Oct. 28, 2017

SAN ANTONIO – The Gulls (4-3-1-0, 9 pts.) scored four first period goals and were backstopped by 27 saves from Leland Irving’s first win of the season as they defeated the San Antonio Rampage (6-2-0-0, 12 pts.) 5-3 at AT&T Center. Kevin Roy recorded a goal and two assists, while Spencer Abbott recorded two assists to help San Diego improve wrap up a successful two-game road trip that saw the Gulls take three out of a possible four points. San Diego knocked off the Pacific Division-leading Rampage, while handing Spencer Martin (4-1-0-0) his first loss of the season. The Gulls improved to 6-0-0-0 all-time at the AT&T Center and 10-1-0-0 overall against San Antonio.

Just as he did a night ago at Texas, Gulls rookie Julius Nattinen opened the scoring 54 seconds into the contest, this time potting a rebound after Jeff Schultz’s point shot from the left point. The goal was the fourth-fastest to begin a game in San Diego franchise history. The Gulls’ momentum would be briefly stalled as they preceded to take four straight minor penalties, and with the Rampage on a 5-on-3 man advantage, Samuel Blais was able to find open ice in the slot and beat Irving on his glove side to knot the game. Prior to the goal, San Diego had not allowed a power-play goal on 14 attempts.

The Gulls quickly regained the momentum however when Kevin Roy finished off a perfectly timed Austin Ortega pass at 13:02. Roy originally whiffed on his initial shot, but stuck with it to bury his attempt past Martin for his fourth goal of the season. San Diego then tacked on a 3-on-3 power play goal at 16:46 when Sam Carrick knocked home a rebound following Roy’s wrist shot from the top of the slot. The power play goal extended the Gulls’ franchise-record eight consecutive games with a goal on the man advante. Spencer Abbott drew an assist on the goal to extend his point streak to a season-high four games (2-4=6).

“We needed to start early and that’s what we did today,” said Roy. “They tried to emphasize on those calls. There was a lot of slashing in those first two periods. They were calling it tight. We just tried to have a good kill and a good power play to get the momentum on our side.

The Gulls were not done for the period, however, as rookie Deven Sideroff curled through the slot before roofing a wrist shot into the top corner just after a power play expired with 13.1 seconds remaining in the period, notching his first professional goal. Kevin Roy picked up an assist on the play for his third point of the period to mark his second career three-point game (1-2=3), set two weeks ago on Oct. 14 vs. Texas.

“We talked about (a strong start),” said Sideroff. “We got a lot of rest last night and this morning, and I think it was one of our best games coming out hot this season.”

“It was great to be on the power play there and Pettersson was going across the blue line so he gave me the puck there. As soon as he gave me the puck I wanted to get it off my stick as fast as I could and before I knew it, it was in the back of the net. I realized it was my first goal and that made me really excited.”

The second period had a quieter start as the two teams exchanged a series of minor penalties. It would heat back up later in the period when Gulls defenseman Andy Welinski scored his second goal of the season after the his point shot deflected off of a Rampage player to give the Gulls their largest lead of the night at 15:11 of the period.

San Antonio came with an expected third period push, firing 11 shots on Irving from as they scrambled to cut the four-goal lead down. Felix Girard tipped home a Klim Kostin shot at the 8:20 mark to pull the Rampage within three, and with an extra attacker on the ice Brady Shaw further closed the gap with just 1:02 remaining when he scored after San Antonio had pulled Martin. That would be all the scoring on the night as the Rampage could not pull any closer and Irving earned his first win of the season after seeing 30 shots.

“We tried to learn to play with the lead,” added Roy. “After the last couple pf games they have come back. I think we did a good job today of holding on to the puck and putting it in deep just to kill time and get the two points.”

The Gulls will return to San Diego to face the Ontario Reign on Friday, Nov. 3 at Valley View Casino Center (7 p.m. PT) in the first of 12 matchups between the Southern California rivals. All fans in attendance will receive a blue mustache as part of the Gulls’ month-long celebration of Movember and men’s health initiatives.

Three Stars:
1. K. Roy (SD)
2. D. Sideroff (SD)
3. S. Blais (SA)