Condors shoot themselves in the foot with 4-2 loss to the Gulls

The Bakersfield Condors fall behind by three goals during the first period on Wednesday night at Mechanics Bank Arena and are ultimately unable to recover.
Bakersfield forward Greg McKegg (14) talks with defenseman Cam Dineen (4) and other teammates during
Bakersfield forward Greg McKegg (14) talks with defenseman Cam Dineen (4) and other teammates during / Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY

The most important things is that the Bakersfield Condors are already in the playoffs -- one of only two Pacific Division teams to achieve this feat in the past five AHL campaigns. At the same time however, they aren't showing enough consistency as we approach the conclusion of the regular season.

The Condors are playing .500 hockey over their past 10 games, thus compromising their chances of having home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Not that it isn't still possible, but as of Thursday morning they sit three points out of a home-ice position in the Pacific Division, having also played two games more than the fourth-placed Colorado Eagles.

The latest example of the Condors' recent inconsistency came on Wednesday night, at Mechanics Bank Arena. Making it even worse, they lost 4-2 to a San Deigo Gulls team which is already out of the playoffs and could finish bottom of the Pacific Division.

A disastrous start

The Condors fell behind 3-0 to the Gulls in the opening 20 minutes, which is unforgivable given what they are playing for combined with - respectfully -- the level of the competition. Regardless, they were never able to recover and lost a golden opportunity to secure two points.

The Gulls took control by scoring twice in the space of just 23 seconds, with the first goal coming at the 6:41 mark, with Chase De Leo scoring after a mad scramble in front of Jack Campbell's net. The second came thanks to a nice defense-splitting pass from Sasha Pastujov, who put Andrew Agozzino through on goal for him to fire home past a helpless Campbell.

The visitors made it 3-0 at the 13:12 mark of the first period, with De Leo claiming his second goal of the night. He was set up right in front of the Condors net by Glenn Gawdin, and he was never going to miss.

While Campbell couldn't really be blamed for any of the three goals, it was still a disastrous start for him in just his second game back from injury. He had previously helped the Condors beat the Calgary Wranglers 5-2 on Saturday night.

Down but not out

The Condors gave themselves some hope, by scoring themselves with just under four minutes remaining in the first. Lane Pederson had his shot saved, but Cameron Wright was on hand to fire home the rebound and make it 3-1.

There was no scoring in the second period, with chances at a premium, but the Condors made it interesting with 2:23 remaining in the final 20 minutes. Greg McKegg provided the primary assist, and Philip Broberg blasted home the one-timer to pull the hosts to within 3-2.

Unfortunately for the 2,404 in attendance, any hope of completing the comeback was erased with just 63 seconds remaining. Agozzino scored his second with a long-range empty netter, to make the final scoreline of 4-2 to the Gulls.

Campbell ended up with 25 saves out of the 28 shots he faced, with him overall not having a bad game. Ultimately this was a team loss, with no one standing out on the night; further, the Gulls now improve to 16-4-3 on the season when leading after one period.

One of the few positives was the Condors going 1-for-1 on the penalty kill, meaning they have now successfully killed off 58 of the last 60 power plays they've faced. On an individual level, Seth Griffith's assist now has him on 62 points for the campaign, fifth-most in the AHL and with a genuine opportunity to move all the way up to second place by the conclusion of the regular season.

Next. One pending free agent the Oilers can steal from each of their Pacific Division rivals. One pending free agent the Oilers can steal from each of their Pacific Division rivals. dark

Things don't get any easier in the Condors' next game on Friday night, as they travel to Coachella Valley to face the Firebirds. Aside from having already clinched the Pacific Division, the Firebirds also have the best overall record in the Western Conference.

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