Nov. 25, 2015

SAN DIEGO—The San Diego Gulls rallied with three straight goals to open the third period, but saw their comeback fall short in a 5-3 loss to the Texas Stars in front of 6,406 at Valley View Casino Center. The Stars (11-7-0-1) jumped out to a 4-0 lead before hanging on to capture consecutive California road games.

Trailing 4-0 entering the final period of play, the Gulls (9-7-0-1) saw the red light turn in their direction for the first time when Mike Sgarbossa celebrated his return to the San Diego roster after a four-game recall to the Anaheim Ducks, potting a shot from the slot for his third goal of the season, 2:47 into the frame. The Gulls quickly found another solution, with Joseph Cramarossa slamming home a rebound to the left of Stars goalie Jack Campbell, cutting the lead in half with 16:04 remaining in the game.

When Brandon Montour dove to nick a loose puck from behind Campbell’s skates and into the net at 7:03, the score was 4-3 Stars and the crowd was standing to try and propel the home team to finish the comeback. Texas had the final answer, with captain Travis Morin’s goal, re-establishing a two-goal lead for good.

A festive pre-Thanksgiving crowd had little to cheer for early as the Stars dominated puck possession early in the first period. A tripping penalty on the Gulls’ Brian McGrattan was converted by Texas, as Finnish defenseman Esa Lindell cleaned up from the right wing to cash in an extended rally with his first of two goals on the night.

The Gulls rallied behind a hard forecheck from McGrattan to regain a measure of control in the first, delivering fourteen hits to the Stars’ eleven, but a turnover at the Texas blue line turned into a breakaway for Stars forward Brenden Ranford, who beat San Diego goalie Matt Hackett with a backhand deke at 17:01 for a 2-0 lead.

The Stars doubled their lead in the second period, as rookie Devin Shore netted his thirteenth of the year, pouncing on a loose puck on the doorstep. In a span of 32 seconds the lead jumped from 3-0 to 4-0, as Texas’ Lindell scored his second of the night, beating Hackett between the pads at 11:00 for the eventual game-winning goal.

Max Friberg contributed a pair of assists for the Gulls, while the Stars’ Ranford earned the games top star with a goal and two assists.

San Diego returns to home ice after the Thanksgiving holiday, hosting the Ontario Reign on “Rivalry Night” at 7:05pm, with the first 5,000 fans receiving thundersticks courtesy of Wawanesa Insurance.