March 25, 2017
The Gulls conclude a home-and-home set against the Bakersfield Condors tonight at Valley View Casino Center (7:00 p.m. PT, 1090-AM). The two teams faced off last night, with Bakersfield ending the Gulls’ four-game win streak in a 5-1 victory at Rabobank Arena. It marked the first win of the season series for Bakersfield who won for the first time in six games to date.
Despite the setback, the Gulls enter tonight 10-2-1-0 in their last 13 games and have won 14 of the last 18 games (14-3-1-0). San Diego has also earned standings points in 15 of the last 19 (14-4-1-0), as well as points in 31 of 36 contests since Christmas (27-5-2-2). San Diego also has won a club record seven consecutive home games dating back to Feb. 24, surpassing the previous record of six set on three previous occasions. San Diego has the third-best win percentage in the AHL (.686) and has the second-fewest goals against in the league (153) behind San Jose’s 150.
Tonight will conclude San Diego’s 17th set of back-to-backs, where the Gulls are 20-11-2-1 overall and 8-7-1-0 in the second matchup. The Gulls remaining nine games this season (four home, five road) will come against Pacific Division opponents where the Gulls have posted a 32-15-2-2 record.
With a win tonight, the Gulls can clinch a second-consecutive Calder Cup Playoffs berth and match last year’s total of 39 wins with nine games remaining. Last season, the club clinched a playoff berth against this same Condors team on April 7, 2016 with a wild 6-5 comeback victory that saw San Diego erase a three-goal deficit. Any scenario with a Gulls win, or a Stockton Heat loss at Texas tonight (regulation, overtime or shootout loss) will see San Diego clinch.
Corey Tropp has driven the Gulls’ offense all season and now ranks tied for eighth among league leaders with 21-32=53 points. Tropp also has a seven-game home point streak dating back to Feb. 24 (6-5=11) which currently is tied for the most consecutive home games with a point in the AHL. The Michigan native has scored eight goals in his last 11 games (8-5=13) and has earned points in 11 of his last 13 contests (9-7=16). Tropp leads the Gulls in scoring (53), goals (21) and power-play goals (11), while co-leads the club in assists with 32. On March 18 at San Antonio, Tropp set the club record for goals in a single season (21), surpassing Chris Mueller’s 20 goals in 2015-16. He also set a career milestone on Wednesday night, tallying his 100th career AHL assist with a helper on Kalle Kossila’s empty-net goal.
In goal for San Diego, rookie Kevin Boyle has posted a 10-2-3 record with one shutout, a 2.07 GAA and .930 SV% his last 15 appearances. In his last four starts, Boyle has posted a 3-1-0 record with a 1.79 GAA and .944 SV%.
Bakersfield is looking to clinch a playoff berth down the final stretch of the 2016-17 season and the Condors enter tonight sitting in fourth place in the division, with a .552 win percentage, only three points ahead of fifth place Stockton for the final Pacific Division playoff spot. Center Anton Lander has earned 47 points to date with a team-leading 22 goals (22-25=47) and has the highest points-per game in the AHL (1.47). In goal, rookie Nick Ellis (13-10-2) has been steady between the pipes with a 2.74 GAA and .919 SV% in 27 games this season and is expected to get the start for the Condors.