Utica Comets Clinch First Division Title For New Jersey Devils Affiliate Since 1990s

Kevin Dineen (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)
Kevin Dineen (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images) /

The Utica Comets are the North Division champions after a great comeback win against the Cleveland Monsters on Wednesday night. They won the game 4-3 after a great performance by Alex Holtz, who had a between the legs goal en route to the clinching win. Arne Talvitie got the scoring going in the first period, and Chase DeLeo and Jarrod Gourley added goals for the Comets. Now, the Comets have clinched the North Division title, and they can officially look forward to the playoffs.

The Comets are still the top team in the Eastern Conference. They lead the Providence Bruins by nine points despite going 3-5-2 in their past ten games. Akira Schmid bounced back for a big win, as Nico Daws prepares to take the reigns in the minors. These two once combined to be the best duo in the league, so hopefully they can do the same thing in the playoffs.

The Comets are looking to do something that no team in the New Jersey Devils organization hasn’t done since the 1994-95 season. That season, the Devils and Albany River Rats both won championships. Can the Comets bring home the Calder Cup to the Devils organization again? The hope is there after Wednesday night’s win.

The Comets started the season by winning 13 games in a row. It was a great start for a Devils affiliate after taking the team from Binghamton. It got the crowd back into the team right away, a crowd that was used to watching Vancouver Canucks prospects. The Devils added head coach Kevin Dineen to the team as they moved Mark Dennehy to the front office.

The B-Devils were terrible last season, but that likely had to do with factors beyond their control. Because of the pandemic, the AHL affiliate was forced to play in the Devils practice facility in Newark away from their usual homes. They had just seven wins in 35 games, finishing the season last in the conference.

This season, things were different right away. Despite some of the losses happening right now, the Utica Comets still feel like a team that can win it all. With Daws returning to take some of the load off from Schmid, and some of the other players who spent time with the Devils this season returning to the minor leagues, it could be a stacked roster looking to dominate.

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The Utica Comets did something a Devils team hasn’t done since 1998. They won the division, and now they are looking to win it all. Can they bring a Calder Cup to this organization? Let’s hope so!