De Leo Continues Hot Streak As Gulls Fall In BakersfieldFeb 21, 2023
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
The San Diego Gulls dropped a 3-1 decision to the Bakersfield Condors tonight at Mechanics Bank Arena, extending their losing streak to a third game.
Yanni Kaldis led Bakersfield with 1-1=2 points as the Condors won seven of the eight head-to-head matchups against the Gulls in the regular-season series. Raphael Lavoie and Noah Philp added power-play goals for the Condors, supporting Calvin Pickard’s 21-save performance.
Chase De Leo continued his strong play, scoring San Diego’s lone goal in the loss. Goaltender Gage Alexander suffered the first regulation loss of his American Hockey League career, stopping 25-of-28 shots.
Bakersfield jumped ahead on Kaldis’ goal at 8:02 of the opening period. The defenseman joined the rush, taking a drop pass from James Hamblin and carrying the puck into the slot. His shot beat Alexander over the blocker for the Kaldis’ sixth goal of the season.
The Condors power play struck later in the frame, with Lavoie converting for his fifth goal in the last four periods against the Gulls. The young right wing collected four goals – including three on the power play – in Sunday’s matchup between the two teams.
Philp pushed the lead to three with a power-play goal of his own, tapping in a backdoor feed with 7:22 remaining in the middle frame.
Penalties told the story between the two teams Sunday – Bakersfield received 12 power-play chances and converted on five – and tonight’s game followed the same script. San Diego’s penalty kill allowed seven man-advantage tallies on 17 opportunities in the last two games of the regular-season series.
Alexander prevented a Bakersfield shorthanded tally late in the frame, holding the deficit at three with a series of strong saves. A bouncing puck skipped by the Gulls at the blue line and sent Justin Bailey in alone on the rookie. Alexander held his position, turning away the Condors forward and keeping his second chance out of the net.
De Leo broke Pickard’s shutout bid, tallying his fourth goal of the season at 6:41 of the final frame.
The Gulls captain started the play in his defensive zone, tipping a pass back to the point and racing down the ice. He beat Kaldis to the puck and exploded into the offensive zone, moving in alone on Pickard. He quickly moved the puck to his backhand as he cut across the crease, sliding his shot through the legs of the Bakersfield netminder for his fourth goal of the season.
De Leo, who returned to the lineup on Friday after missing 48 games with an injury, has a point in all four games he’s played this season. He sits just one goal shy of 50 as a Gull.
The Gulls return home on Friday to host the Coachella Valley Firebirds at 7 p.m. PT.