SAN DIEGO– The San Diego Gulls host the Ontario Reign tonight (7 p.m.) for the first rendition of Rivalry Night during the 2016-17 season. Tonight’s contest is the first of six Rivalry Night matchups in San Diego this season.
Ontario makes its first visit to Valley View Casino Center after the teams met in last season’s Pacific Division Finals of the Calder Cup Playoffs, where the Gulls eventually fell to the Reign four-games-to-one in the series with Ontario advancing to the Western Conference Finals. The teams will face off 12 times during the 2016-17 season, splitting the contests with six games in San Diego and six at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif. The Gulls were the only team in the AHL during the 2015-16 campaign to post a winning record against Ontario, going 8-4-0-0 versus the league’s top-ranked defense.
In the 2016-17 preseason, San Diego hosted the Reign on two occasions, a home-and-home series with contests on Oct. 6 at Citizen’s Business Bank Arena and Oct. 10 at Honda Center.
The Gulls won the preseason opener in a shootout over the Reign, 4-3, as Ondrej Kase netted the shootout winner for San Diego. Stefan Noesen scored twice, and Kevin Roy added another for the Gulls. Matt Hackett and Kevin Boyle (assigned to Utah (ECHL) on Oct. 9 split duties, with Boyle recording the victory after stopping Daniel Ciampini’s attempt.
The teams faced off again four days later at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., with San Diego jumping out to an early 3-0 lead with goals from Nick Tarnasky, Kevin Roy and Andy Welisnki. Ontario’s Justin Auger scored for the Reign, but Stefan Noesen made it a 4-1 shortly after, which eventually held up as the final score. The Gulls were outshot 32-20 in the game, but they made them count while San Diego goalie Dustin Tokarski shined with 31 saves.
Last night, the Gulls opened their second season in San Diego with a 5-3 win over the Tucson Roadrunners in front of 10,727 fans at Valley View Casino Center. Corey Tropp recorded 1-2=3 points, including San Diego’s first goal of the 2016-17 campaign, while Antoine Laganiere (2), Michael Sgarbossa and Kalle Kossila contributed goals for San Diego. Five Gulls recorded multi-point efforts, including Laganiere’s first multi-goal game of the season (2-0=2), Tropp’s three points (1-2=3) and multi-assist games from defensemen Andy Welisnki (0-2=2), Brandon Montour (0-2=2) and Shea Theodore (0-2=2). San Diego goaltender Dustin Tokarski registered his first win of the new campaign, stopping 29-of-32 shots, and making the saves he needed to keep San Diego ahead at crucial times.
All fans in attendance tonight will receive a magnet schedule courtesy of Dino’s Greek Cafe & Taverna.
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