Comets, Penguins, Stars clinch playoff berths

Three more playoff tickets have been handed out. Only four remain up for grabs.

The Utica Comets, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Texas Stars all secured trips to the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs on Saturday night.

The Comets, who came up three wins shy of a Calder Cup championship last spring, sewed up third place in the North Division by earning a point in a 3-2 overtime loss at St. John’s. Utica will face either Toronto or Albany in the first round of this year’s playoffs.

The Penguins extended their run of playoff performances to 14 consecutive seasons as they defeated Hershey, 4-3. The Penguins have qualified for every AHL postseason since 2003, tied for the fifth-longest such streak in AHL history.

The Stars, 2014 champions and 2010 finalists, will make their sixth appearance in the playoffs over their seven-year history. Texas officially clinched their berth when Charlotte fell to Milwaukee last night, but the Stars went on to erase a three-goal deficit and defeat San Jose, 8-5.

Twelve of the 16 playoff spots in the American Hockey League postseason have now been claimed with eight days remaining in the regular season. In the Eastern Conference, Providence, Portland, Bridgeport and Hartford remain alive in the battle for the last three berths; in the Western Conference, the final playoff spot will go to either Charlotte, San Jose or Stockton.

For more information and daily updates on the playoff races, check out the official AHL Playoff Primer