The San Diego Gulls continue their First Round series against the Ontario Reign with Game 3 tonight at Valley View Casino Center (7 p.m., ESPN 1700-AM). The Gulls tied their First Round series, 1-1, against the Ontario Reign with a 2-1 win at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Ontario took Game 1 by a 3-2 score in front of rowdy crowd 9,075 fans at Valley View Casino Center last Friday night. Ontario forward Jonny Brodzinski scored the game-winning goal with 11.7 seconds left in regulation and netminder Jack Campbell made 32 saves as the Reign took a 1-0 series lead.
“It looked like that one was going to a fourth period,” said Dallas Eakins on the game. “That’s the kind of game we are going to get. They are going to be close and the team that leaves the least amount on the table is going to win.”
Nick Sorensen (0-2=2) scored two goals in a span of 31 seconds in the first period of Game 2 to give the Gulls an early lead that they eventually held onto as the club evened the series at 1-1 with a 2-1 victory at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Sorensen set the club record for rookie goals in a game (2) and became the fourth Gull to score two goals in a playoff game.
“I love the way our guys responded,” said Eakins. “It started last (Friday) night after the game. I was reading some of the media clips and I loved how our guys were supporting each other. I think that rolled right into today. We were very calm, we knew what our task was and we were able to get it done.”
“I mean it’s just really fun,” said Sorensen. “We try to come out there and just enjoy it.”
“It was a big one. We knew we had to bounce back and try to get some early momentum, and lucky enough we got two quick ones there. It was good for us during the whole game to have that momentum we had there in the beginning.”
Jhonas Enroth (1-1) made 23 saves en route to his first win of the series and third career postseason victory. Lifetime against Ontario, Enroth has posted a 5-2 record with a 1.99 goals-against average (GAA) and a .925 save percentage (SV%).
“He’s a key player to our team,” said Sorensen. “He obviously brings a lot to every game. You have that security knowing that your goalie is going to be on top every night.”
San Diego enters tonight with a 2-0 all-time record in Game 3, marking the club’s best win percentage (1.000) of any game in a series. San Diego currently co-leads AHL teams in penalty killing (6-for-6, 100.0) and shorthanded goals (1), and has a 20 percent power-play percentage through the two games. On the other end, Ontario is 1-2 all-time in Game 3 and has been outscored by an 8-3 margin.
The Gulls return to home-ice at Valley View Casino Center with San Diego winning nine of its last 12 games (9-2-0-0, 0-1 playoffs) and posting a 15-4-0-0 record at home dating back to Jan. 7 (15-3-0-0 regular season, 0-1 playoffs).
“It’s our home rink and we play pretty darn well there,” said defenseman Jaycob Megna. “We just have to play the way we can and
Nick Sorensen (2-0=2), Kalle Kossila (1-1=2), Corey Tropp (0-2=2) and Antoine Laganiere (0-2=2) co-lead the Gulls in series scoring while the Reign are led offensively by Brodzinski (2-0=2), Sam Herr (0-2=2) and Adrian Kempe (0-2=2).
“He’s been a shooter since junior, he’s got a heavy shot, gets to the right areas at the right time and he’s a finisher,” said Gulls defenseman Brian Cooper on Brodzinski. “He takes care of his opportunities when he gets them, he’s just got a good shot and that’s what they want him to do.”
“They are a big, physical group up there,” Cooper continued. “So we need to make sure that we take care of business.”
With six days off between the games, the Gulls are itching to start tonight’s pivotal Game 3.
“It gives you lot of time to cover your bases,” added Eakins when asked about the long layoff between games. “We are excited to be in the playoffs and we want to play. I could feel it today at practice. The guys are done practicing and they want to play.”