March 18, 2016

SAN DIEGO – Andrew O’Brien netted a pair of goals, and the San Diego Gulls scored twice in the final minute to make it interesting, but a 6-2 third period deficit was too much to overcome as the visiting Bakersfield Condors posted a 7-5 win at Valley View Casino Center on Friday night.

The Gulls (32-21-2-2) saw their four-game winning streak and eleven-game points streak come to an end at Bakersfield’s hand, with the Condors (27-22-5-2) clinching the season series as a result. Zach Boychuck had a goal and assist for Bakersfield, while both David Musil (0-2=2 points) and Joey LaLeggia (scoreless) registered +4 ratings.

Trailing 6-2 halfway through the third period, the Gulls rallied on O’Brien’s second goal of the evening, a one-timer from inside the blue line straightaway on feeds from Matt Bailey and Antoine Laganiere at 11:25. With under a minute to play, Brandon Montour’s wicked slap shot on right wing deflected off the sweater of Corey Tropp and into the net for Tropp’s first goal with the Gulls and twelfth of the season, narrowing the score to 6-4 at 19:01.

The Gulls pulled their netminder Matt Hackett after winning the ensuing draw, and in a scrum around the net Nic Kerdiles tipped home a loose puck rebound just fifteen seconds later to make it a 6-5 score, electrifying the crowd of 9,250. Bakersfield’s Ryan Hamilton finished the comeback bid with an empty-net goal at 19:47.

Bogdan Yakimov, Josh Currie and Boychuk scored at 2:09, 9:01 and 12:46 in the first period as the Condors built a 3-1 lead, with Andrew O’Brien’s first of the night sandwiched in between at 8:27.

The Gulls lost points leader Chris Mueller to a heavy hit ten seconds into the second period, a blow that cost the deliverer, Bakersfield’s Jujhar Khaira, a match penalty. Mueller returned to the game in the second period but did not skate in the third.

Instead of turning the game on the major penalty that followed (reduced from five to three minutes after two minutes of 4-on-4 action for a Nic Kerdiles roughing penalty and 10-minute misconduct), the Gulls failed to find the net, and instead saw the Condors build their lead just after the kill on perfect cross-ice passing from Yakimov and Boychuk to Matthew Ford, who knocked in his team-leading 24th goal of the year for a 4-1 lead at 6:30.

Philip McRae scored on a breakaway at 13:01 of the second during more 4-on-4 skating, and Rob Klinkhammer’s breakaway off passes from Tyler Pitlick and Josh Winquist proved to be the game-winner.

Mike Sgarbossa also scored for the Gulls, who dropped .004 behind idle Texas into third place in the AHL’s Pacific Division. San Diego must regroup quickly, as they travel to Ontario to face the first-place Reign on Saturday at 6 p.m.

NOTES: Matt Bailey had a career-high in points and assists for San Diego with 0-3=3 points on the night…the Gulls have scored 50 goals in their past twelve games (4.17 per game)…Andrew O’Brien’s two goal game was the first of his AHL career…Anton Khudobin started in net for San Diego but was pulled after 29:44, allowing four goals on 18 shots…Matt Hackett saved eleven of thirteen shots faced in relief…Condors goalie Ty Rimmer improved to 2-0 but stopped only 29 of 34 shots faced (.853 SV%).


1st Star: BAK Zach Boychuk (1-1=2 points); 2nd Star: SD Andrew O’Brien (2-0=2 points, CH 2 goals); 3rd Star: BAK Philip McRae (1-1=2 points, +3 rating)