Feb. 14, 2017
SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Gulls (27-13-2-2, 58 pts.) won their sixth consecutive home game and earned their ninth win in the last 10 games in a 5-1 victory over the Iowa Wild (25-20-5-2; 57 pts.) in front of 6,764 fans at Valley View Casino Center on Tuesday night. The six straight wins at home match a club record set twice previously from Nov. 11, 2016-Dec. 6, 2016 and Oct. 10, 2015-Nov. 11, 2015.
San Diego snapped Iowa’s nine-game road win streak and has now won 16 of the last 19 games (16-2-0-1) overall. The Gulls have also earned standings points in 15 of the last 16 games (14-1-0-1) while outscoring their opponents 59-23 over that span.
“We’re a hard team to matchup with right now,” said head Gulls coach Dallas Eakins. “Our makeup as a team right now is excellent. Everybody is firing on all cylinders and there is a real selfless commitment in all areas of the ice.”
The Gulls opened the scoring at 9:50 of the first period when Jordan Samuels-Thomas took a feed from Ryan Garbutt and roofed a wrist shot past Iowa goaltender Steve Michalek for his 10th goal of the campaign. Samuels-Thomas recorded his first-multi point game of the season and now has a career high three-game goal scoring streak, surpassing his previous high of two games set three times (last: Nov. 11-12, 2016).
“It feels good to contribute consistently with points over the past few games,” said Samuels-Thomas. “Our line has been playing the right way lately and we have been rewarded.”
With only 34 seconds remaining in the opening frame, Teemu Pulkkinen tied the game with a blast above the left circle that beat Gulls netminder Jhonas Enroth. Enroth (12-2-0) stopped 20-of-21 shots to improve to 11-1-0 with a 1.18 GAA and .954 SV% since being acquired by the Anaheim Ducks from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 10.
San Diego scored three goals in the second period to jump out to a 4-1 lead over the Wild. In the first five minutes of the second period the Gulls pressured Iowa with a heavy forecheck that resulted in two power-play opportunities.
The home club cashed in on the second man advantage at 4:41 as Andy Welinski’s slap shot beat a screened Michalek to put San Diego ahead 2-1.Welinski later added a helper, marking his third multi-point game of the season with a goal and assist.
Jaycob Megna added to the Gulls lead a little over two minutes later with his fourth of the season as he took a feed from Nic Kerdiles and wristed a shot past Michalek. Megna leads all active Gulls defenseman in points 4-15=19 and has collected 4-12=16 points in his last 22 games.
At 12:44 of the middle frame, Scott Sabourin extended San Diego’s lead to 4-1 as he finished off a two-on-one with a wrist shot that fluttered off Michalek’s glove and into the net.
The Gulls kept the pressure on in the final frame with 12 shots on goal and pushed their lead to 5-1 on Tyler Morley’s late third period goal. Morley’s tally at 16:01 of the period was his second goal of the season.
The Gulls hit the road for a meeting with the Bakersfield Condors on Friday, Feb. 17 (7 p.m.). San Diego returns home the next night to kick off a three-game homestand on Feb. 18 (7 p.m.) against the Tucson Roadrunners at Valley View Casino Center. Fans can purchase tickets by visiting AXS.com/Gulls or by phone at (619) 359-4730.
NOTES: Nick Sorensen registered two assists in his third multi-point game of the season and now has points in three consecutive games (1-3=4) matching a career-high (Nov. 26-Nov. 30) from earlier this campaign…Kevin Roy recorded two assists and has helpers in three-straight games (0-4=4)…Ryan Garbutt tallied an assist and has 2-1=3 points in his last four games…Nic Kerdiles, Max Gortz and Brian Cooper each added assists for San Diego…Iowa goaltender Steve Michalek made 34 saves and fell to 10-10-1 in his second loss to the Gulls this season.
1. Jordan Samuels-Thomas (SD)
2. Andy Welinski (SD)
3. Jaycob Megna (SD)