By Thomas Harrington
After struggling in late December and early January, the San Diego Gulls have turned things around and had a record of 4-0-1 over the last five games and have moved into the top half of the Pacific Division standings. The Gulls had won five in a row before dropping their most recent game in a shootout loss to Ontario.
The Gulls started things off by hosting the Stockton Heat and capturing a 5-3 victory. Stockton has had San Diego’s number all season, and this was only the Gulls’ second victory in eight games against the Heat. Offensively, Corey Tropp, Kalle Kossila, Ryan Garbutt, Brandon Montour, and Greger Hanson led the way. It was Hanson’s first goal in his first game with the Gulls. He had signed a pro tryout agreement and joined San Diego earlier that day. Kevin Boyle was in net and he stopped 19 of 22 shots.
After the victory over Stockton, San Diego went on a brief two-game road trip that started in Rockford. The Gulls and IceHogs went to overtime, and San Diego was able to skate away with the victory. Montour and Nick Sorensen scored for the Gulls in regulation, and Montour scored his second goal of the night in overtime to seal the victory for San Diego. Boyle was back in net and stopped 32 of 34 shots. Next up the Gulls traveled to Iowa to face off against the Wild. This was Jonas Enroth’s first game with San Diego since being acquired from Toronto, and he recorded the victory and stopped 22 of 23 shots. Antoine Laganiere scored twice, including the game-winner, and Montour scored an empty net goal.
After that short road trip, the Gulls returned home to face the San Jose Barracuda. Jordan Samuels-Thomas opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game, and San Diego never looked back. They scored four unanswered goals before San Jose finally scored and the Gulls won 5-1. Scott Sabourin and Sorensen scored two of San Diego’s other goals, and Kossila scored the final two. Kossila had a highlight reel goal, as he scored a lacrosse-style goal from behind the net. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend that you go and watch it right now. Amusingly enough, he didn’t score his second goal into the net, as he was on a breakaway and got hooked down while the net was empty, meaning he was automatically awarded the goal.
Finally, San Diego hosted the Ontario Reign in a battle of two teams that just don’t like each other. It was a close game throughout, and Zac Larraza put San Diego up 1-0 late in the first, however, Ontario was able to tie things up before the first had ended. The Reign took the lead in the second, and it took until nearly the end of regulation for San Diego to score again. Tropp tied the game up with just over a minute left in the third period. Overtime was scoreless and the game went to a shootout where Roy, Chris Wagner, and Kossila were all stopped by Jack Campbell. Boyle was in net and only let in one goal in the shootout.
Up next, the Gulls will travel to Tucson to face off against the Roadrunners. In a scheduling quirk, the Gulls will play three road games in a row against Tucson. After those three games in Arizona, the Gulls will travel to Ontario for another game against the Reign, before returning home to host the Reign to close out the next two weeks.
This season, the Gulls have been an incredibly streaky team. They seem to either be in the midst of a long winning or losing streak. Part of the reason for their inconsistent play has been the number of players in Anaheim and injuries. The Ducks also recently made a deal, sending defenseman Andrew O’Brien to Nashville for forward Max Gortz. With the play of Keaton Thompson and Andy Welinski, O’Brien was seeing little action. Hopefully, Gortz’s acquisition and a healthier roster will help the team going forward.
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
January 23, 2017