Gulls Fall In Heartbreaker to CondorsJan 3, 2020
The Gulls opened their 2020 calendar year and a season-long five-game homestand with a 3-2 loss to the Bakersfield Condors tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego. After an early two-goal setback, Justin Kloos and Sam Carrick scored to tie the game, but a goal by Jake Kulevich in the final frame would ultimately give the Condors the win. Despite the setback, San Diego negated all six of the Condor’s power-play opportunities.
“We didn’t look like we were prepared, so that gets hung on the coaching staff,” said Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen. “You have to have your team prepared for the opening puck drop. To get down 2-0 that quickly is unacceptable in our situation. We dug ourselves a big hole and we were unable to come out of it.”
The Condors came out of the gates strong, scoring two goals in the first 2:22 of the contest. Tyler Benson opened the scoring just 24 seconds into the game with a backhand effort over Kevin Boyle’s glove from the slot.
Bakersfield tallied the second goal 1:58 later as Evan Bouchard recorded his fifth goal of the season on a shot from the top of the circle through traffic.
Shortly after the two goals with Brendan Guhle serving a hooking penalty Kloos and Alex Broadhurst missed on a pass through the slot on a 2-on-0 rush shorthanded. Making up for the missed opportunity, the two connected to get on the scoreboard soon after as San Diego cut the Bakersfield lead in half 9:24 into the first period. Broadhurst and Brad Malone battled for the puck behind the Bakersfield net before the puck rimmed to Hunter Drew at the blue line. His shot towards the net was deflected by Kloos and tipped through Condors netminder Stuart Skinner.
With the score, Kloos extended his goal streak a career-high four games (4-2=6), surpassing his previous mark of three from Apr. 3-10, 2019 (3-0=3). Drew added an assist on the play and now has recorded two helpers in his last three games played.
Gulls captain Sam Carrick knotted the score 2-2 with 8:47 remaining in the middle stanza. Antoine Morand grabbed the puck out of the air before passing to Carrick in the slot, but his shot was stopped by Skinner. The rebound was controlled by Daniel Sprong, whose cross-ice pass to Carrick cutting to the net across the Condors zone surprised a quartet of Condors skaters. Sprong’s pass gave Carrick time and the quick shot by the captain beat a sprawling Skinner for the game-tying goal.
“I thought we did a good job of battling back,” said Carrick. “Sprong made a great play to me and I had an open net, so those ones should go in every time.”
Carrick made his return to the Gulls lineup after spending all of December with the Anaheim Ducks. Despite missing 10 games with San Diego, Carrick continues to lead the AHL club with 11 goals. After recording the primary assist on Carrick’s goal, Sprong has recorded nine points in his last nine games (3-6=9).
Bakersfield jumped back in front for good when Kulevich scored the game-winning goal 3:30 into the final period. Kulevich got a stick on Benson’s shot, redirecting the puck into the net to help the Condors improve to 13-13-4-1.
San Diego pulled Boyle from the net with 1:46 left. The Gulls had a few chances, highlighted by a shot on goal by Wideman with 46 seconds remaining that found its way through traffic. Skinner got a piece of it with his shoulder, the puck dropped in the crease and nearly found its way into the net, but came just short. The Condors held the Gulls scoreless following the save to secure the 3-2 victory.
“It was close at the end there,” said Wideman. “It was a tough start, giving up a goal on the first shift of the game and then one right after. Not a way we want to start a game. It’s a good team over there so falling behind doesn’t make it easy chasing the game.”
The Gulls and Condors will conclude the back-to-back matchup tomorrow, Jan. 4 at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m.).