Club Record Point Streak Comes to an End with Loss to CondorsJan 19, 2019
The Gulls club record 15-game point streak and six-game home win streak came to an end as the team fell to the Bakersfield Condors 6-2 Saturday night at Pechanga Arena San Diego. San Diego scored 62 goals over the 15-game streak, outscoring opponents by a 23-goal margin. The Gulls iced 38 different skaters during the run (23 forwards, 12 defensemen, and three goaltenders).
“We should be very proud of it. That’s an extremely hard thing to pull off,” said Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins. “We did it on a day-to-day basis. We fully understand that this day would come. That doesn’t mean we’re going to accept it and just blow it off. We have some things that we have to clean up with this group so that we can be successful on Monday.”
Pechanga Arena San Diego was packed full with 12,920 fans in attendance, the second sellout of the season and 12th in club history. The team currently leads the Western Conference and ranks second in the AHL in attendance this season with an average of 8,730 fans per game.
“It’s amazing,” said Gulls captain Jaycob Megna regarding the sellout crowd. “Just the noise out there and seeing the stands full, it’s a great boost for us. We’re disappointed we let them down tonight but they’ve been great all year.”
After a scoreless first period, Bakersfield opened the second with back-to-back goals just 12 seconds apart. The ice-breaking score, coming 1:53 into the period, came as Joe Gambardella, fanned on a shot, but the puck found its way by Gulls netminder Kevin Boyle and into the net. Gambardella’s 14th goal of the season was assisted by Patrick Russell and Brad Malone.
After Bakersfield won the following faceoff, a perimeter shot by Condors forward Luke Esposito deflected off Boyle’s blocker and rolled over the goal line, doubling the visitors’ lead. Mitch Callahan and Ethan Bear added assists on the score.
With Corey Tropp sitting in the penalty box for a two-minute hooking minor, the Condors extended their lead to three at the 11:02 mark of the second. The tally is Currie’s sixth goal over his last four games played. Callahan picked up his second primary assist with the initial shot on net.
With just under a minute remaining in the second period, Jake Dotchin put the Gulls on the board. Sam Steel grabbed a loose puck at center ice and skated down the left wing before lifting a pass to Dotchin just inside the blue line. Dotchin fired a slapshot off Bakersfield defenseman Ryan Stanton and by netminder Stuart Skinner, cutting the lead to 3-1 with 52 seconds left in the middle frame. Simon Benoit added the other assist for his ninth point of the season.
The score marks Dotchin’s first goal in his ten games with San Diego. Steel has picked up at least one point in six of his previous seven games (2G/4A) and moved into second place on the Gulls’ active roster in points.
Patrick Eaves nearly pulled the Gulls within two on an early third period power play, as Steel found him waiting on the backdoor, but the veteran winger’s one-timer rang off the crossbar and stayed out of the net.
The Condors picked up their fourth goal of the night when leading scorer Cooper Marody found a loose puck in the Gulls zone and went around Boyle for the score 8:22 into the final period.
Just over a minute later, an aggressive forecheck from Adam Cracknell pulled the Gulls back within two. As Trevor Murphy sent a shot behind the Bakersfield net from neutral ice, Cracknell out-raced everyone to the puck and banked it off Skinner to make it a 4-2 game with 10:21 left to play. With the goal, Cracknell has scored in five straight games and has earned 12 points in as many games since joining the Gulls.
Bakersfield capped off the night with two more goals, sealing their win over San Diego. Gambardella netted his second goal of the night to retake Bakersfield's three-goal lead and Jake Kulevich found the empty net at the 16:34 mark of the third period.
The Gulls begin a three-game road trip against the Ontario Reign this Monday, Jan. 21 (7 p.m. PT, TV: FOX 5 San Diego). The game will mark San Diego’s first road telecast in club history.