By Thomas Harrington
Welcome to the first San Diego Gulls bi-weekly report of the season. Even though the Gulls have only been playing for about a week and a half, they have played over two different weekends, so it seemed like the perfect time to put the first of these together for this season. In every bi-weekly report, you can expect to find a brief recap of all the games the Gulls played, a quick preview of their upcoming games, who San Diego’s best players have been, and who could likely make their way up to Anaheim based on their play. As the season progresses, I’ll also start giving updates on the playoff picture, but it’s a little too early to go into that right now.
Over the last two weeks, the Gulls played in three games and had a 2-1 record; beating the Tucson Roadrunners 5-3 in the home and season opener, losing 2-0 to Ontario, and beating Texas in a wild 5-4 game. The win against Tucson was the first game of the Roadrunners’ existence, as Arizona relocated their AHL franchise out west, similar to how Anaheim and Los Angeles brought their affiliates out west a year ago. It was a high scoring affair and the Gulls were offensively led by Corey Tropp as he scored a goal and two assists. Other highlights included Kalle Kossila scoring from an impossible angle, two goals for Antoine Laganiere, and two assists each from defensemen Shea Theodore, Andy Welinski, and Brandon Montour. The loss to Ontario was a tale of special teams, as San Diego failed to score on six powerplays and Ontario scored twice with the man advantage. The third period of the win over Texas was a wild affair, as the final frame started with San Diego holding a 3-1 lead. However, Texas scored three goals in the first half of the period. Things were looking bleak for the Gulls, but Laganiere tied the game at four and less than 30 seconds later Stu Bickel scored the game-winning goal.
Over the next two weeks, the Gulls will play five games, including their first road trip of the season to Manitoba. They will also travel to Stockton. Overall, the Gulls will face Stockton three times in the next five games, and Manitoba twice.
Early in the season, San Diego is being led offensively by Tropp (five points), Montour (four points), and Laganiere (three goals). Other players who have looked impressive include rookies Kevin Roy and Welinski. Both have three points on the young season and look like solid additions coming out of the NCAA. Roy, in particular, has put on some highlight reel moves and he’s been a pleasant surprise. With Nick Ritchie in Anaheim, Roy is going to need to pick up the offensive slack and he’s been able to do it so far. Stefan Noesen and Ondrej Kase have been playing together through the first three games, and though neither has scored a point, both have played very well and looked very dangerous.
Theodore, Michael Sgarbossa, and Joseph Cramarossa are the first set of San Diego players to make their way to Anaheim this season, and they won’t be the last. Given that Anaheim just called up these three, it’s unlikely the Ducks will call up anyone from San Diego soon, unless injuries happen or a trade is made. However, right now, Roy and Montour have made the most noise and are showing that they deserve a shot at the NHL sooner rather than later. I have no doubt that Montour will be able to maintain this pace, but it remains to be seen if Roy will be able to.
The Gulls are an exciting team to watch and have a number of players who will likely join Anaheim this season and in the coming years. San Diego is off to a good start this season with two wins in their first three games.
Want to be an Editor or Writer? Join The Puck Network!
DucksNPucks is part of The Puck Network, which covers the entire NHL. There are openings to cover your favorite team(s) and earn school credits! If you are interested, then apply by filling out the form here: Join Our Team