William Lagesson scores 39 seconds into overtime and Gambardella records a hat trick and five-point night in a 7-6 victory for the Condors over the San Diego Gulls in Game 3
SAN DIEGO, CA - Not this time.
After Friday's four-overtime marathon, the Condors only needed 39 seconds of extra time for William Lagesson to lock in a 7-6 victory for the Bakersfield Condors over the San Diego Gulls in Game 3 of the AHL Pacific Division Final on Wednesday.
"We used all 20 players tonight, got contributions up and down the entire lineup, and for our team to come back the way it did, it's a really big win and an important win for our franchise," Condors Head Coach Jay Woodcroft said.
Joe Gambardella had a five-point night with a hat trick and two assists as the Condors top line combined for ten points to help cut San Diego's advantage in the series to 2-1.
"It was a tough third period, but there was no quit in our game," Gambardella said. "It's so amazing, it's a testament to that character in the locker room over there. Couldn't be prouder, couldn't be happier, we're going to enjoy it for a little bit but we know it's a quick turnaround and we've got to be ready for Friday."
Three goals from the Gulls in a span of 2:47 in the second period had the hosts in front before Gambardella's hat trick goal came six minutes from the intermission as the first power-play goal for Bakersfield this series.
Tyler Benson scored his first AHL playoff goal with 10.5 seconds left in the third period, making the most of the extra man after the Condors pulled the goalie and played 5-on-5 while still killing a Brad Malone penalty that stretched into the final minute of play.
Lagesson had heaps of time in the first minute of the first overtime, accepting Caleb Jones' feed and tucking the game-winner under the left arm of Gulls goaltender Jeff Glass.
"He's been one of our best defencemen all season long," Woodcroft said of his Swedish blueliner. "Had a career-high going to minor atom in terms of goals scored for him, so he's having a great year, but I'm not surprised.
"I see how this guy conducts himself on a daily basis. He's a true professional, he's hardy and heavy, values defending, and makes a good first pass and joins the rush. He's our mister everything back there, and to see that goal get scored, I was not surprised."
Bakersfield netminders Shane Starrett and Stuart Skinner combined for 23 saves on 29 shots, with Skinner taking over duties in the second period after the Gulls scored twice in 11 seconds.
Gambardella had the Condors ahead 6:28 into the first, accepting Brad Malone's cross-ice feed on the odd-man rush and firing it blocker side over the sliding Glass.
Adam Cracknell accepted a pass by Jacob Larsson that avoided traffic in the crease before landing on his stick to bury and respond for the Gulls with 4:55 remaining.
Gambardella restored Bakersfield's lead and doubled his own output 50 seconds later, walking out from behind the net and sniping his second of the game and fourth of the postseason top corner to give the Condors a 2-1 advantage after 20 minutes.
Bakersfield were up 3-1 a minute into the middle stanza when Josh Currie eyed up and dropped a pass for Bear to blast under the crossbar for his second goal in as many games.
A three-minute outpour for the Gulls flipped the script midway through the period, with Kale Kossila going bottom left-corner through the screen with Evan Bouchard in the box before Kiefer Sherwood scored unassisted 11 seconds later.
Andy Welinski was given a clean look on the power play with 11:50 remaining in the second to give the Gulls a 4-3 advantage and spell the end of Starrett's night, giving way for Stuart Skinner.
"We just had to stick to the game plan," Lagesson said. "Things like that are going to happen throughout the series and as long as you're sticking to the game plan and doing the right things over and over, good things can happen."
The fightback, however, would come through Gambardella, who tied the game by notching his hat trick and the first power-play goal of the series for Bakersfield by cleaning up a loose puck to the left of goal.
Shots were 24-20 in favour of Bakersfield with the score tied 4-4 through 40 minutes.
San Diego retook the lead early in the third after Tropp was left alone in front to backhand his effort under a sprawled-out Skinner. The lead was then doubled by Sam Steel, who tapped home unattested after being unlocked in front by a smart pass by Sherwood.
Entering the final 10 minutes, the Condors had an uphill battle, but Malone deflected Keegan Lowe's shot from the half wall with nine minutes on the clock to halve San Diego's lead.
The Condors were forced into killing a late penalty and had 42 seconds to find an equalizer when Malone was let back onto the ice, jumping on as the sixth man. After the puck was tossed towards goal, Benson flashed a backhand toward the pads of Glass that took a fortunate path over the line to tie the game with 10.5 seconds remaining.
It only took William Lagesson and the Condors 39 seconds to make the most of that late equalizer to win Game 3 when the Swedish blueliner had all the time to walk in and fire the winner under the left arm of Glass.
"We got it up to Jonesy and [there were] two guys going on him," Lagesson said, describing his winner. "He passed it over, I waited for a little and found the net and put it in."
"It's a great group of guys we have here. We never give up and that proves that when we're down, we find a way to come back. That's a good strength."
The road team remains perfect through the first three contests this series, and the Condors win their third-straight game at Pechanga Arena dating back to the regular season. Game 3 goes Friday back in San Diego at 8:00 p.m. MDT.