Game 6 Preview – Gulls One Win From Western Conference FinalMay 13, 2019
San Diego can advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in club history tonight. The only thing standing in their way is the Bakersfield Condors.
The Condors denied the Gulls that chance two nights ago in the first elimination game of the series, winning the second-longest game of the series and of the respective teams’ postseason histories. San Diego will enter tonight’s Game 6 with a chance to eliminate Bakersfield in the Condors’ first-ever postseason. The Gulls have posted a 2-0 record at home all-time with a chance to win a series, and a 3-2 mark overall with a chance to clinch a series.
The chances were there, but the Gulls were unable to close out the series in what was deemed one of the most evenly matched games this season. The Gulls return home to San Diego where they will have another chance to advance to the third round in the first-ever Game 6 in Gulls postseason history tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m., Radio: XTRA 1360-AM).
The series could have been over, but the Gulls fell to the Bakersfield Condors by a 2-1 score, in a double-overtime thriller on Saturday night at Rabobank Arena. The loss marks the first on road game for the Gulls postseason as they are tied with Toronto for the most road wins in the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs. With a third overtime contest, it marks the most games in a series to extend beyond regulation for San Diego. The series is the first to have more than one multi-overtime game since 2011 (Manitoba vs. Hamilton).
Three of the first five games of the Pacific Division Finals have reached overtime, including the fifth-longest game in AHL History (Game 1, 124:20). The series has amassed 397:55, including a total of 97:55 of overtime in the series (seven OT periods), with the Calder Cup Playoffs record set by Rochester and New Haven in 1982 (113:49).
Jeff Glass stopped 42-of-44 shots in his ninth appearance of the playoffs and the overtime setback marked the first road loss of his career. Kevin Roy scored for the second straight game, San Diego’s lone goal, to push his point streak to three games (2-1=3). Sam Steel recorded his sixth assist of the playoffs and is now riding a three-game point streak (1-3=4) while Corey Tropp picked up his second assist and fourth point of the postseason
“I’m not sure that I can remember a game that even. I think through however many periods we played there, I don’t think a team had more than a two-shot advantage in any period,” said head coach Dallas Eakins. “We had our chances in overtime. A post, a couple of scrambles there, it could’ve easily gone in. They got their chances, but it’s just a tale of two very evenly matched teams. We’ll go home and try to wrap this up.”
Wrapping it up would mean making history for the San Diego as the team has yet to advance past the second round in two previous Calder Cup Playoff runs in the club’s four-year history. The Gulls offense has produced this series, especially at home, where they have 10 goals in two games, including four power-play goals (4-for-11, 36.4 percent).
Bakersfield’s offense, on the other hand, has been held in check for the most part of the series. Over the five games, the Condors have scored more than three goals just once and have been outshot in each of those games. San Diego’s penalty kill has held them to two power-play goals (2-for-13; 15.4 percent).
Shane Starrett, Bakersfield’s goaltender who was named to the AHL all-rookie team this season, was pulled in Game 3 and Game 4 of the series for Dylan Wells and Stuart Skinner respectively. In Game 5, the Condors started the rookie netminder Skinner, who had only appeared in six AHL games during the regular season. Skinner had a phenomenal performance, stopping 45 of San Diego’s 46 shots in over 93 minutes. Bakersfield is likely to go right back to Skinner in Game 6.
Following Game 5 this past Friday, Gulls captain Jaycob Megna spoke on what the message will be in the locker room heading into the most important game in Gulls history.
“Just worry about Monday’s game, that’s the only game that matters,” said Megna. “What’s gone on in the past in this series is irrelevant. We just need to go out, win a game and we’ll be moving on. Just have to focus on that.”