Gulls Set For Matchup with Bakersfield
San Diego visits Bakersfield for the final time in the regular season.Feb 21, 2020
The Gulls open the first half of a back-to-back weekend set tonight against the Bakersfield Condors at Mechanics Bank Arena (7 p.m. PT, TV: AHLTV, Radio: San Diego Gulls Audio Network). The clubs meet in the penultimate matchup of an eight-game season series and the final of four contests in Bakersfield.
The Gulls amassed 30 of a possible 34 points the last 17 games (12-2-3-0) and now sit just two points outside of a playoff spot behind fourth-place Ontario. With tonight beginning a stretch of eight of their next nine games on the road, San Diego helped its playoff push by recording points in seven of their last eight road games (5-1-2-0) in addition to a 10-5-2-0 mark the last 17 away from home.
“We’re right in the middle of one of our toughest schedules of the year,” said head coach Kevin Dineen. “I like the brand of hockey that we’re playing. We’re not practicing a lot, but we’re going out, we’re working hard and we’re finding ways to have success.”
San Diego enters tonight’s matchup after a home-and-home set with Stockton over a span of three days. The Gulls picked up a point in an overtime loss in Stockton on Monday but exacted revenge Wednesday night in a 3-2 regulation win.
All time, the Gulls are 24-17-1-2 against the Condors, with a 12-8-1-1 mark in Bakersfield. That positive trend continued with back-to-back wins in the season series and points in three straight games. The Gulls have gone 3-2-0-1 through six games, including wins in two of three on the road.
Kiefer Sherwood netted two goals in Wednesday’s game to snap a six-game scoreless drought. The two points pushed Sherwood to rank sixth among all San Diego skaters with 16-7=23 points through 35 appearances. In five games against the Condors, Sherwood has tallied 3-1=4 points, ranking second in points vs. Bakersfield.
Sam Carrick enters tonight’s matchup carrying a four-game point streak against Bakersfield, collecting 4-1=5 points over that span. The captain held six-game point streaks on three separate occasions this season (Nov. 8 - Nov. 16; Nov. 30 - Jan. 11; Jan. 24 – Feb. 7), as he continues to lead the Gulls in scoring with 19-16=35 points in 37 games this season. Carrick snapped a three-game pointless streak in Wednesday night’s game when he picked up an assist on Sherwood’s second goal of the night.
The goaltending duo is a major reason behind the Gulls recent success, with Anthony Stolarz and Kevin Boyle putting up stellar performances in net. In 35 starts, Stolarz put up a 19-11-5 record with a 2.68 goals against average (GAA) and a .923 saves percentage (SV%). In his most recent appearance, the Edison, New Jersey native stopped 40-of-42 shots faced for a .952 SV%. Boyle has started in 15 games and holds 5-6-2 record with a 2.93 GAA and a .909 SV%.
“[Stolarz] just gets it done,” said Sherwood about Stolarz’s after Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the Heat. “He competes his tail off and the same thing goes with Boyle. They’ve both been great and makes the team feel a lot more confident, but hopefully we can win the shots against and make their lives a little easier.”
Bakersfield (20-24-4-2, 46 pts.) is suffering through a rocky season, as they sit second-to-last in the Pacific Division. A series of injuries and recent call-ups has left the Condors in a difficult position as the season’s end approaches. The Condors have dropped five consecutive games (0-4-0-1), beginning with a 10-3 loss to Ontario on Feb. 7.
Josh Currie leads the Condors in scoring, tallying 22-17=39 points in 50 games this season. The right wing has recorded 10 multi-point games this season, including two three-point games. Through his last six contests, Currie has averaged a game a point (3-3=6) as he netted two goals and picked up a helper in the 5-4 overtime loss to Colorado on Feb. 15.
Brad Malone has been an impactful player in Bakersfield’s lineup as he ranks fourth among Condors skaters with 13-18=31 points through 59 appearances. Malone co-leads Bakersfield in scoring against San Diego, tallying 2-2=4 points in six games.
Stuart Skinner holds the starting net minding position, appearing in 36 games while holding a 16-14-4 record. He posts a 3.33 GAA and a .891 SV%. Skinner’s backup is Shane Starrett who has had 13 starts and holds a 5-6-1 record. In his third season, Starrett puts up a 3.71 GAA and an .872 SV%.