In spite of some controversy and pushback, the AHL’s Pacific Division is having a postseason tournament for the John D. Chick Trophy. The league announced on April 29 that four of the five divisions in play this season would forgo a traditional playoff format. A week later, the AHL released the format for the Pacific Division crown.
The winner of the play-in round between the division’s bottom four seeds (4 vs. 7 and 5 vs. 6, winners of those two games) will earn the “four seed” and face off against the first-seed Henderson Silver Knights in the semifinal on Friday, May 21. The second-seed Bakersfield Condors and third-seed San Diego Gulls will also start their best-of-three semifinal on May 21.
Follow this article for updates on the 2021 AHL Pacific Division playoffs (listed below in reverse chronological order):
WEDNESDAY, MAY 26
(1) HENDERSON vs. (2) BAKERSFIELD, 7:00pm PST / 10:00pm EDT
The Bakersfield Condors came in to the Pacific Division Final off back-to-back overtime victories in the semifinal. Why not make it three in a row? The Condors started off scoring at 9:23 of the first period when centerman Adam Cracknell found the back of the net. It took until the third period for the Silver Knights to respond, as center Ben Jones tied up the game at 6:54. Right winger Seth Griffith (BAK) and forward Pavel Dorofeyev (HSK) added tallies before regulation time expired. Cracknell then bookended the night’s scoring by ending the game in overtime with a wrist shot goal at 11:21.
— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) May 27, 2021
Final Score: Bakersfield 3, Henderson 2
MONDAY, MAY 24
(2) BAKERSFIELD vs. (3) SAN DIEGO, 6:00pm PDT / 9:00pm EDT
Just 24 hours after the Bakersfield Condors needed overtime to overcome the San Diego Gulls, the same narrative rang true Monday evening in California. Carrying momentum from Game Two, the Bakersfield Condors doubled up the San Diego Gulls on shots on goal in Game Three by a total of 45 to 21. The peppering of San Diego netminder Lukas Dostal eventually paid off, as the extra period yielded a Bakersfield goal for NHL/AHL veteran Brad Malone at 7:36 of OT. The Condors will face the Henderson Silver Knights in the Pacific Division Final this coming week.
While we wait for the @EdmontonOilers to do the thing in 2OT..
— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) May 25, 2021
Final Score: Bakersfield 2, San Diego 1
SUNDAY, MAY 23
(2) BAKERSFIELD vs. (3) SAN DIEGO, 5:00pm PDT / 8:00pm EDT
The Bakersfield Condors were up against the wall on Sunday evening, needing to win Game Two of the Pacific Division Semifinal in order to push the San Diego Gulls to an all-deciding Game Three. Alternating goals between both sides in the first and third periods pushed the game to overtime at a 2-2 stalemate. Just 49 seconds into extra time, Adam Cracknell served a cross-ice pass to Seth Griffith for the game-winning goal, lifting the Condors to victory and forcing the aforementioned Game Three on Monday night.
— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) May 24, 2021
Final Score: Bakersfield 3, San Diego 2
(1) HENDERSON vs. (4) SAN JOSE, 1:00pm PDT / 4:00pm EDT
Facing elimination, the San Jose Barracuda came into the Orleans Arena looking to make a fast strike against the Henderson Silver Knights in Game Two of the Pacific Division Semifinal. Forward Jake McGrew did just that, scoring for San Jose just 40 seconds into the game. Henderson responded with three straight goals, with Barracuda centerman Maxim Letunov and Silver Knights winger Danny O’Regan scoring the final two goals of the match towards the middle of the second period. In the end, Henderson’s special teams won the day, potting two shorthanded goals and one power play tally to punch their ticket to the Pacific Division Final.
More of this plz 🙂 pic.twitter.com/JYQpNEcfqU
— Henderson Silver Knights (@HSKnights) May 23, 2021
Final Score: Henderson 4, San Jose 2
FRIDAY, MAY 21
(1) HENDERSON vs. (4) SAN JOSE, 7:00pm PDT / 10:00pm EDT
Riding the momentum of a 5-2 Wednesday victory in the play-in final over the Colorado Eagles, the San Jose Barracuda held the Henderson Silver Knights to just a couple goals in as many periods Friday evening. The 2-1 game became a two-goal and then three-goal game late in the third period, as Jack Dugan added two empty-net tallies at 18:32 and 19:39. Combined with his first period goal, Dugan completed the hat trick as he put the game out of reach for the Barracuda in the final moments of regulation.
Boom boom 💥 pic.twitter.com/YX7VxUgh1v
— Henderson Silver Knights (@HSKnights) May 22, 2021
Final Score: Henderson 4, San Jose 1
(2) BAKERSFIELD vs. (3) SAN DIEGO, 6:00pm PDT / 9:00pm EDT
The stacked San Diego Gulls scored three unanswered goals over two periods before the Bakersfield Condors responded Friday night. San Diego centerman Sam Carrick registered two scores and right winger Vinni Lettieri potted another before Bakersfield veteran center Brad Malone answered back with a power play goal halfway through the third period. Condors forward Seth Griffith cut the Gulls lead to 3-2 less than a minute later, but back-and-forth goals from Andrew Agozzino (SD), Tyler Benson (BAK), and an empty-netter from Trevor Zegras (SD) lead to San Diego eking out a win in Game One of the AHL Pacific Division Semifinal.
A look at the power play goal that opened up the scoring in this one. https://t.co/fyf2Wtt5yE
— Paige Siewert (@flames_update) May 22, 2021
Final Score: San Diego 5, Bakersfield 3
WEDNESDAY, MAY 19
(4) SAN JOSE vs. (5) COLORADO, 7:00pm PDT / 10:00pm EDT
The Barracuda potted three unanswered goals in the first half of the game and never looked back. Colorado rookie forward Sampo Ranta capped the second period with a doorstep goal to cut the San Jose lead to two, but it was all the scoring for the Eagles on the evening. A couple of empty-netters — former Colorado d-man Nicolas Meloche scored his first goal in a Barracuda uniform and Krystof Hrabik scored his second of the night — punched San Jose’s ticket to face Henderson in the AHL Pacific Division semifinal.
Come for the highlight, stay for the FIRST AHL GOAL celly!!
Congrats, Krystof👏 pic.twitter.com/57eXTkLMLn
— San Jose Barracuda (@sjbarracuda) May 20, 2021
Final Score: San Jose 5, Colorado 1
TUESDAY, MAY 18
(5) COLORADO vs. (6) ONTARIO, 7:30 pm PDT / 10:30 pm EDT
Colorado versus Ontario was a game of special teams, with both clubs combining for three power play and two shorthanded goals on Tuesday night. Eagles defenseman Keaton Middleton had his first four-point game of the year, scoring his first and second goals in an Eagles uniform while also adding two assists. Reign goaltender Matthew Villalta even had two assists in the third period. Alas, those assists could not help in overtime, as rookie d-man Justin Barron potted the game-winning goal for the Eagles at precisely the 9:00 mark of the extra frame.
— American Hockey League (@TheAHL) May 19, 2021
Final Score: Colorado 5, Ontario 4 (OT)
(7) TUCSON vs. (4) SAN JOSE, 1:00 pm PDT / 4:00 pm PDT
Despite a strong start from the Tucson Roadrunners, the San Jose Barracuda finished strong to advance to the next round of the play-in. San Jose winger Jake McGrew scored a sneaky yet beautiful goal to give the Barracuda the 2-1 lead over Tucson 9:18 into the third period. Defender Kyle Capobianco tried his hardest the rest of the game to both tie the game for the Roadrunners and prevent any more Barracuda goals. Unfortunately, Capobianco’s hustle and drive wasn’t enough to get Tucson over the hump.
Jake McGrew creeps in undetected near the goal line before popping the puck into the net.
— Elaine Shircliff (@imaraindancer) May 18, 2021