Grounded In Bakersfield

Gulls Road Woes Continue In Bakersfield

Mar 10, 2021

The San Diego Gulls closed out their two-game road trip with a 3-1 loss to the Bakersfield Condors tonight at Mechanics Bank Arena. Rookie defenseman Max Gildon led the charge, recording a multi-point effort (1-1=2) to give Bakersfield its sixth straight win.

Ryan McLeod and James Hamblin also scored for the Condors, who moved above .500 for the first time this season. Stuart Skinner extended his personal win streak to six games, stopping 32-of-33 shots.

Hunter Drew scored the lone goal for San Diego, who dropped both games on their short road trip. Lukas Dostal suffered his sixth straight loss, making 30 saves.

The two teams ended the first period scoreless, but San Diego trailed 12-5 in shots.

"It’s preparation and it’s mental right now," assistant coach Sylvain Lefebrve said about the team's slow starts. "We tried to come up with some ideas and some plays to start the game. The other thing is we have to start winning more faceoffs. When you start with the puck, trying to make plays, it’s a lot easier than trying to chase and get the puck back. "

The two teams traded goals just 16 seconds apart early in the middle frame.

Gildon got on the board first, scoring his first career American Hockey League goal on a 3-on-2 rush to give the Condors the lead 2:03 into the second frame. It marked the 13th time in 16 games the Gulls allowed the game’s first goal.

Drew responded with a tying goal as he cleaned up a loose puck in the slot for his second goal over the last three games. Benoit-Olivier Groulx created the scoring opportunity as he took a pass from Trevor Carrick in the neutral zone and pushed it deep into the Condor’s zone, putting a backhand shot on net that Skinner couldn’t control. Drew, crashing the crease through the center of the ice, pushed the puck into the net for the goal.

"Well he was one of our best players up front tonight," Lefebvre said when asked about Drew's performance. "He works hard and has a really good shot. Tonight, he got a goal because he goes to the hard areas – we need more of that. It’s really nice to see him play well up front. We always know he can do the job on the back end if we need him to."

Groulx recorded 3-3=6 points and a +3 rating over his last eight games played. Carrick’s helper marked his sixth of the season, moving him into a tie for second on the Gulls in assists and leading club blueliners.

Ryan McLeod put Bakersfield ahead on a penalty shot, scoring the eventual game-winning goal at 7:12 of the second period.

With teammate Janis Jaks in the box for holding, San Diego looked to continue its offensive momentum. However, a clearing attempt found McLeod in a race for a breakaway chance with Trevor Carrick. Although he didn’t score, a stick infraction by San Diego’s defenseman resulted in a penalty shot.

McLeod moved toward the net with speed and found the back of the net on a five-hole chance to break the tie. The goal marked the first shorthanded goal allowed by San Diego this season.

Bakersfield extended its lead to 3-1 with a goal by James Hamblin, who capitalized on a turnover in the neutral zone and fired a shot past Dostal for his first career AHL goal.

The Gulls will return home to host the Tucson Roadrunners on Saturday, Mar. 13 (7 p.m.) in the first of another back-to-back set at FivePoint Arena.

"We need to respond in the next game," Lefebvre said. "It’s a quick turnaround and sometimes it’s better that way. We have some big games coming up this weekend and we have to be ready. Our game is better at home and we have to continue that. Our play on the road has to be better, but I don’t think we’re playing with full confidence."

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