 9:11. Jim Henkel scored with 40 seconds left in the first to give the Devils a 2-0 lead into the intermission. In the second period, the game continued to be dominated by the Devils. Jeff Prough scored his team-leading 34th of the season at 12:24. Eric Castonguay then collected his 29th of the season on the power play at 14:31. The Devils scored another late tally courtesy of Brad Snetsinger, who put in his own rebound past Curtis Darling at 19:35. Jeremy Akeson completed the Devils barrage with the final goal of the regular season at 17:47 of the third. Gerald Coleman picked up his fourth shutout of the season with 27 saves, while Prough and Akeson each had a goal and two assists. THE IRONMEN: Ryan Gunderson, Jim Henkel, and Dave Leaderer played all 72 games for the Devils, marking the second straight year in which Trenton has had three players suit up for the entire regular season. Last year, Gunderson, Matt Cohen, and Tony Zancanaro played in all 72 games. Gunderson becomes the second player in Trenton history to play in two 72-game seasons, joining current Devils assistant coach Vince Williams, who accomplished the feat in the 2003-04 and 2005-06 seasons.
ERIC JOINS THE 70 CLUB: Eric Castonguay's goal in Saturday's game was his 70th point of the season, making him the third player in Trenton history to reach the mark. The other players to have more than 70 points in a season for Trenton were Scott Bertoli (79 in 2006-07 and 71 in 2001-02) and Adam Edinger (70 in 2002-03).
QUICK HITS: Ryan Gunderson and Gerald Coleman were named to the All-ECHL First Team and Second Team, respectively...The Devils completed the regular season with 16 wins in a row on Fridays. They started the season going 0-4-0-1 on Fridays...Jim Henkel's second assist in Friday's win at Reading was his 200th point in a Trenton uniform.
NORTH DIVISION SEMIFINALS PREVIEW
Game 1: Elmira @ Trenton, Friday, April 10 - 7:00 p.m. Game 2: Elmira @ Trenton, Saturday, April 11 - 7:00 p.m. Game 3: Trenton @ Elmira, Wednesday, April 15 - 7:05 p.m. Game 4: Trenton @ Elmira, Thursday, April 16 - 7:05 p.m. *Game 5: Trenton @ Elmira, Saturday, April 18 - 7:35 p.m. *Game 6: Elmira @ Trenton, Sunday, April 19 - 6:00 p.m. *Game 7: Elmira @ Trenton, Tuesday, April 21 - 7:00 p.m. (*if necessary)
The Devils renew their acquaintances with the Elmira Jackals, as the two teams played in some of the closest and most exciting games of the season. The Jackals won the season series, 7-5-0-1, with their 3-2 win on St. Patrick's Day. The Devils outscored the Jackals in the series, 38-34. Pierre-Luc Faubert led the Jackals with 57 points (24g, 33a) in the regular season. In comparison, the Devils had four players with 57-or-more points: Eric Castonguay (29g+41a=70p), Jeff Prough (34g+29a= 63p), Ryan Gunderson (5g+53a=58p), and Jim Henkel (23g+34a=57p). Castonguay led the Devils with 14 points (3g, 11a) against the Jackals. Gerald Coleman sported a 5-2-0-0 record with a 2.42 goals-against-average against Elmira.
Practice/Game Schedule (subject to change, please call PR Department at 609-599-9500 to confirm)
Tuesday, April 7 -- Practice at Sovereign Bank Arena, 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, April 8 -- Practice at Sovereign Bank Arena, 10:00 a.m.
Thursday, April 9 -- Practice at Sovereign Bank Arena, 10:00 a.m.
Friday, April 10 -- Pre-game skate at Sovereign Bank Arena, 10:00 a.m.
North Division Semifinals: Game 1 vs. Elmira -- 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 11 -- Pre-game skate at Sovereign Bank Arena, 10:00 a.m.
North Division Semifinals: Game 2 vs. Elmira -- 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 12 -- Day Off
Monday, April 13 -- Practice at Sovereign Bank Arena, 10:00 a.m.
DEVILS GAME BROADCASTS: Tune in as Paul Roper brings you all of the Devils' Kelly Cup Playoffs action live on www.trentondevils.com, courtesy of B2 Networks. Video broadcasts are available for a charge of $7 per game, while audiocasts are free of charge. A cable or DSL Internet connection and Windows Media Player 9 are required to view the games.