The Vancouver Canucks top affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks of the AHL, open their quest for the 2022 Calder Cup championship with Game-1 of the best-of-three Pacific Division first-round series against the Bakersfield Condors on Tuesday night in California.
Also known as ‘Series-G’ in the American Hockey League hieroglyphics, one that features every game at home for the Condors (if necessary). A trip around the AHL website can be mind boggling. And no those aren’t typos, teams in the same division play a different number of games during the regular season, usually cost/travel related, and playoff seeding is based on winning percentage.
The Canucks Pacific Division is the only one that features a uniform number of games played, 68, by the nine teams. Of the seven teams that make the playoffs from the Pacific, Abbotsford finished 5th and matches up with 4th seeded ‘Bako’. The top-seeded Stockton Heat, the Calgary Flames affiliate, get a bye in the first round.
Vasily Podkolzin, the Vancouver Canucks 1st-round pick in 2019 who played 79 games in the NHL this season has joined the Abby Canucks for this first round series. Will Lockwood, Sheldon Dries, and Nic Petan, who all saw time with the big club at the end of the season, have rejoined the affiliate.
Goaltender Spencer Martin, who also finished the regular season with the NHL Canucks and remains unbeaten in regulation in six career games with Vancouver, will be the back-stopper for Abbotsford.
Prior to losing their last two games of the regular season to slip to the 5th-seed, the Abby Canucks ran off a nine-game win streak to briefly hop into the fourth position in the division that allegedly would have brought home games to the Fraser Valley. Instead, the team finds itself potentially playing all three matches in California’s Central Valley.
The Canucks will be the designated ‘home team’ in game-2 on Wednesday night and will be given last line change.