The San Diego Gulls’ playoff hopes came to an end Monday as the club fell in overtime for the second straight game, losing 2-1 to the Bakersfield Condors.
Bakersfield clinched the best-of-three Pacific Division Semifinals series 2-1 and will advance to face the Henderson Silver Knights in the finals of the shortened post-season.
For the third time in the series, San Diego opened the scoring.
Trevor Zegras caused a turnover with an aggressive forecheck, allowing Vinni Lettieri to scoop up a loose puck. The first-year Gull faked a shot to freeze the defense before setting up Andrew Agozzino for the tap-in goal, putting San Diego ahead 7:42 into the game.
Former Gull Adam Cracknell evened the score for Bakersfield in the middle frame, cleaning up a loose puck to beat a sprawling Lukas Dostal.
He rarely found himself beaten though. Bakersfield nearly scored the go-ahead goal with three minutes left in regulation, but the rookie robbed James Hamblin with a sliding save to keep the score at 1-1.
“All three games in the playoffs here, he has shown his character and his potential,” head coach Kevin Dineen said of Dostal. “That’s what we talk about developing. When a kid comes out and plays that hard, that’s a sign of a great future to come.”
Dostal also denied Seth Griffith with a lunging glove save with just over a minute to play in the third period.
San Diego had several chances to win the game in the extra session, but Brad Malone gave Bakersfield the victory by cleaning up a rebound opportunity 12:24 into OT to clinch the series.
Five of the nine all-time playoff matchups between San Diego and Bakersfield have required overtime to determine a winner – included a 4 OT thriller in 2019.
The Gulls have struggled in overtime contests against their Pacific Division rival, with a 1-4 record, but maintain an 5-4 overall playoff record against the club.