By Thomas Harrington
San Diego just keeps on winning, picking up five wins in its last six games. The Gulls are behind only the Barracuda in the entire AHL. With only 11 games left, the Gulls will be looking to pass San Jose and enter the playoffs as the top seed.
San Diego’s first game in the past two weeks was a wild home win over San Jose. The two teams combined for eight goals in the first period, as goals from Nick Sorensen, Sam Carrick, Corey Tropp, and two from Antoine Laganiere gave San Diego a 5-3 lead after 20 minutes. In the second, the two teams traded goals, giving the Gulls a 6-4 lead after 40 minutes of play. Nic Kerdiles scored San Diego’s goal in the middle frame. However, in the third period, San Jose was able to score two unanswered goals and tie the game up at 6-6. In overtime, both teams had their chances, but Tyler Morley played the hero, scoring with just 10 seconds left in the extra session. Shea Theodore made a great pass on the winning goal.
After that offensive explosion, the Gulls’ next game saw only three goals scored between San Diego and Tucson. Carrick and Tropp scored in the first to give San Diego a 2-0 lead and held the Roadrunners to only one goal in the second. Kevin Boyle stopped 39 of 40 shots in the win.
After winning two in a row at home, the Gulls traveled to San Jose but lost 3-0 to the Barracuda. It’s been a series that has been dominated by the home team all season, and this one was no different. Boyle stopped 23 of 25 shots in the loss. After the loss, the Gulls returned home to take on Stockton. Max Gortz and Tropp gave the Gulls a 2-0 lead after one, but the Heat battled back to tie the game at two early in the third. About half way through the third, Tropp scored his second goal of the game, giving the Gulls a 3-2 win. Dustin Tokarski stopped 34 of 36 shots in the win.
To finish up this two week segment, the Gulls traveled to San Antonio for two games. Laganiere gave the Gulls the 1-0 lead just 31 seconds into the game, and that’s where the score stayed until San Antonio tied things up late in the third. The game went to overtime, where rookie Kevin Roy scored his 13th goal of the season just 16 seconds in. The next night, the Rampage were looking for revenge on the overtime loss, and for a while, it looked like they just might get it. Gortz opened the scoring in the first, but San Antonio was on top 2-1 when the second period ended. About eight minutes into the third, the Rampage doubled their lead and were up 3-1. Less than two minutes later, Tropp cut the lead to 3-2. With just over two minutes left in the third, Spencer Abbott tied the game. It was Abbott’s first goal with San Diego since being acquired at the deadline. No one scored in overtime and the game went to a shootout. With four skaters shooting on both sides, only Gortz was able to find the back of the net, giving San Diego the 4-3 win.
San Diego will play five games over the next two weeks. First, they’ll host San Jose at home for a matchup between the two best teams in the Western Conference. After that, the Gulls will head on the road to Bakersfield, before coming back home for a rematch with Bakersfield the next night. The Gulls will wrap things up with a two-game road trip in Tucson.
The Gulls got Abbott and Carrick at the deadline, and both have been very good for San Diego. In eight games, Abbott has a goal and five points and Carrick has three goals and six points. With these two additions, the Gulls look primed for a long playoff run, and they will hopefully be getting reinforcements from Anaheim. Right now, Jhonas Enroth is serving as Jonathan Bernier’s backup. Tokarski and Boyle are doing great in net for San Diego, but when Enroth goes back to San Diego, it will be a huge boost to their roster.
Sam Steel Wins The Bob Clarke Trophy
Steel led the way in the WHL as the top scorer. He played in 66 games recording 131 total points(50 G + 81 A) this season. Steel was selected by the Ducks as the 30th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Ducks Sign Mitch Hults
The Ducks signed center Mitch Hults to a two-year entry-level contract today. Hults earned 54 total points(20 G – 34 A) with 98 penalty minutes in two seasons (76 games) with Lake Superior State of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). Hults was named to the All-WCHA Second Team in 2016-17 after leading the conference with 23 assists and ranking third in points with 34. He was also named the WCHA Player of the Month for October after earning 11 total points(4 G + 7 A) in six games.
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March 20th, 2017