BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – The Bakersfield Condors and Colorado Eagles are set to face off in a battle of two Calder Cup Playoffs first-timers. Bakersfield enters the series following its best season since moving from Oklahoma City in 2013 (finishing first in the Pacific Division), while Colorado is in the playoffs in its first season as an AHL team (Colorado moved from the ECHL last season where it won back-to-back Kelly Cup Championships in 2017 and 2018).
Both teams had successful closing weekends to conclude the regular season campaign. Bakersfield picked up wins over Ontario and Stockton, while Colorado split a two-game set with San Jose.
Final Regular Season Records:
Bakersfield Condors: 42-21-3-2 (89 points), 1st in Pacific, 2nd in Western Conference
Colorado Eagles: 36-27-4-1 (77 points), 4th in Pacific, 11th in Western Conference
Game 1: Friday, April 19 – Bakersfield at COLORADO 7:05 pm MT
Game 2: Saturday, April 20 – Bakersfield at COLORADO 7:05 pm MT
Game 3: Tuesday, April 23 – Colorado at BAKERSFIELD 7:00 pm PT
*Game 4: Saturday, April 27 – Colorado at BAKERSFIELD 7:00 pm PT
*Game 5: Sunday, April 28 – Colorado at BAKERSFIELD 6:00 pm PT
*=> If Necessary
By the Numbers:
Season Series Recap:
Bakersfield led the season series 4-3-0-1. The Condors outscored Colorado 31-25 throughout the year and own the only shutout between the two teams (a 2-0 win for Bakersfield on Jan 12).
How Bakersfield Wins:
Stick to what got you here: goaltending. If Shane Starrett, Dylan Wells, and Stuart Skinner can put together 15 solid games, they can not only win the Calder Cup, but pick a series sweep or two on the way. Starrett led the team all season with a 27-7-5 record, including four shutouts. He has put the 12th most minutes in across all AHL goalies this season.
Bakersfield has been known for their depth all season, constantly moving first and fourth liners up and down from Edmonton and Wichita. If the Condors can get consistent offense from the first line to the last, defenses will have trouble keeping the red light dim.
The Condors struggle killing penalties. They come into the series 16th place in the league, killing 220 of the 252 power plays they’ve faced. If Bakersfield needs to take penalties, they need to be smart and well placed. A late-game penalty could spiral this team out of the playoffs.
How Colorado Wins:
Colorado scored the least amount of goals of all the Pacific Divison teams and the second-least amount in the entire Western Conference. To win against Bakersfield, you have to score, score, score.
Andrew Agozzino has been the top scorer for Colorado this season with 60 points (26g, 34a) and a plus-12 in 56 games. If the Eagles can rally behind Agozzino and get fellow forwards A.J. Greer (44 pts.) and Logan O’Connor (42 pts.) involved, Colorado might just have enough offensive firepower to outlast Bakersfield.
The Eagles are led in the crease by Pavel Francouz, who has started 49 games this season. He holds a 2.68 goals against average and a 0.918 save percentage. With a record of 27-17-3 and three shutouts, Francouz is a major factor in how far this Colorado team can make it. Also putting time in for the Eagles is Spencer Martin. Martin has struggled in his 23 starts this year, holding a 9-10-2 record with a 3.40 goals against average and a 0.902 save percentage. Despite his struggles, Martin also recorded three shutout victories this season.
Michael Joly led the Eagles in their 2018 Kelly Cup run, recording 29 points (13g, 16a) during the playoffs. This season, he ranks 5th among all Colorado skaters with 30 (15g, 15a). If Joly can support offensively in this cup run like he did last season, the Eagles have a key playmaker in their lineup.