By Thomas Harrington
The San Diego Gulls only played four games over the past two weeks and won all four of them. The light schedule was due to the AHL All-Star Game. Andy Welinski represented the Gulls at the game and did great. With those four wins, the Gulls have put themselves back in a playoff spot.
The Gulls started things out by traveling to Bakersfield for a pair of games. Corey Tropp and Nicolas Kerdiles gave the Gulls a 2-0 lead halfway through the first, but the Condors made it 2-1 before the period was over. With less than a minute and a half to go in regulation, Bakersfield tied the game up. No one scored in overtime, and the game went to a shootout. Kalle Kossila, Giovanni Fiore, and Kerdiles all scored in the shootout, while Reto Berra stopped three of five shooters to secure the win. The next night, the two teams were back at it again, and the Gulls had another strong start to the game. Ryan White, Fiore, and Eric Fehr made it 3-0 in the first, but Bakersfield responded and made it 3-1 in the second. Kerdiles restored the three goal lead just 1:29 into the third. The Condors scored one more time, and the Gulls won 4-2.
The Gulls then returned home to host the Pacific-leading Tucson Roadrunners. Tucson scored the only goal of the opening period, but the Gulls turned things around in the second. Kossila and Tropp scored in the middle frame to give San Diego the lead. In the third, the Gulls were down a man late, and Tucson pulled their goalie. Kossila and Sam Carrick both scored shorthanded empty net goals to make the game 4-2. The Gulls wrapped things up by hosting the Iowa Wild. Kossila opened the scoring, continuing his good play of late. Less than a minute later, Joseph Blandisi made it 2-0. Iowa did respond and made it 2-1 before the end of the first. No one scored in the second, and Jaycob Megna scored early in the third to make it 3-1. Fiore and Steve Oleksy both scored as well, and the Gulls won 5-1.
The Gulls will play five games over the next two weeks. They’ll start off by traveling to San Jose for a pair of games. San Diego will then return home to host Bakersfield and Ontario. The Gulls will finish things off with a trip to Ontario.
John Gibson is hurt again, so Berra has been recalled to Anaheim to serve as Ryan Miller’s backup. Hopefully, Gibson is only out for a short amount of time, and Berra will soon be returned to San Diego. Kerdiles has also been recalled to Anaheim, to give the Ducks a little more offensive depth. He hasn’t gotten into any game action yet, and it remains to be seen how long he’s in the NHL for. If the Ducks do decide to call anyone else up from the Gulls, Kossila is likely next, given how well he’s played lately. San Diego’s All-Star Welinski could also come up to help on defense if needed.
A strong two weeks has put the Gulls back in the playoff picture, a place they need to make sure they stay in going forward. If Berra and Kerdiles are in Anaheim for the long term, that could be more a little more difficult. However, Kevin Boyle is a good enough goalie and the team is deep enough offensively that they should be okay. The Gulls have been playing some great hockey for the last couple of months and should be in solid playoff position when the season ends if they can keep this up.
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February 8th, 2018