Sept. 30, 2017

The San Diego Gulls host the Tucson Roadrunners tonight at Valley View Casino Center in the second contest of their 2017 preseason at 7 p.m. Tonight’s contest marks the first preseason game the club has held in America’s Finest City since the club’s inception in 2015.

In 2016-17 the Gulls and Roadrunners met 12 times in the regular season, with San Diego posting a 10-1-0-1 record overall and a 4-1-0-1 mark at home. San Diego averaged over four goals per game vs. Tucson a season ago (4.3), while allowing the Roadrunners to 2.0 goals per game.

The Gulls are looking to bounce back from a 4-3 shootout loss in their preseason opener at Ontario on Thursday, but head coach Dallas Eakins is eyeing his team to improve on the offensive part of the game moving forward, and tonight’s contest will give them the opportunity to do just that.

“That’s something we will really get after,” said Eakins in reference to focusing on the team’s offensive output. “It will be something that we will hammer on daily.”

With nine players assigned from the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, the lineup should have a different look to it today. Forwards Sam Carrick, Scott Sabourin, Corey Tropp, Mitch Hults and Mike Liambas, in addition to defensemen Andy Welinski, Marcus Pettersson, Steven Oleksy and Brian Cooper.

Andy Welinski, returning from his second Anaheim Ducks Training Camp, is looking forward to getting his season in San Diego underway. The former third-round selection of the Ducks in 2012 is setting the foundation for a season to come in which the second-year pro has the opportunity to take the next step as a cornerstone on defense in San Diego, and one of the first names mentioned should Anaheim need another defenseman this season.

“It’s important to get started off on the right foot and be prepared mentally and physically,” said Welinski. “The goal is to get ready to win hockey games but also put yourself in a position to get a call-up.”

Center Sam Carrick was most looking forward to the development of continuity amongst teammates new and old with tonight’s preseason tilt, with a focus on getting acclimated with new teammates.

“(We need to) get all our systems ready to go, maybe build a little chemistry with some linemates, just work hard,” said Carrick, who signed a contract extension with the Ducks in June. With 139 points (55G/84A) in 264 AHL contests on his resume, Carrick is looking to establish some team goals as well after deciding to return with the organization when he could have tested free agency.

“It’s good, this is one of the spots that I definitely wanted to go back to,” he added. “It’s a good fit. Last year’s playoff run left me wanting more.”

In addition to the game, a Fan Fest will be held before the game from 5-7 p.m. in the North parking lot of the arena.

San Diego will also host the Ontario Reign on Monday, Oct. 2 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. (7 p.m.). The game and parking will be free of charge to all fans. Fans can register for free tickets at