Gulls Win Game 4, Have Condors on the BrinkMay 10, 2019
The Gulls are now one win away from advancing to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in club history following a 4-2 win over the Bakersfield Condors tonight at Pechanga Arena. With two power-play goals in tonight’s contest, San Diego now has four goals on the man advantage over the past two games and rank third in the AHL with a 28.0 success rate on the power play (7-25).
Adam Cracknell scored the first goal of the game and added another in the second period to extend his goal scoring streak to five games (6-4=10), the longest goal-scoring streak of the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs. His six goals rank tied for second in the AHL and set a San Diego record for the most total goals in a postseason, surpassing Nick Ritchie in 2016. Cracknell now has points in six consecutive contests (6-5=11) which ties the club record for postseason point streaks, also Chris Mueller (3-7=10), Apr. 28-May 13, 2016.
Jeff Glass stopped 26-of-28 shots to earn his fifth win of the playoffs and improve to to 7-3 with a 2.17 goals-against average (GAA) and .928 save percentage (SV%) in his postseason career. In his five wins in addition to a no-decision this postseason, Glass has posted a 1.62 GAA and .942 SV%.
Max Comtois picked up an assist to start his postseason career with a point in four consecutive games (2-2=4). Sam Steel also collected an assist and now ranks second in the AHL in playoff points among rookies.
Midway through the opening period, Logan Day made a pass from deep in his own zone all the way to Tyler Benson who was waiting at the far blue line. Benson snuck behind the Gulls defenseman and had a chance to score on the breakaway, but Glass made a save with his blocker to keep the game scoreless.
After the teams traded chances for the game’s opening ten minutes, including an unsuccessful power play for both sides, San Diego broke the scoreless tie on its second man advantage of the night. Andy Welinski took a pass from Kalle Kossila just inside the blue line and fired a long shot on goal. Condors netminder Shane Starrett made the first save, but couldn’t control the rebound, as Cracknell got to it first, putting San Diego up 1-0 with 7:50 left in the first period.
Bakersfield evened the score at one as Ryan Stanton one-timed a pass from Ryan McLeod past Glass at the 15:48 mark of the first period.
The game was tied at one after the opening period but San Diego re-took the lead in the initial moments of the middle frame. After Jacob Larsson dumped the puck into the zone, the Gulls forecheck created a turnover behind the net. Carrick grabbed the loose puck, circled the net, and snapped a wrist shot past Starrett, putting the Gulls ahead 2-1 just 25 seconds into the second period.
The Gulls extended the lead a few minutes later after a lengthy shift in the Bakersfield defensive zone, capitalizing on tired Condors defenders who couldn’t get to the bench for a change. Sam Steel created the first scoring chance with a shot from just in front of the net and Cracknell tracked down the rebound at the left hash marks. The veteran forward took the puck to the middle of the ice and beat Starrett with a shot under the glove, giving San Diego a two goal lead with 14:53 remaining in the second period.
After the goal, Bakersfield pulled Starrett from the net, replacing him with Dylan Wells for the second consecutive game. Starrett was pulled from the net only once in the regular season, but has been removed in the second period twice in the past two games.
Tempers started to flare after Simon Benoit made a big hit on Luke Esposito behind the San Diego net. Brad Malone took two minor penalties in the second half of the period, giving the San Diego power play two opportunities to extend the lead.
On the second power play, they did just that as Kevin Roy tallied his first goal of the postseason. Ben Street took a puck that was rimming around the boards and found a wide open Roy with a pass to the slot. Roy took a one-timer that beat Dylan Wells five-hole with 44 seconds remaining in the second period. Sam Carrick picked up his second point of the night (1G/1A) with his team-leading sixth assist on the play.
“The puck was rimmed out to [Ben Street]. He made a good play there, saw me open in the middle and I was just trying to get it off my stick as quick as possible,” said Kevin Roy regarding his goal. “I think it ended up going through the goalies legs. It was a quick shot and there was good net-front presence there by [Corey Tropp].”
Bakersfield cut into the deficit as the rebound off a shot from Logan Day bounced directly to Keegan Lowe, narrowing the Gulls lead to 4-2 with 11:57 remaining in regulation.
The Condors made a final effort to tie the game as they pulled their goaltender from the net for an extra attacker. However, the Gulls were able to hold them off to secure their sixth win of the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs in front of 12,005 ecstatic fans.
“I’ve played in the AHL for a while. I haven’t played in front of 12,000 fans in the AHL,” said Jeff Glass regarding the fan support. “It was outstanding out there tonight. It was a lot of fun playing in front of them. I think it’s a huge advantage for us, playing at home here. We’re going to use every advantage we can get and they’re a big one.”
“I’m never sure what to think about momentum,” said head coach Dallas Eakins. “Tomorrow is a brand new day. Obviously, we’re going to feel good about this win for five or 10 minutes. Then, we have to get up there and prepare for another large game.”