May 5, 2016
GAME PREVIEW: Game 1 of the Pacific Division Finals Set for Tonight in Ontario (7:05 p.m. PT)
The San Diego Gulls (3-1) beat the Texas Stars in Round 1 of the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs and will face the Ontario Reign in the Pacific Division Finals. San Diego’s Round 1 victory over the Texas Stars marks the Gulls’ first playoff series victory in the American Hockey League (AHL).
The Gulls, who outscored the Stars 16-9 in four games, will meet the reigning Calder Cup Champions (formerly the Manchester Monarchs) in a best-of-seven series that will follow a 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 format, beginning in Ontario on May 5 at 7 p.m. PDT. The series opens in San Diego on Saturday, May 7 (7:05 p.m. PDT) at Valley View Casino Center.
This marks the first postseason meeting between San Diego and Ontario in team history. The two clubs faced each other 12 times during the regular season with San Diego taking the series 8-4-0 over the Reign. Brandon Montour (1-7=8) and Chris Mueller (1-7=8) led San Diego skaters in points during the regular season series while Mike Sgarbossa (4-3=7) and Nic Kerdiles (4-0=4) led the team in goals against the Reign.
Adrian Kempe (5-2=7) and Vincent LoVerde (1-6=7) paced Reign skaters in points against San Diego while Kempe and Michael Mersch (5-1=6) led the team in goals.
In net, San Diego’s Anton Khudobin and Matt Hackett have, for the most part, split the work with Khudobin appearing in seven games against the Reign, posting a 5-2-0 record with a 2.25 goals-against average (GAA) and a .929 save percentage (SV%), and Hackett appearing in three games vs. the Reign, going 2-1-0 with a 2.03 GAA and .919 SV%.
Ontario’s Peter Budaj, who led the league in GAA (1.75), SV% (.932) and wins (42) during the regular season, is likely to appear in net for Ontario. Budaj went 4-5-2 in 11 games against San Diego, posting a below average 2.00 GAA and .921 SV%.
Puck drop for tonight’s Game 1 is set for 7:00pm PT at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Live game play-by-play will be broadcast on ESPN 1700AM and live game stream can be accessed via AHLLive.com.