The Kelly Cup Playoff race in the West Division of the National Conference remains close as 13 points separate six teams battling for four playoff berths.
Bakersfield overcame a 4-0 first-period deficit to post a 5-4 overtime win against Long Beach on Saturday and improve to 29-12-8, allowing the Condors to move back into first place with 66 points. Long Beach is 30-14-5 and in second place with 65 points, three points ahead of Alaska which swept three games from North Division leader Wheeling to improve to 29-15-4 and 17-8-3 at home. Holding onto the division’s final postseason slot is Fresno with 57 points (26-17-5), two points ahead of San Diego (25-17-5) and four points ahead of defending Kelly Cup Champion Idaho, which has won its last four games, all on the road, to improve to 25-20-3.
Long Beach has 14 more points than its inaugural ECHL season total of 51 and it has 30 wins, 16 home wins and 14 road wins, surpassing its totals of 23 wins, 13 home wins and 10 wins. Bakersfield has seven more points than its inaugural ECHL season total of 59 and its has 29 wins, 15 home wins and 14 road wins, surpassing its totals of 25 wins, 14 home wins and 11 road wins. Greenville in the East Division of the American Conference has the largest point gain from last season with 19. The Grrrowl is 24-18-4 and has 52 points after finishing 2003-04 with 23 points (14-53-5).
Bakersfield will host Wheeling on Thursday and Long Beach, which plays at Las Vegas on Friday and Saturday, on Sunday while traveling to San Diego on Saturday. Alaska opens a five-game road trip east when it visits Peoria on Friday and Saturday and Dayton on Sunday while Fresno travels to Victoria on Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting San Diego on Friday and Las Vegas on Sunday. Idaho returns home to host Victoria on Friday and Saturday. Victoria is winless in an ECHL season-high 11 road games and is 1-20-2 in its last 23 games, including an ECHL record 20-game winless streak.
Posting back-to-back shutouts while Wheeling lost three in Alaska, Toledo moved into a first place tie with Wheeling in the North Division of the National Conference.
Wheeling (28-17-2) and Toledo (27-16-4) are two points ahead of Atlantic City (26-16-6) and three points ahead of Reading (26-14-3) and Trenton (24-13-7), who are tied at 55 points. Peoria, which is 10-2-1 in its last 13 games, is in sixth place with 49 points (22-17-5).
Toledo, which lost 6-2 at Reading on Sunday, visits Trenton on Wednesday and Friday and Atlantic City on Saturday and Sunday. Wheeling concludes its six-game road swing, visiting San Diego on Wednesday and Bakersfield on Thursday before traveling to Reading, which hosts Trenton on Tuesday and Atlantic City on Friday while visiting Trenton on Saturday. Peoria will host Johnstown on Tuesday and Alaska, which has won its last five road games, on Friday and Saturday.