March 17, 2017
The Gulls (35-15-3-2; 75 pts.) visit the San Antonio Rampage (24-32-4-1; 53 pts) to close out the season series with the first of a back-to-back matchup tonight at AT&T Center (5:30 p.m. PT, 1700-AM). The Gulls enter tonight with points in eight of the last nine games (7-1-1), wins in 17 of their last 21 contests (17-3-1) and 25 of the last 30 overall (24-4-1-1). San Diego has earned standings points in 12 of the last 24 games (11-2-1), 24 of the last 27 games (22-3-1-1) where the club has outscored opponents 94-52, as well as points in 28 of 32 contests since Christmas (24-4-2-2).
On the road, the Gulls have won eight of the past 10 games (8-1-1) and earned standings points in 14 of the last 15 contests (13-1-0-1) away from home dating back to Dec. 29. San Diego ranks second in the AHL in road win percentage (.635; 15-8-2-1) and has allowed the fewest goals in the league away from home (67). The Gulls have the second-best win percentage (.682) in the Western Conference and third-best in the AHL, while the club has allowed the second-fewest goals in the league (143). San Diego’s remaining 13 contests this season (five home, eight road) will come against Pacific Division opponents where the Gulls have posted a 29-14-2-2 record in the division.
The Gulls face off against the Rampage for the third of four matchups this season and the first at AT&T Center. San Diego is 7-1-0 all-time vs. the Rampage, including 3-0-0 in San Antonio. The Gulls have outscored the Rampage 30-17 in the eight games overall. The teams split a back-to-back matchup in San Diego on Jan. 6-7, with San Antonio taking the first contest by a 5-4 score line, and the Gulls prevailing, 3-2, in the second contest. Shea Theodore paces all active Gulls skaters with 3-4=7 points in five career contests while Corey Tropp leads San Diego forwards in points (2-3=5) and a team-best +9 rating.
In San Diego’s last game on Wednesday night at Valley View Casino Center, the Gulls topped the Stockton Heat by a 3-2 score in a tightly contested matchup that saw Tropp (2-0=2) score twice, including the game-winning goal. The two goals pushed Tropp to the 20 goal mark this season, matching the club record for goals scored in a season (Chris Mueller in 2015-16) and became the third player in franchise history to record 50 points in a season, joining Mueller (20-37=57) and Brandon Montour (12-45=57). The Michigan native has seven goals in his last seven games (7-3=10), points in eight of his last nine games (8-5=13) and 24 points (12G/12A) over his last 19 games. He also leads the Gulls in scoring (20-30=50), goals and power play goals (10), and he co-leads the club in assists.
Goaltender Dustin Tokarski (14-6-1) earned the win over Stockton on Wednesday night to improve to 5-0-1 in his last seven appearances. The Gulls have strong goaltending depth, with rookie Kevin Boyle (9-4-4) also posted a strong 9-2-3 record with one shutout, a 2.01 GAA and .931 SV% his last 14 appearances.
San Antonio enters tonight’s contest with wins in three straight games, but has been streak as they lost seven consecutive games prior to their current win streak. The Rampage sit at the bottom of the Pacific Division and well out of the playoff picture.
The Rampage are led offensively by Southern California native Rocco Grimaldi (25-19=44) who leads the club in goals, while the club also have a potent offensive threat in AHL All-Star A.J. Greer (15-22=37). Goaltender Spencer Martin has had the yeomen’s share of the work between the pipes this season, posting a 17-18-2 record with a 2.94 GAA and and .904 SV% in 38 appearances this season.