Gulls players celebrate second victory against Bakersfield
San Diego Gulls team members celebrate after their second victory against Bakersfield in the playoffs. Courtesy of the team

Isac Lundestrom and Adam Cracknell both had a goal and two assists as the San Diego Gulls defeated the Bakersfield Condors 4-1 on Saturday evening in Bakersfield.

Maxime Comtois scored for the second consecutive game as the Gulls took a two games to none lead in the Pacific Division finals, winning for the fourth time in four road Calder Cup Playoffs games this season. The Gulls are the first American Hockey League team to win four road playoff games this season.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series will be played Wednesday at Pechanga Arena San Diego.

Gulls goaltender Kevin Boyle stopped 19 of 20 shots in his first appearance since allowing three goals in the opening six minutes, 15 seconds in Game 1 of their Pacific Division semifinal series against San Jose April 17.

Boyle was hit in the back of head by a knee of an opposing player and had to leave the game with 11:09 to play.

Boyle’s replacement, Jeff Glass stopped all eight shots he faced.

The Gulls defensive effort “was really good, especially through two periods,” coach Dallas Eakins said.

“We didn’t give up much, we were really closing quickly on them,” Eakins said. “We had great sticks and kept everything to the outside. They had a bit of a push there in the third period, but I thought we got our game back fairly quickly after they scored that goal.”

The Gulls opened the scoring with 1:45 left in the first period when Kiefer Sherwood redirected a shot from the right point by defenseman Trevor Murphy for his third goal of the playoffs.

Comtois increased the Gulls lead to 2-0 2:29 into the second period off assists by Cracknell and Lundestrom.

Comtois scored the Game 1 game-winner 4:20 into the fourth overtime in the fifth longest game in the history of the AHL, which began play in 1936.

Game 1 ended at 12:20 a.m. Saturday, five hours, 10 minutes after it began. Game 2 started at 7:10 p.m.

Defenseman Ethan Bear ended Boyle’s bid for a shutout with 14:16 left in the third period on a slap shot from the point. The goal ended a 125:42 scoreless streak for the Condors, the Edmonton Oilers AHL affiliate.

The Gulls regained a two-goal lead when Lundestrom scored from the left faceoff circle with 5:15 to play off assists by Cracknell and defenseman Jaycob Megna.

Cracknell scored an empty-net goal from behind the Gulls defensive zone with 1:41 remaining off an assist by Lundestrom before a crowd at Rabobank Arena announced at 7,033.

“All of our goals, there was nothing pretty about it,” said Cracknell, who did not play in Game 1 because he was with his wife, who was about to give birth to their second child.

“We got pucks to the net, playoff-hockey style goals. We were responsible defensively. Our guys used good speed and were smart on the puck. We were able to wear the other team down and capitalize a couple times.”

The Gulls led in shots, 39-28, including 13-7 and 13-5 advantages in the first and second periods.

The Gulls killed both of Bakersfield’s power-play opportunities and failed to score on their lone power-play opportunity.

Goaltender Dylan Wells stopped 35 of 38 shots for Bakersfield.

Gulls center Sam Carrick and Condors center Luke Esposito drew five- minute major penalties for their fight with 1:29 remaining.

Esposito is a nephew of Hockey Hall of Fame member Mark Messier but not related to Hall of Famers Phil or Tony Esposito.

The Gulls NHL parent team, the Anaheim Ducks, announced on Friday they had assigned Comtois, a 20-year-old left wing, and Lundestrom, a 19-year- old center, to the Gulls.

Comtois had been playing with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, whose season ended April 28 with a loss in the semifinals of the President’s Cup playoffs. He played four games with the Gulls and 10 with the Ducks during the regular seasons.

Lundestrom had been playing with Lulea HF of the Swedish Hockey League after playing 12 games with the Gulls and 15 with the Ducks.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.