Gulls Fall 2-1 to Condors in Season OpenerOct 4, 2019
The Gulls opened the 2019-20 regular season with a 2-1 loss to the Bakersfield Condors at Mechanics Bank Arena.
Kiefer Sherwood netted San Diego’s lone goal and held a game-high five shots on net. San Diego netminder Anthony Stolarz stopped 26-of-28 shots on net in the setback. Both teams had three power play chances, but neither were able to score as tonight featured strong defensive play on both side of the rink.
“I liked our pushback,” said Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen regarding the momentum shift in the second period.” It’s just very early on in the season and you like to think that you addressed a lot of things in training camp. All of a sudden the game kicks up and you realize that there are areas to continue to work on. We have a long week that will keep us busy and our preparation will be much more solid heading into next week.”
The Condors got off to a hot start, scoring the first two goal of the game, coming at 8:16 and 10:22 of the first period. The first Condors goal was a product of Josh Currie who received a pass on an odd-man rush and put it in the net for his first score of the season. Bakersfield would double their lead just 2:06 later when Caleb Jones fired a slap shot from the point. The puck bounced off the backboards and into the slot where Kailer Yamamoto was able to secure the rebound, control the puck and score.
San Diego was given a chance on the power play after Currie was called for interference, but the Gulls were unable to capitalize on the man advantage. San Diego trailed Bakersfield 8-11 in shots after the initial 20 minutes of play.
Sherwood got the Gulls on the board 7:41 into the second period, marking the first score of the Gulls 2019-20 season. The goal was made possible by Chase De Leo who dug the puck out of the corner of the offensive zone and into the slot where Sherwood found the puck. Sherwood pushed the puck to Daniel Sprong who immediately passed it back to Sherwood for a goal on a one-timer from the slot.
Max Comtois was flagged for slashing midway through the second frame, but the Gulls were able to kill the penalty and keep the score within a goal. San Diego evened the shot totals at 19 apiece heading into the third and final period.
Sam Carrick, who led San Diego with 32 goals in 2018-19, had a late breakaway opportunity 8:26 into the third period, but was unable to capitalize as Shane Starrett made a blocker save to maintain the lead.
With just over four minutes left in the game, the Gulls were given their second power-play opportunity of the contest when Brad Malone was given a two-minute hooking minor. San Diego was held scoreless and shortly after the penalty expired, the Condors had a breakaway chance with 1:31 remaining in the game. Stolarz held strong in net and made an incredible glove save on an odd-man rush, robbing Currie and keeping the Gulls alive.
“I was actually on my way to the bench there to get the extra attacker,” said Stolarz. “I just tried to get back to my crease to reset and get into position. I took a quick look and noticed he was a (right-handed player) so there really wasn’t a one-timer chance. I just tried to get the biggest push I could to get across and cover as much of the net as possible.”
Sprong drew a late penalty as Malone was sent to the box for hooking for the second time late in the period. San Diego pulled Stolarz and had 44 seconds to even the game with a 6-4 man-advantage. However, the Gulls couldn’t find the back of the net to tie the game and the Condors walked away with a 2-1 win.
The Gulls continue their three-game road trip to open the season with a matchup against San Jose on Friday, Oct. 11 (7 p.m.) and Stockton on Saturday, Oct. 12 (6 p.m.) before returning home to San Diego for their home opener Friday, Oct. 18 at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m.).