Jan. 22, 2017
ONTARIO, Calif. – The San Diego Gulls (18-12-2-2, 40 pts.) saw their five-game win streak come to an end in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Ontario Reign (21-9-6-0; 48 pts.) at Citizens Business Bank Arena on Sunday afternoon. Johnny Brodzinski (1-0=1) scored the lone goal in the shootout and goaltender Jack Campbell (18-6-3) stopped 30-of-32 shots and as Ontario won for the fourth time in five meetings with San Diego.
Despite the shootout loss, San Diego has earned standings points in six consecutive games (5-0-0-1), 10 of the past 11 games (7-1-1-2) and 19 of the last 26 overall (16-7-1-2).
Gulls rookie goaltender Kevin Boyle (5-3-3) stopped 25-of-27 shots faced in the contest and has earned a 5-1-2 mark in his last eight starts, posting a 2.09 goals-against average (GAA) and .923 save percentage (SV%).
The Gulls got on the board first when Zac Larraza picked off Justin Auger’s pass in the Ontario zone, deked past a defenseman and wristed the puck past Campbell to put the Gulls ahead 1-0 at 17:14 of the first period. Larraza’s goal was his first since Nov. 19 vs. San Jose, and the forward made his first appearance since Nov. 27 due to an injury sustained at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Less than two minutes later 1:03 remaining in the opening frame, Johnny Brodzinski took a feed from Mike Amadio and his slap shot from the hash marks beat San Diego goaltender Kevin Boyle to tie the game 1-1 after one period of play.
Ontario responded with a stronger effort in the middle period and Bjorkstand gave the Reign a 2-1 lead at 9:57 when he finished off a centering pass from Sam Herr.
San Diego’s best opportunity in the second frame came from Chris Wagner shorthanded, but he couldn’t corral a rolling puck and his shot sailed wide on a breakaway. On the next shift, Teddy Purcell’s wrist shot from the left circle hit the post behind Boyle as the power play expired.
The Gulls peppered Campbell with 12 shots in the final frame, some of their best chances coming from Tyler Morley’s deflection and Keaton Thompson’s bid on the power play late in the period.
With Boyle pulled for an extra-attacker, San Diego’s hard work finally paid off when veteran Corey Tropp cleaned up a rebound off Brandon Montour’s shot that trickled to the side of Campbell’s net and the winger smashed the puck home to tie the game with 1:04 remaining in regulation.
Montour’s assist extended his point streak to a career-high seven games (6-6=12) and the game-tying goal from Tropp marked the third goal this season for San Diego with the goaltender pulled for an extra-attacker on the ice (also Nov. 18 vs. SJ (Kase, 18:59) and Dec. 6 vs. BAK (Noesen, 19:50)).
Neither team could find an answer in the final minute and the Southern California rivals headed a 3-on-3 overtime period for the second time in five meetings. Both clubs traded chances in the extra session, but neither could find the back of the net and for the first time this season the two teams headed to a shootout.
In the shootout, Brodzinski scored in the first round for the Reign and Campbell denied all three Gulls shooters (Roy, Wagner, Kossila) to keep the Reign atop the Pacific Division.
The Gulls continue their season-long five game road trip at Tucson on Wednesday, Jan. 25 (6:05 p.m.). San Diego returns home on Saturday, Feb. 4 to take on the Ontario Reign, (7 p.m.) at Valley View Casino Center for its second annual Pink in the Rink Night. Fans can purchase tickets by visiting AXS.com/Gulls or by phone at (619) 359-4730.
NOTES: Chris Wagner tallied an assist for the Gulls and has 2-2=4 points in four games played against the Reign this season…Kalle Kossila’s franchise record eight-game point streak (4-8=12) ended tonight…Ontario’s Johnny Brodzinski now has four goals in his last four games.
1. Johnny Brodzinski (ONT)
2. Patrick Bjorkstrand (ONT)
3. Jack Campbell (ONT)