Sept. 28, 2017

The 2017 preseason began today in a back-and-forth game that saw the Gulls fall 4-3 in a shootout to the Ontario Reign today at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

Tyler Soy, Kyle Thomas and Mitch Hults tallied goals for the Gulls and rookie goaltender Angus Redmond stopped 18-of-20 shots in 40 minutes of action. Goaltender Kevin Carr relieved Redmond to start the third period, stopping 24-of-25 shots in 25 minutes of action.

Matt Luff opened the scoring for Ontario with a breakaway goal at 9:07 of the first period. Luff was sprung behind the Gulls defense when Philippe Maillet’s pass split Bobby Shea and Eric Higby and as Luff was falling to the ice after an attempted dive by Higby to break up the play, Luff’s shot was lifted over the glove hand of Redmond.

Minutes later at 10:30 of the opening frame, Ontario right wing Sam Kurker scored his first of the preseason to double the lead to 2-0. Kurker’s snap shot snuck just inside the post past Redmond for a short-side tally.

Only 11 seconds later, Soy put San Diego on the board with a deflection in front from a Deven Sideroff point shot. Soy, a seventh round selection (205th overall) by Anaheim in the 2016 NHL Draft, positioned himself in front of Reign goaltender Cal Petersen and deftly redirected the puck through the former Notre Dame goaltender to make it a 2-1 game.

In a second period that featured numerous chances for both clubs, but it was the Gulls who made their mark at the end of the middle stanza when Thomas with 11.9 seconds remaining. In a net-front scramble, Nic Kerdiles poked at the puck and it caromed off Thomas and into the net to tie the game at 2-2.

Mitch Hults scored his first goal of the preseason after being assigned to San Diego earlier in the morning. Hults’ goal gave the Gulls the lead at 8:14 of the third period on a one-timer from the bottom of the circle from a cross-ice pass from Justin Hamonic.

The Gulls’ lead didn’t last long as Maillet tied the game at 3-3 only 2:20 after Hults had given San Diego the lead. Maillet deflected a cross-ice pass into the roof of the net past Carr who had previously stopped the first 10 shots he faced.

With eight minutes remaining on the clock, the Gulls penalty kill came up big, negating an Ontario power play while Grant Besse was in the penalty box for slashing. The Gulls took another penalty 39 seconds later, the Gulls penalty kill was forced to get right back it as Thomas was whistled for cross-checking. The Gulls killed off both penalties when the Reign took a slashing penalty with 4:50 remaining in the contest, but couldn’t convert on their final man advantage.

Ontario directed six shots at Carr during the extra frame, while the Gulls put up three in the extra session, but the game was destined for a shootout. Julius Nattinen scored the lone shootout goal for San Diego, and Philippe Maillet and Spencer Watson tallied for Ontario to give the Reign the 4-3 victory.

San Diego will host its first preseason contest on Saturday, Sept. 30 vs. the Tucson Roadrunners at Valley View Casino Center (7 p.m.) A Fan Fest will be held before the game from 5-7 p.m. in the North parking lot of the arena.

The Gulls 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

Three Stars:
1. S. Watson
2. M. Luff
3. T. Soy