Beating Back Bako

Gulls Win Fifth Straight As Lettieri, Tracey Help Ground Condors

Nov 27, 2021

By AJ Manderichio/

A night filled with on-ice delays couldn’t knock the San Diego Gulls off their flight path.

Buddy Robinson scored the game-winning goal in the third period as San Diego defeated the Bakersfield Condors 2-1 tonight at Mechanics Bank Arena. The Gulls extended their season-high winning streak to five games, pushing them above the Henderson Silver Knights and into third place in the Pacific Division.

“It’s good, it’s a work in progress,” Gulls assistant coach Daniel Jacob said. “We talked since the beginning about the process and we need to stick with it. It’s not really the wins, it’s how we get the wins. I think that’s the important message to our players.”

The recently reassigned Vinni Lettieri (1-1=2) and Brayden Tracey (0-2=2) finished with multi-point nights in the win. Lukas Dostal stopped 18 shots to collect his fourth win in his last fifth games.

Ostap Safin scored the lone goal for Bakersfield in the loss. Goaltender Olivier Rodrigue made 19 saves, suffering his fourth loss of the season.

The delays began immediately, as ice repairs inside the arena pushed the opening puck drop back a few minutes. It wouldn’t slow down the Gulls, with Lettieri converting on turnover just 3:42 into the opening period to put San Diego ahead.

Tracey started the play, forcing Vincent Desharnais to turn over the puck below the goal line. The right wing sent a puck to the slot, where a wide-open Lettieri quickly tucked the puck past Rodrigue and into the top of the net for his sixth goal of the season.

Despite playing in just nine games, Lettieri is second on the Gulls in goals.

Jacob Perreault appeared to give San Diego a 2-0 lead earlier in the period, snapping a shot from near the goal line that sailed Olivier Rodrigue and off two posts for a power-play goal. The referee initially signaled a goal on the ice, but video review overturned the call on the ice.

Momentum shifted shortly after the decision, with Bakersfield tilting the ice in their favor. They’d eventually even the score, with Ostap Safin netting the game-tying tally with 21 seconds left in the middle frame.

The left wing took a cross-ice pass from Dmitri Samorukov and snapped a shot past the sliding Dostal for his first goal of the season.

“Well, I was like, ‘I read the play,’” Gulls goaltender Lukas Dostal said. “It was there and they just like snake it through my arm so I was like well I wasn’t happy about it and I was a little on the fence. They tossed those bears so, well it just happened and we just should focus for the third period and we did.”

Robinson put San Diego ahead, scoring his second of the year with 7:45 remaining in regulation.

Tracey filtered a puck down to Lettieri, who accepted the pass on his backhand. As two Condors turned their attention to him, the center fed a backhand pass to a wide-open Robinson at the opposite side of the net. He slammed it home for his second goal in as many games.

Tracey extended his point streak to four games and has multi-point performances in three consecutive contests (3-4=7). He’s tied with Nikolas Brouillard for the team lead in assists (9) and is second in points (5=9=14).

Dostal would help the Gulls hold their lead, making three key saves in the final minute of regulation – with Bakersfield on the power play and Rodrigue pulled for the extra attacker - to clinch the win.

“Well done, obviously,” Dostal said of the team’s play in the final minute. “He (assistant coach Jacob) made some systems for us on how we should defend that power play. The guys did a hell of a job over there, they blocked the shots. They had a good stick on the puck so they helped me a lot. Obviously, in the end, it was a little bit of a scramble, but we were fortunate we got a puck out and we won the game so great win.”

San Diego held Bakersfield to an 0-for-4 night on the power play, keeping one of the league’s best man advantage units at bay.

“We made some adjustments,” Jacob said. “Talked about a few things. Guys responded well. Again, it was about making sure that we cleared that puck all the way down. We stayed tight, didn’t give much. Obviously, Dos (Lukas Dostal) didn’t give much rebound as well. I think we’ve done pretty good from a PK perspective.”

San Diego will continue their road trip next week, when they face the Stockton Heat in back-to-back contests at Stockton Arena beginning Friday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. PT.

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