Nov. 17, 2017

The Gulls are back in action this weekend as they conclude a season-long five-game homestand with a back-to back set against the Tucson Roadrunners at Valley View Casino Center (7 p.m., FOX 5 San Diego, Mighty 1090-AM). San Diego will be looking to break a three game setback and jump back into the win column.

Gulls left wing Greger Hanson knows the team will need to improve their performance to snap the skid as the team has been working with heightened detail in practice the past three days to ensure they accomplish that.

“We know the last two weekends have not been acceptable,” said Hanson. “We are just working hard, trying to work on what we need and so far it is looking really good so I am excited for the weekend. We have been working on some of the details we have been lacking in.”

Hanson added that having better starts and getting the game’s first goal will do wonders to boost confidence throughout the team.

“We have to get in there earlier and get some shots on net,” added the Lindingo, Sweden native. “Fast starts are important. Getting the first goal is going to be huge.”

For Head Coach Dallas Eakins, he is challenging his players to execute the style of play they have spent the week reviewing at THE RINKS – Poway ICE.

“Now it’s an issue of execution,” said Eakins. “We practiced extremely hard this week and we are looking forward to the weekend.”

All-time, San Diego has earned an 11-1-0-1 record to collect points in 12 of the 13 matchups vs. the Roadrunners. San Diego won the lone matchup between the two clubs this season on Opening Night, overcoming an early two-goal deficit to rally for a wild 7-6 win at Tucson Arena on Oct. 7. In San Diego, the Gulls have a 4-1-0-1 record, while going a perfect 7-0 in Tucson. The Gulls have outscored Tucson 59-30, averaging 4.5 goals per game.

Corey Tropp (7-8=15) leads all active Gulls skaters in goals and points vs. Tucson, while defenseman Andy Welinski leads club defensemen with 4-6=10 points career points, including the first hat trick in club history (3-1=4) on Mar. 31, 2017 @ TUC. Kevin Boyle has earned wins in all three career stars vs. Tucson (3-0-0) with a 2.67 GAA and .928 SV%.

Tucson (8-1-2-0, 18 pts.) enters the weekend on an impressiverun, having not lost in regulation since the aforementioned Opening Night loss against the Gulls, the lone regulation lost for the Arizona Coyotes affiliate. The Roadrunners are led in scoring by Dylan Strome (3-12=15 points), the first round selection (3rd overall) of the Arizona Coyotes in 2015. Nick Merkley (8-5=13), another Coyotes first round selection from that same 2015 NHL Draft (30th overall) adds another scoring punch to a skilled forward group. Leading Tucson between the pipes is Hunter Miska who has opened his campaign at 5-0-0-0 in addition to time spent in the NHL with the Coyotes. Miska led the University of Minnesota-Duluth to the Frozen Four just a season ago before joining the Roadrunners prior to this season.

“This year they have much more skill,” said Eakins, who knows that this weekend provides a great chance for his team to make a statement to their division rival and get back on track in front of their home fans. “I think this is going to be a great measuring stick for us.”

“I always look at every moment as an opportunity,” he added.