San Diego Gulls goaltender Lukas Dostal didn’t stand a chance in the first minute of Sunday’s sudden death overtime at Bakersfield. There was a bad play in the middle of the ice, a quick pass from the right wing to the left and suddenly the puck was in his net and the game was over.
The Bakersfield Condors rallied for a 3-2 win over the Gulls in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series. The third game of the best-of-3 series takes place Monday in Bakersfield with the winner advancing to play the Henderson, Nevada Silver Knights for the Pacific Division championship.
“We want to get some deep pucks and we had the opportunity right there at the offensive blue line,” Gulls coach Kevin Dineen said in a post-game TV interview. “We tried to make a game a little better than what we needed at the time and it ended up in our net. These are the kinds of things you want to get out of your system, those little things that end up making a difference. ”
The Gulls might not have gone as far as OT in Game 2 without Dostal, a 20-year-old from the Czech Republic. He made 34 saves two nights after making 39 saves in a 5-3 win in Game 1 which included a four-point game from 20-year-old center Trevor Zegras.
Zegras and defenseman Jamie Drysdale, 19, had an impact in Game 2, but not as much as they did in Game 1. Zegras and Drysdale, who collected two assists on Friday, were held scoreless on Sunday. The Condors deployed an aggressive pre-check that slowed the seagulls.
San Diego had a chance to open the game early, but failed to click a 5-on-3 power play in the opening minutes. The Gulls took a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period thanks to goals from Benoit-Olivier Grouxl and Trevor Carrick. Cooper Marody had the Condors goal.
After a scoreless second period, the Gulls failed to strengthen their lead in the third period and Luke Esposito equalized for Bakersfield with 7:20 left in regulation. Moments earlier, Dostal made a sprawling save to deny Adam Cracknell on a point blank shot at 5:56 in the third period.
Dostal was bowled over by the play, after Bakersfield’s Seth Griffith ran into him during the goal-mouth scrum. Dostal returned to work after a few minutes to recover. He couldn’t stop Esposito’s shot which tied him or Griffith’s winner 49 seconds after OT, however.
It wasn’t immediately certain whether Dostal would start the winner’s third game or whether Olle Eriksson Ek would make his first playoff appearance. Eriksson Ek, younger brother of Minnesota Wild’s Joel Eriksson Ek, was 8-6-1 in 15 regular-season games.
“We have less than 24 hours and we know we have our hands full,” Dineen said. “It was a very competitive series. It’s like that. Both teams have played a lot of hockey over the past three days. We just put on the skates and get back on them right away. ”