The San Diego Gulls fell 3-2 to Bakersfield Sunday in Game 2 of the Pacific Division Semifinals as the Condors evened the series at a game apiece.
The late loss – the Gulls were up 2-1 going into the final period – forced a decisive Game 3 at 6 p.m. Monday in Bakersfield.
Seth Griffith scored the game-winning goal for the Condors 49 seconds into overtime after former Gull Adam Cracknell fed him the puck. Griffith snapped his shot past a sliding Lukas Dostal.
“We want to get pucks deep and we had the opportunity right there at the offensive blue line,” head coach Kevin Dineen said. “We tried to make a little better play than we needed at that time and it ended up in our net. Those are the kinds of things you want to get out of your system, those little details that make a difference in the end.”
San Diego opened the scoring. Simon Benoit swept a pass toward Benoit-Olivier Groulx. The rookie center stopped the puck with his skate and slammed it home, giving the Gulls a 1-0 lead 8:21 into the first period.
The goal marked Groulx’s first career American Hockey League postseason point. Alex Limoges also earned his first career playoff point with an assist.
Three minutes later, Cooper Marody tied the game for Bakersfield. Cracknell got to a loose puck behind the net and chipped it in front where Marody, the AHL’s regular season leading goal scorer, beat Dostal with a quick wrist shot.
San Diego reclaimed the lead before the end of the opening frame when Nikolas Brouillard fed the puck to Trevor Carrick, who snuck his point shot through the screen of Jamie Devane.
Brouillard and Axel Andersson each collected their first career AHL postseason point with assists on the go-ahead goal.
The 2-1 score held until 7:20 into the third period.
Theodor Lennstrom’s shot worked its way to Luke Esposito in front. The Condors forward tipped the puck past Dostal for his first goal of the series.
The Gulls netminder finished with 34 saves on 37 shots in the loss. Stuart Skinner stopped 31 shots – including 21 over the final two periods – to grab the win.
Game 3 will be broadcast on AHL TV and the Gulls Audio Network.