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FUTURE WATCH: Condors capture Pacific Division title

Bakersfield finishes the AHL season with a division championship as Benson scores the game-winner in Las Vegas

by Ryan Frankson /

LAS VEGAS, NV - The Bakersfield Condors are American Hockey League Pacific Division champions for the second time in three years after a thrilling victory on Saturday night in Sin City.

The Oilers AHL affiliate edged the Henderson Silver Knights 3-2 in the third and deciding game of their division championship series contested at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

"Having the opportunity to win your last game is a special thing," Condors Head Coach Jay Woodcroft said following Saturday's victory. "We wanted to finish this thing off, and to do it in the fashion they did it in impressed me immensely. They're a special group. I'm very proud of them."

After splitting the first two games of the series on Wednesday and Thursday, the two top-ranked teams in the Pacific from the regular season squared off in a winner-take-all Game 3 that saw the Silver Knights take a 1-0 lead in the middle frame before Jakob Stukel notched the equalizer and Phil Kemp put the Condors up 2-1 through 40 minutes.

Henderson tied it up 5:40 into the third period, but Tyler Benson's tally just over three minutes later held up as the series winner, with Stuart Skinner stopping 33 shots between the pipes.

Kemp, an Oilers defence prospect playing his first pro season, picked a perfect time to score his first AHL goal, while Benson concluded another strong season that saw the Edmonton native put up 36 points in 36 regular season games, followed by three goals and two assists in six post-season matchups.

Skinner went 4-2-0 in the playoffs with a 2.68 goals-against average and .907 save percentage after going 20-9-1-2 with a 2.38 GAA and .914 save percentage during the regular season.

Including the playoffs, the Condors went 28-11-1 (.713%) over their final 40 games.

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