SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Gulls tied the score with two third- period goals, but were unable to re-tie the score after Bakersfield Condors center Kyle Platzer scored what proved to be the winning goal with 10 minutes, 27 seconds to play in a 3-2 loss.
The Gulls rally began 1:50 into the third period when Mitch Hults scored off assists by Kevin Roy and Escondido native Austin Ortega.
The Gulls tied the score at 8:58 on a power-play goal by Kiefer Sherwood, his second goal in his three-game professional career.
“We had a couple guys who weren’t clicking tonight, and therein lies the problem,” Gulls coach Dallas Eakins said. “It’s like the foundation of a house, you have to have everyone clicking or that foundation is going to fall. We end up losing by a goal because we didn’t have everyone on board early.”
The loss dropped the Gulls (34-22-3-1) into third place in the American Hockey League’s Pacific Division behind the Ontario Reign (33-21-4-2). Both teams have 72 points in 60 games, but Ontario, the Los Angeles Kings AHL affiliate, has 32 regulation or overtime victories to 30 for the Gulls.
Both teams have eight games remaining. The second-place finisher will have the home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The Gulls were outshot 40-31, including a 14-9 disadvantage in the first period and 15-9 in the third before a crowd at Valley View Casino Center announced at 7,015.
Bakersfield (27-23-9-1) took a 2-0 lead on goals by Joe Gambardella at 4:29 of the first period and 11:46 of the second. Defenseman Ben Betker and Platzer assisted on both goals.
The Gulls killed all three of the Condors power-play opportunities. The Gulls league-leading power play scored on one of its four opportunities.
Gulls goaltender Reto Berra (16-9-2-0) made 37 saves. Nick Ellis (9-9- 2-0) made 29 for Bakersfield, the Edmonton Oilers AHL affiliate.
Gulls left wing Mike Liambas and Condors left wing Evan Polei drew five-minute major penalties and two-minute minor unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for their fight 4:59 into the second period. The fight was Liambas’ sixth in 32 games with the Gulls this season.
The two also fought in the Gulls 3-2 overtime loss March 10.
The Gulls, the Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate, will next play Friday, facing the Cleveland Monsters, the Columbus Blue Jackets AHL affiliate, at Valley View Casino Center.