The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Hershey Bears and Bridgeport Islanders all took care of business on Friday night and clinched the final three spots in the Atlantic Division draw for the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs.
The first domino fell at 9:18 p.m. ET, when the horn sounded on the Hartford Wolf Pack’s 2-1 loss to Charlotte. At 9:21 p.m. ET, the Penguins closed out a 4-1 victory in Providence, and two minutes later the Islanders put a bow on a 4-2 win over Springfield.
That set the stage for a dramatic finish in Allentown, where Brett Leason scored in overtime at 9:44 p.m. to give the Bears a 4-3 win over the Phantoms and propel all three clubs into the postseason while eliminating Hartford and Lehigh Valley.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is back in the postseason after missing out in 2019; the Penguins had qualified in 16 consecutive seasons before that.
Hershey is heading to the Calder Cup Playoffs for the 13th time since beginning their affiliation with the Washington Capitals in 2005-06, and for the 69th time overall.
Bridgeport has qualified for the second consecutive postseason (last in 2019), but will be bidding for its first series victory since 2003.
The Penguins, Bears and Islanders will be joined by Charlotte, Springfield and Providence in the Atlantic Division playoff field. The top two clubs will get a bye into the division semifinals, while the third- through sixth-place teams square off in best-of-three first-round series.
The AHL’s 2021-22 regular season ends April 30; for more information and daily updates on the Calder Cup Playoff races, check out the official AHL Playoff Primer.