The San Diego Gulls set two team records by scoring twice in the opening 26 seconds but were held scoreless in the remaining 59:34 in a 5-2 loss to the Bakersfield Condors on Saturday evening at Valley View Casino Center.
Bakersfield right wing Patrick Russell scored what proved to be the game-winner with 10:03 left and the Condors scored two empty-net goals in the final 1:42, ending the Gulls team-record streak of nine consecutive home games with a standings point. The Gulls had eight victories and an overtime loss during the streak.
“I thought we had chances to put that game away, to make it 3-0, 4- 0,” Gulls coach Dallas Eakins said. “But give Bakersfield credit. They hung around like a bad stink and were able to get some real timely goals.”
Defenseman Jaycob Megna scored the Gulls fastest goal in their three seasons in the American Hockey League. Kevin Roy sent a pass from the right faceoff circle to Megna in the left faceoff circle who put a shot past Laurent Brossoit 17 seconds into the game for his second goal in his 38 games with the Gulls this season and first since Feb. 6.
Kalle Kossila scored nine seconds later, giving the Gulls their fastest two goals at the start of a game. Kossila skated to the edge of the right faceoff circle, then put a shot past Brossoit for his 16th goal of the season, one off the team lead shared by Giovanni Fiore and the since-traded Eric Fehr.
Bakersfield began its comeback 10:18 into the second period when defenseman Logan Day, playing in his second professional game out of Endicott College, a Division 3 school in Beverly, Massachusetts, scored his first professional goal.
The Condors, the Edmonton Oilers AHL affiliate, tied the score 2:58 later on defenseman Dillon Simpson’s third goal in his 56 games with Bakersfield this season and first since Jan. 23.
Russell scored the game-winner on a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle for his 12th goal of the season. Braden Christoffer and Ben Betker were credited with the assists.
The Condors (25-22-9-1) got empty-net goals from Simpson, with 1:42 to play, and Braden Christoffer, with five seconds left, before a crowd announced at 11,180.
The Gulls were outshot 37-35. Gulls goaltender Kevin Boyle stopped 27 of the 30 shots he faced before being replaced by Reto Berra with 8:43 to play. Berra stopped all five shots he faced.
Brossoit stopped each of the final 33 shots he faced.
The Gulls were scoreless in four power-play opportunities. They have failed to score on 10 consecutive power-play opportunities over the past three games.
The Gulls killed both of Bakersfield’s power-play opportunities, including a two-man disadvantage lasting 1:23 at the end of the second period and the start of the third. They have killed 35 of the past 38 shorthand situations over the past 11 games, 92.1 percent.
Escondido native Austin Ortega got into his first fight in his 20 games with the Gulls this season, brawling with Christoffer 6:34 into the second period with the Gulls leading 2-0. Both players received five-minute major penalties.
Christoffer had a Gordie Howe hat trick of a goal, an assist and a fight.
The Gulls wore green jerseys for the second consecutive game in connection with St. Patrick’s Day.
An auction of the jerseys was completed after the game ended. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the San Diego Gulls Foundation, the team’s main charitable beneficiary. The foundation seeks to broaden access to hockey and address San Diego’s health and wellness needs.
— City News Service
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