Gulls Blast Condors On Opening NightFeb 5, 2021
Chase De Leo collected a career-tying three points (2-1=3) as the San Diego Gulls opened the 2020-21 regular season with a 4-1 win over the Bakersfield Condors tonight at FivePoint Arena. With the win, the Gulls improved to 4-2-0-0 all-time in season-opening games.
Lukas Dostal earned the victory in his AHL debut, stopping 29-of-30 shots, including the final 25 Bakersfield attempts of the contest. Dostal became the first San Diego netminder to win his first career AHL start as a member of the Gulls.
“He’s an unbelievable kid. I don’t think a lot people see himself away from the rink. He’s a pro through and through,” said Gulls defenseman Kodie Curran. “He’s a young guy but it seems like he’s been in this league for 10 years with how he handles himself, how he plays every single day and prepares.”
San Diego’s lineup featured seven players making their AHL debuts tonight, including four first round draft picks by the Anaheim Ducks (Drysdale, Perreault, Tracey, Zegras). Perreault (0-1=1) and Zegras (0-2=2) each recorded their first career AHL point with an assist.
“There are little details to the game and we’re going to make that’s not only something we want out of them, that’s part of our identity,” said Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen. “I go back to my veteran group. I know I’ve got some real quality guys on the blue line who have been around and some forwards that have had different experiences. Those are good things for the kids and [tonight] was a good experience for them. The pace was higher and the quality of play was higher. I think when you’re around that, your game rises to that level.”
The Condors took an early lead as a point shot by Theodor Lennstrom found its way through traffic and was tipped in by Devin Brosseau, giving Bakersfield a one-goal edge 4:56 into the first period.
“I think it took us a little bit to get our feet going. There were a lot of turnovers by us in the first period. We wanted to take care of the puck a little bit more,” said Curran. “[Dineen] and the coaches did a good job of getting us back on track for the second and third. We simplified and we took it to them. We used our strengths, which is obviously our skill and just being simple. You’ve got to start off being simple to have success in this league.”
San Diego evened the score early in the second period. With the Gulls on the forecheck, Chase De Leo caused a Bakersfield turnover and collected the loose puck before firing a hard shot on goal. Initially, it appeared Condors netminder Olivier Rodrigue had made a great save on a point-blank chance, but the puck squeezed just past the goaltender before coming to a rest on the goal line. De Leo followed up his scoring bid and poked the puck over the line, tying the score at one at 5:07 of the second period.
Minutes after he pulled the Gulls even, De Leo went back to work to put San Diego ahead. After Trevor Zegras directed a shot on goal that was kicked aside by Rodrigue, De Leo once again went hard to the net, cashing in on another rebound and putting the Gulls ahead 2-1 with 8:45 to play in the middle frame. With three points on the night (2-1=3), De Leo has posted 3-2=5 points in three season-opening games with San Diego. Zegras collected the assist on the go-ahead tally, marking his first career AHL point.
San Diego finished off a three-goal second period with Kodie Curran’s first goal as Gull. Zegras provided the setup pass, as the young forward spotted Curran alone in the slot and the veteran defenseman did the rest, beating Rodrigue with a quick shot to the blocker side. De Leo collected the secondary assist, tying a career-high with 2-1=3 points.
The Gulls continued the offensive onslaught in the third period as a pair of new Gulls recorded their first points with the club. Matt Lorito collected a loose puck at center ice and darted ahead on a 2-on-1 with Jacob Perreault. The two Gulls attackers passed the puck back and forth, with Perreault setting up Lorito for the tap-in goal, giving San Diego a 4-1 lead with 13:16 remaining in regulation. Perreault’s helper also marked his first career AHL point.
The Gulls and Condors will conclude their season-opening back-to-back series Saturday, Feb. 6 (5 p.m.) at FivePoint Arena.