February 6, 2016
SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Gulls scored three goals in a 2:35 stretch of the second period, building a 3-0 lead before holding on for a 4-1 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals in front of 8,560 fans at Valley View Casino Center. Kyle Bonis netted a pair for San Diego (21-18-1-1) while Kyle McKinnon added his first goal of the year and an assist.
Chris Mueller also scored for San Diego, while the Gulls snapped an Admirals six-game point streak. Milwaukee (28-14-3-0) was held to Stefan Elliott’s power play goal in the second period, a lone tally after scoring fourteen goals over their past two games.
Gulls net-minder Anton Khudobin won his second straight contest, stopping 30-of-31 shots faced, including 11 saves in a scoreless first period. Khudobin improved to 6-5-1 on the season while lowering his goals-against average (GAA) to 2.59.
San Diego exploded out of the first intermission on a goal-scoring flurry. For the second straight night, the Gulls’ lid lifter came from their fourth line, as Kyle Bonis finished assists from Bryan Moore and Brandon Montour at 3:48 of the second period for his third goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
The Gulls doubled their lead less than a minute later, when Chris Mueller picked off an errant pass at center ice and led a 2-on-3 break with Nick Ritchie. After a pass to right wing, Ritchie drifted toward the wall to create space before re-feeding Mueller, who deflected the puck top shelf over Admirals goalie Jusse Saros for his eighth goal of the year and a 2-0 advantage at 4:43.
Antoine Laganiere, impacting the game on the forecheck for the Gulls for the second straight game, fed McKinnon alone at point blank range from behind the net for his first goal of the season and a 3-0 lead at 6:23 of the second to complete the scoring flurry.
Elliott’s power play score off a Trevor Murphy dot-to-dot pass in the zone narrowed the San Diego advantage to 3-1 at 12:42 of the second, but the Admirals could not further penetrate the Gulls defense, and Bonis’ empty net, short handed goal at 18:33 of the third, on a McKinnon steal and assist, concluded the scoring.
The Gulls’ win, combined with a San Jose Barracuda loss in Ontario on Saturday night, allows San Diego to sneak .002 ahead of San Jose for third place in the AHL Pacific Division. The Gulls return to Valley View Casino Center to conclude a four-game homestand on Wednesday, February 10 when they host the Bakersfield Condors for a 7:05 p.m. faceoff.
NOTES: The Gulls are now 16-0-0-1 when scoring the game’s first goal, and 17-0-0 when leading after forty minutes of play…Brandon Montour’s first period assist was his team-leading 27th assist and 33rd point of the year…Jaycob Megna picked up a lone assist for San Diego…the Gulls are 19-5-0-1 when scoring three goals or more, and 19-1-1-0 when allowing two goals or fewer…San Diego snapped a four-game losing streak against AHL Central Division teams, improving to 2-4-0 on the season with two games remaining in Charlotte.
1st Star: SD Kyle McKinnon (1-1=2); 2nd Star: SD Anton Khudobin (30 saves on 31 shots); 3rd Star: MIL Stefan Elliott (1-0=1)