Dec. 9, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa – Ryan White scored 87 seconds into overtime to give the Gulls a dramatic, 4-3 come-from-behind victory at Wells Fargo Arena to knock off the Iowa Wild. San Diego (10-11-1-0, 21 pts.) rallied from a 3-1 third period deficit to complete their second comeback win of the season and first overtime victory of the campaign as they completed their season-high five-game road-trip with wins in three of the final four games for a 3-2 record overall.

Eric Fehr scored two goals for San Diego, while Reto Berra (4-2-0) made 18 saves to win his third consecutive game of the season as the Gulls improved to 11-6-1-0 against the Central Division all-time and a perfect 3-0 over Iowa.

“We really wanted to get this one,” said Fehr following the game. “It was important for us to finish off the road trip on a positive note and I thought we brought great energy in the third and made a good effort in the comeback.”

“We’re trying to help out in any way we can, whether it’s in the room or on the ice,” added Fehr. “We’re trying to bring it every night for the team and it was great to finally be able to chip in and really help the guys in a big win for us. I think this one can be a big turning point for us. We had some great energy down the stretch.”

In a scoreless first period that was a tight-checking affair, a stingy Gulls defense held Iowa (11-8-5-0) to two shots, the fewest San Diego has allowed in period this season.

The second period opened with an unfortunate gaffe for the Gulls as Berra misplayed a puck which in turn gave Iowa left wing Mario Lucia a yawning net. Lucia did not miss his opportunity, beating the sprawling Berra and putting Iowa up 1-0 at 5:44.

The home team would double their lead just over two minutes later at 7:57 when Sam Anas was able to control a rebound and find the back of the net.

San Diego would pull one back with Fehr’s first of the game at the 9:58 mark following a strong sequence that started when rookie defenseman Marcus Pettersson fired a puck from left point with his initial shot blocked, and a Ryan White follow-up shot blocked as well. The rebound was nudged by rookie Alex Dostie to Fehr who backhanded the puck over Iowa goaltender Niklas Svedberg (6-7-2) to record his fourth goal of the season and cut the deficit to 2-1.

The Gulls entered the third period trailing 2-1, and a Justin Kloos power play goal only one minute into the third period put San Diego back into a two-goal deficit. The Iowa goal came just seconds after Svedberg came up with a shorthanded save on a Fehr breakaway attempt.

San Diego’s comeback was back on as Fehr would find the back of the net for the second time on the night at 9:25 when he located Steve Oleksy’s point shot off the pads of Svedberg, and he chipped the rebound home to make it a 3-2 game. Scott Sabourin also recorded an assist on the play, extending his point streak (2-2=4) to a career-high four games.

San Diego evened things up at 3-3 at 11:18 when Mitch Hults and Corey Tropp cycled the puck down low, with Tropp able to connect with Kalle Kossila on a backhand pass that the Finnish center quickly snapped over the glove of Svedberg for his fourth goal of the season. The teams continued a back-and-forth conclusion to regulation without a winner as 60 minutes would not be enough.

The winning sequence began when Pettersson set Giovanni Fiore free on a breakaway, and as the rookie left wing was hauled down by an Iowa defender, the ensuing collision between a charging Svedberg and his own defenseman allowed White to fire the puck into an empty net from a harsh angle at the bottom of the circle. The overtime winner by White was his first career AHL OT goal and first tally as a Gull to conclude the season-long trek.

“You are taught as a kid that if the guys has a breakaway to just keep your feet moving and follow up for a rebound,” said White. “It kind of worked out in my favor tonight. I was a little shocked when I got the puck and to have the open net and I wanted to make sure that I out it away.”

“I think any team you’re on you want to make the playoffs. We’re in a little bit of a spot here and need to get moving here and to pick up four points out of six points on the trip is big and we have to go back home here and get back to work.”

San Diego returns home to begin a three-game homestand on Wednesday, Dec. 13 against the Stockton Heat at Valley View Casino Center (7 p.m. PT).

Three Stars:
1. R. White (SD)
2. S. Anas (IA)
3. E. Fehr (SD)