Feb. 4, 2017
SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Gulls (23-12-2-2, 50 pts.) won their fifth game in a row and extended their unbeaten run to 11 games, the longest streak in the AHL this season, in a 2-0 shutout win over the Ontario Reign (23-9-8-0; 54 pts.) in front 12,275 fans at Valley View Casino Center on Saturday night. Antoine Laganiere scored both of San Diego’s goals and goaltender Jhonas Enroth (9-1-0-0) stopped 25 shots to earn his second shutout in his last three starts.
The win extended San Diego’s unbeaten run to 11 games (10-0-0-1), the longest unbeaten stretch in the AHL since Grand Rapids went 15 consecutive games unbeaten from Nov. 18 to Dec. 26, 2015, and ties the longest in club history, an 11-game point streak from Feb. 19 to Mar. 16, 2016. The Gulls have also won 12 of the last 14 games (12-1-0-1), and have earned standings points in 15 of the past 16 games (12-1-1-2) and 24 of the last 31 overall (21-7-1-2).
Enroth recorded his seventh consecutive win since being acquired by the Anaheim Ducks from the Toronto Maple Leafs and has earned a 7-0-0 record with the Gulls, posting a 0.99 goals-against average (GAA) and .962 save percentage (SV%).
“When you get on rolls like this, every night it’s something different,” said Gulls head Coach Dallas Eakins. “Tonight it was our penalty kill, sometimes it’s our power play, the execution of our systems or our goaltending. There’s been a lot of bright stars along the way. We’ll enjoy this one for 24 hours and get back to work.”
A scoreless first period saw the clubs trade chances as the Gulls outshot Ontario 12-5. San Diego’s best chance of the frame came on a late power play when Ontario netminder Jack Campbell stopped Antoine Laganiere’s backhand bid above the crease.
The teams remained scoreless after two periods thanks to great goaltending on both ends. Early in the middle stanza, Campbell made a glove save off Chris Wagner’s shorthanded breakaway to keep the game scoreless. The rest of the frame belonged to San Diego goaltender Jhonas Enroth.
The Gulls ran into penalty trouble, taking four minors in the period and looked to the Swedish veteran goaltender to shut the door. Enroth responded with big saves on the Reign’s five-on-three man advantage and a four-minute man-advantage late in the period.
San Diego came out a step ahead of the visitors in the third period and generated a couple of early power plays. The Gulls finally solved Campbell when Andy Welinski’s point shot ricocheted onto the stick of Antoine Laganiere who made no mistake to break the scoreless tie.
“They are always tough to play against and we usually don’t score many goals against them,” said Laganiere of Ontario. “We’re two pretty good defensive teams so whoever got that first goal was going to be confident the rest of the game.”
At 12:54 Laganiere took a feed from Corey Tropp and blasted a shot past Campbell to push San Diego’s lead to 2-0. The 26-year-old has 4-1=5 points in his last six games and is now tied for the team lead with 12 goals on the season.
San Diego hits the road for three contests next week against Bakersfield (Tuesday, Feb. 7), San Jose (Wednesday, Feb. 8) and Ontario (Friday, Feb. 10). The Gulls return home on Sunday, Feb. 12 to take on the Bakersfield Condors, (5 p.m.) at Valley View Casino Center. The game will be televised by FOX 5 San Diego throughout San Diego. Fans can purchase tickets by visiting AXS.com/Gulls or by phone at (619) 359-4730.
NOTES: The Gulls improved to 7-6-1-0 in the second game of back-to-backs and 15-3-1-1 when scoring a power-play goal…Corey Tropp tallied two assists in his team-leading 11th multi-point game of the season and has 4-6=10 points in his last seven games…San Diego went a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill and has killed off 32 of the last 35 opponent opportunities (91.4%)…Ontario goaltender Jack Campbell (20-7-5) stopped 27-of-29 shots in his 12th loss of the season…Campbell made his 25th consecutive start.
1. Antoine Laganiere (SD)
2. Jhonas Enroth (SD)
3. Corey Tropp (SD)