January 15, 2016

ONTARIO, Calif. – The San Diego Gulls dropped a 5-0 decision to the Ontario Reign in front of a spirited crowd of 9,491 at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Jordan Samuels-Thomas scored twice and Vincent LoVerde earned top star with a goal and two assists as the first place Reign (20-9-2-1) snapped a four-game losing streak against San Diego.

In a game pitting two bitter Southern California rivals against one another, Ontario would jump out in the first period, out-shooting San Diego 14-to-5 in the opening twenty minutes. The Gulls (17-15-1-1) had the game’s first power play and generated several good chances, but couldn’t best Budaj.

Entering the night with the most penalty minutes per game in the AHL, the Gulls took four minors in the first period, killing 1:32 of two-man advantage and stopping the first three Ontario power plays. The fourth would prove to be the killer as Vincent LoVerde faked a slap shot from the point then shot on second chance, his drive deflected by Derek Army, who pounced on his own rebound behind San Diego goalie Anton Khudobin and into the net with at 19:33 for a 1-0 Reign lead.

Ontario entered the night 16-0-1-0 when scoring first, 12-0 when leading after the opening period and 16-0 when leading after two. The Gulls hoped to even the score early in the second period, but instead saw LoVerde repeat his scoring move, faking a shot from the point before flipping his second chance shot high over the shoulder of Khudobin to make it 2-0 Reign at 2:22.

Nic Dowd made it 3-0 Ontario later in the third, finishing a one-time bid, below the hash marks between the circles, fed perfectly from the side wall by Jonny Brodzinski. The Reign poured it on in the third, with Jordan Samuels-Thomas netting a pair of goals, including a short-hander at 18:06 to cap the scoring.

The Gulls, 0-3-1 in their last four games, return to home ice on Saturday night when they play host to the Texas Stars, a 7:05 p.m. faceoff at Valley View Casino Center.

NOTES:  The Gulls listed eight injury scratched forwards for the second straight game…San Diego signed Rocco Carzo to a Professional Try Out (PTO) from the ECHL Missouri Mavericks; the Gulls are currently carrying four players on PTOs due to the flood of injuries…Dustin Tokarski was activated for the first time this season and served as the backup to Anton Khudobin in net; Tokarski was acquired for forward Max Friberg last week…Justin Auger, Jeff Schultz, Derek Forbort, Valentin Zykov and Sean Backman recorded lone assists for Ontario…the Gulls were shut out for the fourth time this season, all on the road.


1st Star: ONT Vincent LoVerde (1-2=3); 2nd Star: ONT Peter Budaj (27 saves, shutout); 3rd star:  ONT Jordan Samuels-Thomas (2-0=2)