PROTECTING THE NEST

//PROTECTING THE NEST

PROTECTING THE NEST

Feb. 18, 2017

SAN DIEGO – The Gulls (28-13-2-2; 60 pts.) open a three-game homestand vs. the Tucson Roadrunners (21-18-5-0; 47 pts.) at Valley View Casino Center tonight (7:00 p.m., 1090-AM). San Diego enters tonight with a four-game win streak, wins in 10 of their last 11 contests (10-1-0) and 17 of the last 20 (17-2-0-1). San Diego has earned standings points in 16 of the last 17 games (15-1-0-1) where the club has outscored opponents 62-25, as well as points in 20 of 22 contests since Christmas (17-2-1-2). San Diego currently has the third-best points percentage (.667) in the Western Conference and has allowed the second-fewest goals in the AHL to date (114).

The Gulls have won six consecutive home games since Jan. 7, the longest current home win streak in the AHL, which matches the club record set on two previous occasions from Nov. 11 to Dec. 6, 2016 and Oct. 10 to Nov. 11, 2015. The Gulls have also earned standings points in eight of their last nine home contests dating back to Dec. 26 (6-1-1-1). Tonight also concludes San Diego’s 15th set of back-to-backs this season, posting a 17-11-2-1 record overall and 8-7-1-0 in the second contest.

San Diego won their fourth consecutive game last night in a 3-2 victory over the Bakersfield Condors at Rabobank Arena. The Gulls scored two power-play goals for the third consecutive game with tallies by Shea Theodore and Chris Wagner. Nic Kerdiles (1-1=2) scored the game-winning goal to extend his point streak to four games (1-5=6), while Dustin Tokarski (11-6-1) made 25 saves and improved to 4-0-0 against Bakersfield this season.

Since Christmas, the Gulls have posted a 17-2-1-2, earning points in 20 of 22 games behind a staunch defensive effort from the net out. San Diego has allowed two goals or fewer in 12 of the past 14 games (18 goals) and over the last 17 games San Diego has held opponents to 25 goals (1.47 goals-against per game).

Jhonas Enroth is expected to get the nod tonight, and the Swedish native has been steady in net during his 11 games with San Diego. Enroth has only allowed 13 goals while winning 10 of his 11 starts (10-1-0) with a 1.18 GAA, a .954 SV% and two shutouts since being acquired from Toronto on Jan. 10. Enroth is 12-2-0 this season overall, leading all AHL goaltenders with a 1.57 GAA and ranking second with .941 SV% (minimum 14 games). In this past seven games Enroth is 6-1-0 record with a 1.28 GAA, a .948 SV% and two shutouts.

The Gulls and Roadrunners face off for the seventh of 12 meetings this season and fourth at Valley View Casino Center. San Diego has earned points in all six previous matchups this season (5-0-0-1) including 2-0-0-1 record at home. San Diego has outscored Tucson 27-11 over the six contests and gone 8-for-28 on the PP (28.6%). The last time these clubs met, the Gulls swept a three-game road series in Tucson from Jan. 25-28 that saw San Diego outscore the Roadrunners 13-2 in the three games, including a club record 8-1 rout on Jan. 25. At home, San Diego has also outscored Tucson 14-9 in the three previous games, wins on Oct. 14 and Nov. 30, and a 5-4 shootout loss Dec. 26.

Antoine Laganiere leads active Gulls skaters in goals (5), points (8) and plus/minus (+7) against the Roadrunners, while Kalle Kossila (2-4=6) and Jaycob Megna (1-4=5) each lead the club with four assists. In three starts this season, Jhonas Enroth is 3-0 with a 0.67 GAA, a .974 SV% and one shutout vs. Tucson.

The Roadrunners enter tonight having lost five consecutive games and only one win in their past 10 games (1-8-1-0). Last night Tucson visited Ontario where they fell 4-1 to the Reign despite 37 shots on net. Their power play could have been the difference on the night, going 0-for-6 against a stingy Reign defensive unit. Laurent Dauphin scored the lone goal while Adin Hill stopped 25-of-28 shots in the loss.

Tucson is led offensively by former Gull Chris Mueller who has scored 10 goals and added 31 assists to his name this season, good for 41 points. Rookie right wing Christian Fischer has had a stellar campaign to date, posting 18 goals and 18 assists (36 points) to lead club rookies and ranks tied for second in goals and third among league newcomers in points.

Adin Hill could get the start in a back-to-back situation as the only goaltender on the Roadrunners roster who has appeared in a contest this season. Hill (14-7-4) has posted a 2.87 GAA and .916 SV% this season with one shutout.

2017-02-18T10:04:02+00:00