Gulls Defeat Condors In Six Games

Photo: San Diego Gulls

By Thomas Harrington

For the first time in franchise history, the San Diego Gulls are going to the Calder Cup Conference Finals. This is the first time an Anaheim affiliate has made the Conference Finals since 2008 when the Portland Pirates did so. The Gulls defeated the Bakersfield Condors in a hard-fought, six-game series that featured multiple overtime games, lead changes, and goalies being pulled.

Condors Edge Gulls In OT

Game three was a wild affair between these two teams. Five minutes into the game, Bakersfield took the early 1-0 lead. Late in the period, Adam Cracknell tied the game, but the Condors restored their one-goal lead less than a minute later. Just over a minute into the second, Bakersfield made it 3-1. After that goal, San Diego started taking over the game. First, Kalle Kossila scored to make it 3-2, and 11 seconds later Kiefer Sherwood tied the game. Less than three minutes later, Andy Welinski scored on the powerplay to make it 4-3. Unfortunately, Bakersfield didn’t give up and tied the game before the second was over. The fourth goal was scored by Joe Gambardella, his third goal of the night. 34 seconds into the third, Corey Tropp scored to make it 5-4. About seven minutes later, Sam Steel scored to make it 6-4. Things were looking good for the Gulls, but with exactly nine minutes left in the third, Bakersfield scored to make it a one-goal game. Late in regulation, the Condors pulled their goalie, and they tied the game at 6-6 with 11 seconds left in regulation. The game went to overtime, where it took just 33 seconds for Bakersfield to score and pick up their first win of the series.

Gulls Bounce Back

In game four, San Diego did something that they have rarely done this postseason: score the first goal of the game, as Cracknell scored about halfway into the period. Unfortunately, Bakersfield tied the game before the period was over. Just 25 seconds into the second period, Sam Carrick scored to make it 2-1. Five minutes later, Cracknell scored his second of the night to double the lead. With less than a minute to go in the second, Kevin Roy scored a powerplay goal to make it 4-1. The Gulls had full control of this one as the third began. Bakersfield did score once to make it 4-2, but San Diego was able to hold them off the rest of the way and took the 3-1 series lead.

Condors Extend Series

Game five was San Diego’s first chance to end the series and make the conference finals. Halfway through the first, Bakersfield took a 1-0 lead. In the second, the Gulls had multiple good chances, and Roy finally tied the game off of a beautiful passing play. Steel and Tropp picked up the assists. With the game tied at 1-1, the third began. Both teams had a number of good chances, but neither were able to find the back of the net, and the game went to overtime. As with game one, the first overtime wasn’t enough, and the game went to double overtime. Just over 13 minutes into the second extra session, Bakersfield scored to win the game and extend the series to a game six. This was San Diego’s first road loss of the postseason.

Gulls Eliminate Condors

The Gulls returned home for game six and a second chance to close out this series. After the low scoring affair of game five, the Gulls came on much stronger in game six. Chase De Leo scored 46 seconds into the game, and that was just the start. Five minutes later, Bakersfield tied the game. Exactly halfway through the period, Kossila scored his second of the postseason to restore the lead. Late in the first, Kossila scored again from an almost impossible angle on a perfect shot. The Condors changed goaltenders after the third goal. Early in the second, Bakersfield scored to make it 3-2. Halfway through the period, Carrick set up Max Comtois to make it 4-2. A few minutes later, Comtois returned the favor with a gorgeous pass from behind the net and Carrick made it 5-2. In the third, neither team found the back of the net until the end of the period. Bakersfield tried to pull their goalie, but the puck was turned over and Ben Street scored into what was essentially an empty net.

The Gulls are deeper in the Calder Cup Playoffs than ever before. They are playing some great hockey and getting some big saves from Jeff Glass. San Diego’s eyes are set on the Calder Cup, which requires another eight wins to capture. But first, the Gulls will face off against the Chicago Wolves.

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May 16th, 2019


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