March 24, 2017
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – The Gulls (38-16-3-2, 81 pts.) saw its four-game win streak come to an end in a 5-1 loss to the Bakersfield Condors (29-23-5-1; 64 pts.) at Rabobank Arena on Friday night. Braden Christoffer scored two goals in the first multi-point game of his career (2-0=2) and Jonas Gustavsson (7-5-1) made 30 saves as the Condors defeated the Gulls for the first time this season. San Diego magic number remains at one, with a Gulls win or a Stockton loss tomorrow clinching a second-consecutive Calder Cup Playoffs berth.
Despite the setback, the Gulls are 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).
The Condors scored on their first shot of the night at 9:41 of the first period as Jesse Puljujarvi finished off a two-on-one rush when he buried a feed from Anton Lander past San Diego goaltender Dustin Tokarski. Lander’s assist gives him 1-4=5 points in his last four games and 22-25=47 points in only 32 games played this season.
The Gulls outshot Bakersfield by a 10-2 margin in the first period, but trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. The two shots against tied the lowest total San Diego has surrendered in a first period this season (also, Nov. 7 at Bakersfield).
Midway through the second period, Sam Carrick hit Ondrej Kase with stretch pass and the 21-year-old slipped a backhand past Bakersfield netminder Jonas Gustavsson to tie the game 1-1. The goal marked Kase’s first since Nov. 18 vs. San Jose as the Czech Republic native was assigned to San Diego yesterday after appearing in 51 games with the Anaheim Ducks this season.
Bakersfield regained the lead with only 21 seconds left in the middle frame as the Condors executed another two-on-one rush, this time with Josh Currie finishing a cross-ice pass from Jaedson Descheneau past Tokarski. Even though the Condors had only generated 11 shots on goal through two periods, they took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
The home club pushed its lead to 3-1 at 10:44 of the final period on Braden Christoffer’s deflection of Jordan Oesterle’s bid from the point that snuck past Tokarski. Oesterle’s assist on the play extends his point streak to six games (3-3=6). Christoffer struck again at 13:20 when he stole the puck from Shea Theodore in the Gulls’ zone and beat Tokarski with a slick backhand to forehand move.
San Diego pulled Tokarski in favor of an extra attacker on a late power play and surrendered another goal when Kalle Kossila’s pass skipped over Theodore’s stick down the ice and into the empty net. Bakersfield goaltender Jonas Gustavsson was credited with the shorthanded, empty-net goal since he was the last Condors player to touch the puck, becoming the 12th goaltender in AHL history to be credited with a goal.
Gulls netminder Dustin Tokarski (16-7-1) stopped 12-of-16 shots in his seventh loss of the season and has posted a 7-1-0 record in his last nine appearances.
San Diego returns home tomorrow night to close out this two-game series with the Condors at Valley View Casino Center (7:00 p.m.). Fans can purchase tickets by visiting AXS.com/Gulls or by phone at (619) 359-4730.
NOTES: Mitch Hults made his professional debut with the Gulls after signing an amateur tryout agreement (ATO) Monday…Sam Carrick picked up his 21st assist of the season and has 3-4=7 points in 10 games since joining San Diego on Mar. 1…the Gulls fell to 12-4-1-1 in the first game of back-to-back matchups and 17-9-2-1 on the road this season.
1. Braden Christoffer (BAK)
2. Jonas Gustavsson (BAK)
3. Josh Currie (BAK)