BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Friday night, two Calder Cup hopefuls from the Pacific Division begin the next stage in their 2018-19 championship campaigns.
Both teams are coming off convincing 5-2 series clinching, Game 4 victories in the divisional semifinals. In fact, the series these teams were each a part of were nearly identical. Both Bakersfield and San Diego took Game 1 of their respective series in high-intensity, one-goal games. Both teams had their series’ tied in Game 2. After both teams had a couple days to regroup, both Bakersfield and San Diego took Games 3 & 4 to advance to the Division Finals.
Final Regular Season Records:
Bakersfield Condors: 42-21-3-2 (89 points) – 2nd in Western Conference/1st in Pacific Division
San Diego Gulls: 36-24-5-3 (80 points) – 9th in Western Conference/3rd in Pacific Division
How They Got Here
Division Semifinals Results:
Bakersfield Condors: Defeated Colorado 3-1
San Diego Gulls:Defeated San Jose 3-1
SERIES SCHEDULE: (Home Team in BOLD CAPS and all times local):
Game 1 – Friday, May 3 – San Diego at BAKERSFIELD 7:00 pm PT
Game 2 – Saturday, May 4 – San Diego at BAKERSFIELD 7:00 pm PT
Game 3 – Wednesday, May 8 – Bakersfield at SAN DIEGO 7:00 pm PT
Game 4 – Friday, May 10 – Bakersfield at SAN DIEGO 7:00 pm PT
*Game 5 – Saturday, May 11 – San Diego at BAKERSFIELD 7:00 pm PT
*Game 6 – Monday, May 13 – Bakersfield at SAN DIEGO 7:00 pm PT
*Game 7 – Wednesday, May 15 – San Diego at BAKERSFIELD 7:00 pm PT
*=> If Necessary
Season Series Recap:
San Diego won the season series 6-3-0-1 with Chase De Leo leading the way offensively. De Leo had nine points (2g, 7a) in ten games played against the Condors. As for Bakersfield, Cooper Marody led Bakersfield with 10 points (6g, 4a) against San Diego.
The home team won the first four games of the season series, San Diego taking three of the first four. In the final six games, the home team only won once, a 7-1 Bakersfield win on Saturday, February 9.
Both Bakersfield and San Diego used four goaltenders against the other. Kevin Boyle did the majority of work for San Diego in the full regular season, as well as the season series with Bakersfield.
As for the Condors, Starrett went 2-0-2 in his games against San Diego. He allowed 13 goals in his five appearances in the season series.
How Bakersfield Wins:
Stay out of the penalty box. Bakersfield gave Colorado seven power plays during Game 2, its worst offensive game of the series. The Condors are lucky they only allowed one power play goal that game, and two during the whole series (killed 15 of 17 PP faced).
Stay consistent, Starrett. Starrett hails a 2.28 GAA and a 0.903 during the playoffs. Generally, Starrett has spent most of the playoffs consistently inside his crease, working the angles well. Bakersfield can keep its Calder Cup hopes alive if he continues to do so, especially on the penalty kill.
Defense wins championships. Offensively, Bakersfield is set. Defensively, Andrew Agozzino made the Condors look lost in Game 2. Starrett plays good without solid defense, but with it, Bakersfield can keep the wins rolling.
Stay in your own head. The big story of the Bakersfield/Colorado series was the extracurricular activity after Game 3. Colorado had just lost to go down 2-1 in the series, and attempted to get into the Condors’ head following the loss. Bakersfield responded well, ignoring the Eagles and taking as much momentum as possible to continue.
How San Diego Wins:
Win the battle of special teams. These two teams are side-by-side in the overall power play and penalty kill numbers this regular season. If the Gulls can find a couple power play goals in close games, San Diego could edge out a couple wins and, potentially, a series win. San Diego was 57/281 (20.3%) on the man advantage this year. If the Gulls can find themselves in the 28-33% range, this series is theirs to lose.
Run the offense through Sam Carrick. Carrick had a mediocre opening round for a player of his caliber. With six points (3g, 3a), he was fourth on the Gulls in points. In the regular season, Carrick led San Diego with 61 points (32g, 29a) in 61 games.
Win in Bakersfield. San Diego is a better road team than their record shows. While the regular season does not show this (18-10-4-2 on the road), San Diego is 2-0 on the road so far this Calder Cup run. The Gulls are a team that does not get easily rattled in opposing buildings, as they have earned points in five of their last six away games. Win in Bakersfield this weekend, and the series gets much easier.
Follow Matthew Will on Twitter (@realMatthewWill) for Pacific Division Final coverage and all things Bakersfield Condors.