Gulls Season Ends In Heartbreaking Game 3 Overtime LossMay 24, 2021
The San Diego Gulls season came to an end tonight as the club fell 2-1 in overtime to the Bakersfield Condors at Mechanics Bank Arena. With the win, Bakersfield clinched the best-of-three Pacific Division Semifinals series and will advance to face the Henderson Silver Knights in the Pacific Division Finals.
“For large stretches I thought they had better pace and compete level,” said Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen. “What happened after the third period, I think our goaltender (Lukas Dostal) dragged our players into the battle. We were obviously much better when we got in that situation. Early on I thought they looked like the home team and had more tempo than us.”
For the third time in as many games, San Diego opened the scoring in the first period. Trevor Zegras caused a turnover with an aggressive forecheck, allowing Vinni Lettieri to scoop up a loose puck along the right-wing wall. The first-year Gull faked a shot to freeze the defense before setting up Andrew Agozzino on the doorstep for the tap-in goal, putting San Diego ahead 1-0 just 7:42 into the action.
Agozzino co-leads the American Hockey League in postseason scoring (2-2=4) and paces the Gulls. Lettieri picked up his third point (1-2=3) of the playoff series.
Former Gull Adam Cracknell evened the score for Bakersfield in the middle frame, cleaning up a loose puck to beat a sprawling Lukas Dostal.
However, the story of the game was Dostal, who made save after save to keep the Gulls in the game. Bakersfield nearly found the go-ahead goal with just three minutes left in regulation, but the rookie netminder robbed James Hamblin with a sliding save to keep the score level.
“All three games in the playoffs here, he has shown his character and his potential,” added Dineen on Dostal’s performance. “That’s what we talk about developing. When a kid comes out and plays that hard, that’s a sign of a great future to come. He had a fabulous performance tonight to follow up on his previous two.”
Dostal’s work before overtime wasn’t done yet, however, as the rookie netminder denied Seth Griffith with a lunging glove save with just over a minute to play in the third period.
San Diego had several chances to win the game in the extra session, but a fortunate bounce for Bakersfield earned the home team the victory. Brad Malone cleaned up a rebound opportunity to clinch the series and end the Gulls season.
Five of the nine all-time playoff matchups between San Diego and Bakersfield have required overtime to determine a winner. The Gulls have struggled in overtime contests against their Pacific Division rival, owning a 1-4 record, but maintain an 5-4 overall record against the club.