The San Diego Gulls are scheduled to face the Bakersfield Condors Wednesday evening to conclude a two-game road trip, one day after their fifth loss in seven games.
The Gulls lost 4-2 at San Jose on Tuesday night, allowing a goal 11 seconds into the game, falling behind 3-0 and cutting the deficit to 3-2 on power-play goals by defenseman Kodie Curran and center Sam Carrick. But they were unable to complete the comeback.
“They were ready to go and we weren’t,” said right wing Andrew Poturalski, who assisted on both Gulls’ goal.
Noah Gregor put a quick shot past Lukas Dostal for the game’s first goal. It was the earliest in a game the Gulls had allowed a goal in their six seasons in the American Hockey League. The previous record was 21 seconds in a Feb. 24, 2016 game against the Stockton Heat.
Gregor, who was assigned to the Barracuda earlier Tuesday by their NHL parent team, the San Jose Sharks, also assisted on the second goal, scored by Frederik Handemark two minutes, 28 seconds into the second period.
San Jose (5-3-2-0) increased its lead to 3-0 just 1:13 later when Jayden Halbgewachs slid the puck past Dostal for his third goal of the season.
The Gulls (9-6-0-0) began their comeback attempt when Curran put a shot from just inside the faceoff circle past Alexi Melnichuk with 46 seconds left in the third period for his third goal of the season.
The Gulls pulled within 3-2 with 3:24 left in the third period when Carrick redirected a pass from Poturalski for his fifth goal of the season.
Coach Kevin Dineen pulled Dostal for a sixth attacker in the final minute, but former Gull Jaycob Megna ended their comeback hopes with an empty- net goal with 31 seconds remaining.
“You know you can talk about the end but I think the start sticks out for me,” Dineen said after his team’s second loss to the Barracuda in three games over five days. “They scored early and we’re chasing the game from there.
“It’s an issue for us this year and that was a quick one. Our first period solidified from there and I liked our push at the end, but the trick is not to put ourselves in that situation.”
The Gulls led in shots, 27-25, including a 12-6 advantage in the third period. They killed all four of San Jose’s power-play opportunities and scored on two of their five.
Dostal (5-5-0-0) made 21 saves for the Anaheim Ducks’ AHL affiliate. Melnichuk (2-2-2-0) made 25 saves at Solar4America Ice at San Jose.
The Gulls were involved in their fifth and sixth fights of the season.
Barracuda defenseman Sasha Chmelevski received a five-minute major penalty, a two-minute instigating penalty and 10-minute misconduct instigating for his fight at 17:23 of the second period with Gulls defenseman Hunter Drew, who received a five-minute major. The Gulls capitalized on the minor penalty with Curran’s power-play goal.
Gulls defenseman Keegan Lowe and San Jose left wing Jeffrey Viel drew major penalties for their fight at 8:58 of the third period.
The fights were the first of the season for both Drew and Lowe.
The Gulls are 3-1-0-0 against the Condors. The home team has won every game.
“Bakersfield’s a good team,” Poturalski said. The Edmonton Oilers’ AHL affiliate has won five consecutive games after an 0-5-0-0 start. “They have a lot of good depth and a lot of older players who have been in the league that are good players.”
–City News Service