BAKERSFIELD, Ca. – After seven periods of hockey Friday night, San Diego did not look back going into Saturday. The Gulls, despite a mid-game goalie change, controlled all aspects of the game, defeating Bakersfield 4-1.
The game started very slow as it was obvious players were still tired following four overtimes on Friday. It was the Gulls who saw their offense begin to cement first, getting a quality scoring chance every couple of minutes.
It was only a matter of time before the Gulls got to Dylan Wells, who received his first playoff start of his professional career.
With just under two minutes left in the first period, Kiefer Sherwood tipped in a shot from Trevor Murphy to open the scoring.
San Diego took the narrow lead into the first intermission, leading 13-7 in shots.
The Gulls continued to control each aspect of the game, making a quality turnover turn into a goal early in the second period.
After causing a turnover and carrying it into the offensive zone, the Gulls focused on getting the puck to the net. After an initial shot, the four overtime game hero Maxime Comtois scored his second career playoff goal on a rebound attempt off of Wells.
At this time, San Diego locked down defensively. Bakersfield could not buy an opportunity at goal. The Condors had the only powerplay of the period, yet failed on that attempt.
After two periods, San Diego was eyeing a 2-0 series lead. The Gulls dominated in the shots category, only allowing five Bakersfield shots in the period.
Bakersfield finally found an answer to the Gulls’ relentless forecheck. The Condors got the puck in deep, holding it behind Kevin Boyle. Once they rotated the zone, Ethan Bear sat alone at the top of the zone and fired a puck with almost no traffic in front of the net. The puck beat Boyle to the glove side.
The goal gave the Condors some life as the defense started to stand up in front of Wells. A couple of minutes after the goal, Boyle left the game injured. This force Jeff Glass, fresh off a seven-period game, to enter the game for the remaining 12 minutes.
The Gulls responded quite well to this, limiting the chances Bakersfield put on Glass significantly.
With just under five minutes left in the game, the Gulls added an insurance goal. Isac Lundestrom scored his first goal of the playoffs beating Wells high to the glove side.
Bakersfield pulls the goalie for the extra attacker with about two minutes left and San Diego yet again made the Condors pay. Adam Cracknell put the final nail into the Bakersfield coffin as the Gulls took a 2-0 series lead.
San Diego has yet to lose a road playoff game this postseason. Both squads failed on the powerplay, San Diego going 0-for-1 and Bakersfield going 0-for-2.
Wells received the loss after allowing three goals in 39 Gulls shots. Boyle earned the win after only allowing one goal in the 20 shots he faced. Glass also stopped all eight shots he faced in his time of relief.
The series shifts to San Diego on Wednesday night, a nearly must-win for Bakersfield.