Home Cookin'

Gulls Ground Condors In Shootout On Heroes Night

Nov 5, 2021

By Paige Burnell/SanDiegoGulls.com

It’s the Olle Erickson Ek show and no one is changing the channel.

San Diego's netmider stopped 30-of-32 shots in regulation and overtime - and stoned all three Bakersfield Condors in the shootout - to guide the Gulls to a 3-2 win on home ice.

“He was really good, especially in the shootout, “ head coach Joel Bouchard said. “That’s big to help after we scored our first goal. And help out to have guys that can stand tall like that in net. It was a good performance for him.”

Trevor Carrick and Brayden Tracey supported their netminder, scoring goals in the win. Carrick also earned an assist, marking his first multi-point game with the Gulls.

“Well, we haven’t been playing a lot of games and I think we’ve been spending a lot of time on the ice practicing and trying to get used to the systems, just trying to get used to each other,” Carrick said. “ I think it’s starting to come together and we’re really starting to see it and it feel good right now.”

The teams battled through a tight-checking, scoreless affair with no goals past the halfway mark of regulation.

The lack of scoring didn't mean a lack of action, as Eriksson Ek made a highlight-reel split save to keep the Condors off the board early in the second period. Bakersfield's Brad Malone scooped up a rebound off the far side and as he wrapped the puck around the net, Eriksson Ek dropped into an instantaneous split to deny him and block the puck with the edge of his skate. 

“I think it was huge for him,” Carrick said. “We haven’t been good in front of him and he’s been playing well. He’s been working his ass off so that was a huge, huge game for him tonight.”

Malone did eventually break through Erickson Ek’s wall with just seconds remaining on a Bakersfield power play at 14:28 of the second period to give the Condors a 1-0 lead. 

Adam Cracknell and Seth Griffith both contributed assists on the play. With his helper, Griffith is now on a league-leading eight-game point streak (3-7=10). 

“Well there’s definitely some effort, for sure,” Bouchard said. “It wasn’t perfect. We have a young crew, especially up front, but I pushed them hard today. I took them out of their comfort zone. I thought they stayed in the game, they cling in the game."

Brayden Tracey is one of those young players who responded to the challenge, beating Vincent Desharnais one-on-one to score the first goal of his AHL career late in the middle frame even the score at one. He is now on a career-high three-game point streak (1-2=3).

“That was pretty emotional for me,” Tracey said. “It’s been awhile, I’ve had a lot of chances and I’ve played a lot of games, but it definitely feels good to get that off the back for sure.”

Carrick's goal came with 6:52 left in the third period, giving the Gulls their first lead.

The combined efforts of Nikolas Brouillard and Jacob Perreault guided the puck to Carrick at the point, who blasted the puck through traffic in front to beat Ilya Konovalov for his first goal of the season. 

“I don’t know - I’ve just got the goalie’s number, I guess, on Bako,” Carrick joked after the win. I think especially here at Pechanga with the ice here and kind of late in the game, I think that’s just part of our game plan. You kind of go a little high like that and throw it on net. It’s not always going to be a pretty one when it’s a tight game like that. I think that was just part of our game plan. Throw everything on net and you know, things like that can happen.”

Perreault’s assist is his fifth point (1-4=5) in the last three games. He leads the team with 2-5=7 points. 

Markus Niemalainen scored to tie things up at 16:51 of the third period to send the game into overtime. The extra time would not be enough, as neither side scored and sent the game into the Gulls’ first shootout of the season. 

“I think we got a little taller today,” Bouchard said. “It’s tough. You got a lot of guys coming from everywhere. I’m a new coach. My expectations are different. But like I said, even if we’re young or if we have some guys that lack in experience, I’m not backing down. They gotta do their job. That’s what they’re paid for. I’m going to push them and not give them an inch. I think they’re starting to see slowly that they give themselves a chance. You’re not going to win every night, but you at least you give yourself a chance.”

Perreault would come through in the shootout, scoring the eventual game-winning tally in the first round. The forward entered the zone with speed before slowing down in the slot. He deked to the backhand and forced Konovalov to commit before quickly moving the puck to his forehand and sliding it into an empty net for the goal.

The Gulls are set to take on the Colorado Eagles at Pechanga Arena San Diego tomorrow for Military Appreciation Night presented by Indian Motorcyle of San Diego. Puck drop is 7 p.m. PT  (TV: AHL TV; RADIO: Gulls Audio Network). 

“Just go home tonight, get your rest,” Tracey said. “Wake up, it’s a new day. Let’s focus on tomorrow’s game starting now. Obviously, we have to come out huge and strong just like we did today.”

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