By Thomas Harrington
The San Diego Gulls struggled over the last two weeks, losing five straight games, including the Gulls’ first four road games of the season. In San Diego’s final home game before their four game road trip, the Gulls lost a high scoring affair to Stockton by a score of 7-5. Offensively, the Gulls were led by Corey Tropp and Ondrej Kase, as both had three points in the contest. After the loss to Stockton, the Gulls embarked on their first road trip of the season and had back to back games in Manitoba. The Gulls played very well in the first game, but lost 3-2 in overtime. The Gulls had a 2-1 lead heading into the third, but gave up a powerplay goal about halfway through the period. The next night San Diego played another close game but lost 5-4, this time in regulation. Andy Welinski and Nick Sorensen scored their first AHL goals in the game. It was the second time in three games where Anaheim’s offense scored more than enough goals to get the win, but their defense and goaltending weren’t up to the task.
After dropping both games in Manitoba, the Gulls had a week off before having back to back games in Stockton, two games that San Diego would much rather forget about. On Friday night, the Gulls were defeated 6-1. Their lone goal was scored by Emerson Etem in his first game in the AHL since the Ducks had reassigned him. The Gulls were looking for revenge on Saturday night, but were without the services of Etem, Sorensen, Kalle Kossila, and Tyler Morley. San Diego lost the game 7-3, but Kevin Roy did have the first two goal game of his young AHL career.
In the last five games, San Diego’s best players have clearly been their forwards, as the Gulls scored 15 goals. While those aren’t mind blowing numbers, it’s certainly better than their defensive play, as the Gulls gave up 28 games in those five games. The Gulls are a young team with a number of rookies, like Welinski, Roy, Kossila, and Sorensen playing in their first AHL season. There has also been a significant amount of roster turnover early in the season, as Kase, Michael Sgarbossa, Shea Theodore, Jacob Larsson, and Sorensen have all spent time in Anaheim this season, and that number is sure to grow as the year goes along. A young roster with a lot of turnover is a recipe for inconsistent play. The veterans on this team will need to help right the ship after a rough two weeks.
Hopefully San Diego can turn things around in the next two weeks. Coming up, the Gulls will play in four games, all of which will take place at home. Manitoba will visit San Diego, giving the Gulls a chance for revenge for their early season losses. After that, the San Jose Barracuda will visit for a pair of games.
With Ryan Getzlaf and Nick Ritchie back in the lineup, Kase has been returned to the Gulls. Sgarbossa is still with the team as the spare forward, but could be returned to San Diego in time for this weekend’s games. With Hampus Lindholm under contract and looking to be back in the lineup soon, Theodore has been returned to San Diego. Hopefully San Diego’s roster can stabilize going forward and that will help to lead to better results going forward.
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