Photo Credit: Graphic by Mike Gould

Heat Playoff Game Day: Kicking things off against Bakersfield (7:30 p.m. MT)

It’s time to get fired up once again for the Stockton Heat!

Game 1 of Stockton’s best-of-five semifinal series against the Bakersfield Condors is scheduled to take place this evening at Stockton Arena (7:30 p.m. MT, AHL TV).

The Heat earned a bye to the second round after finishing with the second-best record in the entire league (45–16–7) during the 2021–22 regular season.

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The San Diego Gulls, Henderson Silver Knights, and Abbotsford Canucks have all been eliminated from the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs, leaving just four Pacific Division teams to contend for the AHL title: Stockton, Bakersfield, Ontario, and Colorado.

With a Battle of Alberta matchup looking like a legitimate possibility for the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, perhaps it’s only fitting that the AHL affiliates of the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers would meet up in the semifinals.

The Bakersfield Condors defeated the Canucks in a two-game sweep of their best-of-three first-round playoff series, setting the stage for their first-ever postseason matchup with Stockton.

The Heat and Condors met 10 times during the regular season. Stockton took the season series with a 6–3–1 record but lost each of its last three games against Bakersfield by a combined 12–2 score.

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Stockton’s only previous playoff appearance came in 2017. Despite receiving strong goaltending from David Rittich and solid production from Mark Jankowski, Andrew Mangiapane, Brett Kulak, and Garnet Hathaway, the 2017 Heat bowed out to the San Jose Barracuda in the maximum five games.

Projected lineups

These combinations are based, in part, on those used in these teams’ respective previous games. 

Stockton Heat

Jakob PelletierMartin PospisilMatthew Phillips
Justin KirklandLuke PhilpEetu Tuulola
Emilio PettersenByron FroeseWalker Duehr
Tyrell Goulbourne – Nick Pastujov – Dmitry Zavgorodniy

Kevin GravelNick DeSimone
Juuso ValimakiColton Poolman
Ilya Solovyov – Greg Moro

Dustin Wolf
Daniil Chechelev

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Note: Glenn Gawdin, Connor Zary, Alex Gallant, Mark Simpson, and Andy Welinski all missed Stockton’s final game of the regular season and their status for tonight’s game is unclear.

Bakersfield Condors

Dylan HollowayBrad MaloneDino Kambeitz
James HamblinAdam CracknellCooper Marody
Tim SchallerLuke EspositoSeth Griffith
Noah Philp – Devin Brosseau

Philip BrobergVincent Desharnais
Yanni Kaldis – Michael Kesselring
Darien Kielb – Filip Berglund
Alex Peters

Stuart Skinner
Ilya Konovalov

Scoring stars

This section excludes players recalled to the NHL or on assignment to other leagues.

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Stockton Heat

  1. Matthew Phillips — 65 GP, 31 G, 68 P
  2. Jakob Pelletier — 66 GP, 27 G, 62 P
  3. Glenn Gawdin — 62 GP, 15 G, 50 P
  4. Justin Kirkland — 66 GP, 25 G, 48 P
  5. Luke Philp — 66 GP, 21 G, 44 P

Bakersfield Condors

  1. Seth Griffith — 64 GP, 30 G, 80 P
  2. Cooper Marody — 52 GP, 21 G, 55 P
  3. Adam Cracknell — 58 GP, 21 G, 47 P
  4. Brad Malone — 52 GP, 14 G, 39 P
  5. James Hamblin — 64 GP, 21 G, 35 P

Heating up

Matthew Phillips is the only remaining Heat player who suited up for the team during their 2017 playoff series against San Jose.

Having only just been drafted by the Flames in 2016, Phillips joined the Heat after the Victoria Royals bowed out in the first round of the WHL playoffs and dressed for three games (one in the regular season, two in the playoffs). After recording an assist in his AHL debut, Phillips was held without a point in his two postseason contests.

Phillips emerged as a full-time pro in 2018–19 and set multiple team scoring records in 2021–22, including most goals (31) and points (68) in a single season. He’ll be counted upon to lead the charge for the Heat as they look for their first Calder Cup championship (and the first for a Flames AHL affiliate since the Saint John Flames won in 2000).

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How to watch

Game 1 in Stockton will be broadcast on AHL TV (subscription required) and on Spreaker (audio only), with the opening puck-drop set for 7:30 p.m. MT.

FlamesNation contributors Paige Siewert and Mike Gould will provide live game updates on Twitter. Additionally, you’ll be able to follow along at TheAHL.com.

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