Dustin Wolf tied an AHL record with his third shutout of the series and the Stockton Heat moved on to the Western Conference Finals with a 1-0 win over the Colorado Eagles on Sunday night.
By winning the Pacific Division Final series three games to one, Stockton earns the right to take on the Chicago Wolves beginning Friday in Rosemont, Ill.
Wolf, who also blanked the Eagles in Games 1 and 2, made 40 saves to join Mika Noronen of the Rochester Americans (2000) and Gord Henry of the Hershey Bears (1947) as the only goaltenders ever to record three shutouts in a single Calder Cup Playoff series.
Despite allowing six goals in Game 3, Wolf (6-1) finished the series with a 1.44 goals-against average and a .953 save percentage against a Colorado club that ranked second in the AHL in scoring in 2021-22.
Game 4 was scoreless into the third period, despite the teams combining for 56 shots on goal in the first 40 minutes of play. Justin Kirkland broke the deadlock at 3:29 of the final frame, snapping a one-timer past Justus Annunen from the slot off a feed from Luke Philp. It was Kirkland’s fourth goal of the series and fifth of the postseason; he scored the game-winning goal in all three Stockton victories against Colorado.
Annunen (6-3) stopped 34 of 35 shots for Colorado, which scored 36 goals in its six playoff wins this spring but none in its three losses.
The Heat are the first Calgary Flames affiliate to reach the conference finals since the Saint John Flames won the Calder Cup in 2001.
Pacific Division Finals (best-of-5)
P1-Stockton Heat vs. P3-Colorado Eagles
Game 1 – Mon., May 23 – STOCKTON 5, Colorado 0
Game 2 – Tue., May 24 – STOCKTON 1, Colorado 0
Game 3 – Fri., May 27 – COLORADO 6, Stockton 5 (OT)
Game 4 – Sun., May 29 – Stockton 1, COLORADO 0