Dec. 3, 2016

STOCKTON, Calif. – The San Diego Gulls (10-5-1-0; 21 pts.) close out their back-to-back weekend series vs. the Stockton Heat (10-5-1-1; 22 pts.) tonight at Stockton Arena (7:30 p.m., stream only on The Gulls’ look to win their ninth straight game after a 3-2 shootout win last night over the Heat.

The Gulls’ current eight-game winning streak is the longest current such streak in the AHL and is tied for the longest in the AHL this season (also Lehigh Valley). The win streak now ranks as San Diego’s second-longest unbeaten run in franchise history since an 11-game unbeaten streak from Feb. 19-Mar. 16, 2016 (9-1-1).

Last night, Nick Sorensen scored in the seventh round of the shootout to give the Gulls the win and goaltender Dustin Tokarski was the star of the night, stopping a season-high 41 shots in regulation and overtime. Tokarski also denied five-of-seven shootout attempts to win his sixth consecutive game and improve his record to 8-2-0 this season. During his six-game win streak, Tokarski has posted a .925 SV% and a 2.07 GAA.

San Diego improved to 2-0 this season in shootouts and has earned an 8-4-1 record in back-to-back games this season (3-3-0 in the second matchup). The Gulls boast an 8-4-0 against the Pacific Division and with a win tonight and a Tucson Roadrunners loss, San Diego would jump to the top of the Pacific Division for the first time this season. Additionally, a win would give Gulls Head Coach Dallas Eakins his 50th win behind the bench with San Diego.

The Gulls are 7-5-3-1 all-time vs. the Heat and 3-2-3-1 record at Stockton Arena. Brandon Montour paces active Gulls skaters in scoring vs. Stockton with 1-7=8 points in 16 career contests. Stefan Noesen, who scored a shorthanded goal last night (his first since Feb. 26, 2016 at Stockton), leads the club with four goals (4-4=8 points) in 14 games against the division foe.

Right wing Corey Tropp leads all Gulls skaters in points (19) and assists (13) and ranks second on the club in goals (9). Tropp ranks in the top-10 among league leaders in points (T-8th)), assists (T-7th) and points-per game (T-6th, minimum 10 games) while rookie center Kevin Roy leads San Diego with eight goals and ranks tied for second among league rookies in goals scored.

Stockton is led by center Linden Vey who has earned more than a point per game with 6-8=14 points in 13 games this season to pace the Heat in both points and goals. Not far behind Vey is rookie left wing Andrew Mangiapane who has tallied 5-8=16 points in 14 games this season.

The Gulls have focused on defense during the club’s eight-game winning streak, allowing three goals or less in all eight and outscoring opponents by a 31-15 margin (1.88 goals against per game). In addition to an improved five-on-five defensive effort that has seen only 12 goals against at even strength during the streak, San Diego has killed 26 of the last 26 opposition power plays (89.7%). The Gulls are also 9-0-1 with a lead after two periods of play, and are 6-1-1 when scoring the game’s first goal. Overall, San Diego has a 9-1-1 record when allowing three goals or less in a contest.