Jan. 16, 2017
DES MOINES, Iowa – The San Diego Gulls (16-12-2-1, 35 pts.) conclude a brief two-game road trip this evening at the Iowa Wild (18-18-2-1, 39 pts.) in the first ever meeting between to the two clubs tonight at Wells Fargo Arena (5 p.m.). The Gulls enter tonight’s matchup having won three consecutive games, including three straight on the road, five of their last six (5-1), and have earned standings points in seven of the past eight games (5-1-1-1) and points in 16 of the last 23 overall (14-7-1-1).
Tonight marks only San Diego’s second game against a non-divisional opponent since Nov. 12 that saw San Diego go 11-7-1-1 against Pacific Division opponents. The Gulls defeated the Rockford IceHogs Friday night at BMO Harris Bank Center in a thrilling 3-2 overtime win after Brandon Montour’s shot sealed the third straight victory for San Diego. The Gulls also split four meetings (2-1-1-0) with the Moose earlier in the campaign and have posted a 7-5-1 mark all-time against the Central Division opponents (2-2 vs. Charlotte, 1-1 vs. Grand Rapids, 2-1-1 vs. Manitoba, 1-1 vs. Milwaukee and 1-0 vs. Rockford), including 3-3-1 on the road.
San Diego entered the third period with a lead at Rockford Friday night, and with the win improved to 11-0-1 this season when leading after two. Dating back to last season, the Gulls have a 42-0-1 mark with the lead after 40 minutes of play.
Rookie goaltender Kevin Boyle has helped earn points for the Gulls in five of his last seven starts (5-1-1) with a 2.13 GAA and .923 SV%, including three consecutive wins on the road dating back to his first career AHL win and shutout on Dec. 29 at Texas.
After Brandon Montour scored two goals in Rockford, including the game-winning overtime winner, he now co-leads the team in goals (10) and ranks among league defensemen in many offensive categories. The Brantford, Ontario native ranks third in goals and tied for seventh among league defenseman in scoring (25), and also leads the entire AHL in shots on goal (123). Montour currently has a career high four-game goal scoring streak (5-4=9), and matched his longest point streak this season (also Nov-4-12, 2-4=6 points).
Kalle Kossila is one of San Diego’s hottest players and is currently riding a career high six-game point streak that has seen the rookie center collect two goals and six assists during his streak. The Finnish rookie also leads San Diego and ranks seventh among AHL leaders with a +17 rating. Corey Tropp continues to pace the Gulls in points (26) and assists (18) and ranks third on the club in goals (8).
Iowa enters tonight have won a franchise record four consecutive games after defeating the San Antonio Rampage 2-1 in overtime on Saturday night on the road in San Antonio. The Wild are led offensively by recently-named All-Star right wing Teemu Pulkkinen who has collected 12-14=26 points in 29 games this season. Pulkkinen leads the club in goals while center Pat Cannone leads the team with 16 assists and is second in club scoring with 21 points.