Nov. 11, 2017
The Gulls continue their season-long five-game homestand tonight against the Ontario Reign at Valley View Casino Center (7 p.m., Mighty 1090-AM) as the third annual Military Weekend culminates with Rivalry Night.
Coming off a 6-3 loss last night to the Stockton Heat, the Gulls (5-6-1-0, 11 pts.) know they need to be better, especially with their starts. Gulls defenseman Steve Oleksy discussed just that following last night’s game, and the Gulls will lean on the veterans in their lineup to get back on track tonight following adversity early on.
“I think it’s on individuals. It’s on each and every guy in the room,” said Oleksy. “Everyone prepares differently for games. We do tend to start slow. Some guys may have to change up their routines.”
“We have a lot of young guys, a lot of new faces, but we have to start learning from mistakes. I think the attitude is we are going to. I think it’s going to take something from every guy in the locker room. I think we are going to continue to learn and bring a positive attitude.”
The Gulls will get the opportunity to get right back at it tonight against their rivals from the Inland Empire. San Diego and Ontario face off for the third of 12 meetings this season. The two clubs split a home-and-home, back-to-back matchup one week ago, with Ontario prevailing 1-0 at Valley View Casino Center despite a franchise-tying 41 saves from Gulls goaltender Leland Irving.
San Diego won the following matchup with a 4-3 shootout win at Citizens Business Bank Arena behind Reto Berra’s 38-save performance in his Gulls debut. All-time, the Gulls are 15-9-1-1 vs. Ontario in the regular season, including 6-6-1-0 at home and 9-3-0-1 on road.
Entering tonight marks the Reign’s lone matchup over a 13-day period, a stark difference from where San Diego concludes their third game in four nights.
Ontario visit Valley View Casino Center on a season-high four-game point streak (3-0-0-1), whereas San Diego has dropped the first two games of their five-game homestand.
The Reign are led by left wing Michael Mersch, who comes into tonight’s contest with nine points (4-5=9) in 10 games this. Right wing Jonny Brodzinski (3-4=7) is right behind him with seven points in his seven games. The Gulls will also have to contend with netminders Jack Campbell (2-3-1) who has a 2.84 GAA and a .907 SV% or rookie Cal Petersen (1-3-0). Petersen has posted a 1.96 GAA and .927 SV% in his first four appearances of the season.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins knows that for his team to rebound his team will have to give more than they have in their last two games.
“I think there is more. I have to believe that there is more,” said Eakins when addressing the effort level of his players. “Sometimes when there is adversity you want to feel sorry for yourself and take your foot off the pedal. I am encouraging the opposite.”
Fans are encouraged to arrive early for the first Bud Light Pre-game Tailgate in the North parking lot from 5-7 p.m.