Pacific Division Finals Matchup: Gulls vs. CondorsApr 29, 2019
SERIES MATCHUP: The Gulls and Bakersfield Condors meet for the first time in the Calder Cup Playoffs in a best-of-seven Pacific Division Finals series. San Diego advanced to the Pacific Division Finals following a 3-1 First Round series win over the San Jose Barracuda. The Gulls (three times), Toronto Marlies (four times) and Hershey Bears (three times) are the only AHL teams to advance to the Division Finals on three-or-more occasions since the inception of the current division format in 2015. San Diego is the only team in the Pacific Division to advance beyond the First Round on multiple occasions. Bakersfield, in their first-ever postseason, defeated the Colorado Eagles in four games.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: San Diego was the only team during the regular season to post a winning record against the Condors with a 6-3-0-1 record in 10 regular-season contests between the clubs. The Gulls posted a 3-2-0-0 mark at Pechanga Arena San Diego while they earned points in four-of-five road contests in the season series (3-1-0-1). The Gulls began the season with points in six straight games against the Condors, opening with a 5-0-0-1 record. San Diego is 21-15-1-1 all-time against Bakersfield in the regular season, including 11-8-0-0 on home ice and 10-7-1-1 at Rabobank Arena. In 38 all-time contests, each team has scored 3.2 goals-per game (Bakersfield 122, San Diego 120). Chase De Leo led the Gulls in scoring against the Condors with 2-7=9 points over 10 matchups between the clubs in 2018-19, while Corey Tropp led the team with six goals in seven games. Kevin Boyle posted a 4-2-0 record in six starts against the Condors in 2018-19, while Jeff Glass went 1-1-0 in three appearances.
SERIES FORMAT: The seven-game series will feature a 2-2-1-1-1 format with the first two games hosted by the Condors at Rabobank Arena, followed by two contests at Pechanga Arena San Diego. The next three games, if necessary, will go back-and-forth between the two clubs hosting respective home games. Four wins will see one team advance to the Western Conference Finals, which would mark the first appearance for either club.
DIFFERENCE MAKERS: Six different Gulls scored at a point-per-game pace or better in the First Round against San Jose (four games).
- Sam Steel recorded a point in each of the four games (3-3=6), including goals in the final three contests to become the second Gulls rookie to score three goals in a postseason series and the first to record four points to begin a postseason career. Steel leads all AHL rookies in playoff scoring and ranks second among all leaders.
- Sam Carrick co-led San Diego with 2-4=6 points in the series and led the team in assists. In Game 4, Carrick netted his sixth career playoff goal (6-7=13) to set the Gulls record for most all-time playoff goals.
- Chase De Leo became the first Gull to score a goal in each of the first four games to begin a postseason and series. De Leo ranks tied for second among AHL leaders in goals, and now owns the longest goal streak in Gulls postseason history and also tied the club mark for goals in a single series (4).
- Jacob Larsson leads all AHL defensemen in plus/minus (+6) and is tied for third among AHL blueliners in points (1-2=3).
- Justin Kloos (1-3=4), Ben Street (1-3=4) and Max Jones (0-4=4) also earned a point-per-game in the First Round.
- Jeff Glass won all three games in the First Round to post a 3-1 mark with a 2.32 goals-against average (GAA) and .917 save percentage (SV%) in four contests. He improved to 4-0 with a 1.73 GAA and .944 SV% in four career road playoff games.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: Bakersfield defeated the Colorado Eagles in four games in their first-ever postseason series. The Condors displayed a balanced scoring attack with 10 different players scoring a goal while outscoring the Eagles 14-10. The regular-season Pacific Division Champions allowed just two goals in three of their four contests in addition to killing 17-of-19 penalties (88.2%). The path to the Pacific Division Finals for Bakersfield was similar to that of the Gulls, winning the first matchup against their respective opponents, losing Game 2, and then winning the following two contests. The Condors opened their series on the road, splitting the first two games, while winning both of their home contests. Bakersfield also topped the Western Conference in the regular season with a 42-21-3-2 record for 89 points (.654%) which clinched their first Pacific Division title and postseason berth.
WHO TO WATCH: Bakersfield led the AHL in regular-season scoring with 3.56 goals-per game (San Diego was second with 3.51) and allowed the fewest goals (182) while ranking fourth among AHL clubs with 2.68 goals-against per game.
- Shane Starrett won all three games for Bakersfield, posting a 2.28 GAA and .903 SV% in the four games. Named to the AHL Second All-Star Team and also the All-Rookie Team, Starrett helped Bakersfield reach the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time in club history with a 27-7-5 record with four shutouts, a 2.33 GAA and .918 SV% in 41 appearances. Starrett ranked third in GAA, tied third in wins and shutouts and tied fifth in SV% among AHL goaltenders.
- Evan Bouchard started the season with the Edmonton Oilers, where he score his first career NHL goal on Oct. 25 vs. the Washington Capitals. Selected by Edmonton in the first round (10th overall) of the 2018 NHL Draft, Bouchard returned to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the London Knights where he spent the majority of 2018-19. He was named the OHL Defenceman of the Year after collecting 16-37=53 points with a +28 rating in 45 games. Bouchard made his AHL debut for Bakersfield in Game 3 of the First Round, recording 2-2=4 points in two games.
- Brad Malone led the Condors with 2-3=5 points in their First Round series against Colorado. In the series-deciding Game 4, Malone scored an insurance goal and added two primary assists, including the lone helper on the shorthanded game-winning goal.
- Tyler Benson was also named an AHL Second Team All-Star and to the AHL All-Rookie Team following a regular season where he scored 15-51=66 points with a +21 rating in all 68 Bakersfield games. The Oilers second-round selection (32nd overall) in 2016 led the Condors in scoring, assists and games played, while he ranked tied third in the entire AHL with 51 assists, the most by an AHL rookie since 2008.
FROM THE COACH: "They weren’t the best team in the division by accident. They’re a team that can keep the puck out of the net. Their goalie has been a real strong, strong presence for them this year right at the top of the league. Their special teams can hurt you, they can score. They’re a snake with many heads so we’re going to have to play an extremely disciplined game. I’m not talking just about not taking penalties, managing the puck, doing our best to give them nothing. We certainly have our hands full here.”