Comets Win North Division Championship
by Mark Caswell, Jr.Apr 2, 2015
Just one night after clinching a Calder Cup playoff spot, the Utica Comets have won the American Hockey League’s North Division Championship. The Hamilton Bulldogs 4-2 loss vs the Chicago Wolves on Thursday night, secured the Comets of the top spot in the division.
The Comets are the first team in the American Hockey League to clinch a division title this season. On Wednesday, the Comets became just the third team in the American Hockey League, behind the Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings) and the Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals), to claim a playoff spot.
With the “wire-to-wire” division championship, the Comets are guaranteed one of the top three seeds in the Western Conference, and home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Utica entered the night leading the race for the Western Conference championship, with 91 points.
Eight teams in each conference qualify for the Calder Cup playoffs, with the three division winners in each conference seeded first through third by order of regular season points. The next five teams, in order of regular season points, will be seeded fourth through eight. Home ice advantage is given to the higher seeded team in each playoff match-up.
The Conference Quarterfinal (the first round) is a best-of-five series. Home ice advantage in the Conference Quarterfinals is granted to those teams seeded first through fourth in each conference.
The Conference Semifinals, and the Conference Finals are a best-of-seven series. Teams are reseeded according to the same criteria as the Conference Quarterfinals, with division leaders seeded first, and granted home ice advantage, while remaining teams will be seeded in order of regular season points.
The Calder Cup Finals are also a best-of-seven series, with home ice determined by the higher number of points in the final standings at the end of the Schedule of Championship Games.
The 2014-15 American Hockey League regular season concludes on April 19, and all playoff dates will be announced at a later date.