April 7, 2017
The Gulls (40-19-3-2, 85 pts.) were shutout, 4-0, by the Ontario Reign (34-20-10-0; 78 pts.) in front of 12,071 fans at Valley View Casino Center on Friday night. Ontario goaltender Jack Campbell (30-14-6) made 30 saves in his fifth shutout of the season and eight different Ontario skaters notched a point as the Reign clinched their second consecutive Calder Cup playoff berth.
“Tonight just got a little out of reach for us,” said Gulls defenseman Jeff Schultz. “We just want to regroup and hopefully get a better result tomorrow.”
Despite their second consecutive loss, the Gulls have posted an impressive 12-5-1-0 mark in the last 18 games, and have won seven of its last nine home games dating back to Feb. 24 and are 13-3-0 at home since Jan. 7.
A physical first period saw the Reign open the scoring at 14:38 when Sam Herr deflected Alexx Privitera’s shot past Gulls netminder Jhonas Enroth. Ontario controlled the rest of the period and could have tacked on to its lead, but Enroth made a few big saves late in the frame to keep the Gulls’ deficit at one.
Nate Guenin took a double minor for high-sticking at 5:05 of the middle stanza and the Reign made San Diego pay with goals from Vincent LoVerde and Mike Amadio. LoVerde finished off a nifty feed from Teddy Purcell for his eighth of the season at 5:37 and less than a minute later Amadio banked in a shot from a bad angle off Enroth’s leg and into the net.
“That’s probably one thing that went in their favor tonight,” said Schultz of the penalty. “That got us away from our style of play and our systems. Not being able to kill that double-minor hurt us.”
San Diego generated a few good looks on its lone power-play opportunity of the period, but could not solve Campbell through 40 minutes. The home club opened the third frame on a man advantage and appeared to get on the board when Kalle Kossila lifted a backhand past Campbell. The play was reviewed and referee Pete Tarnaris determined that Kossila’s shot hit the cross bar and bounced out as San Diego remained scoreless.
“I thought we played well early in the third period,” said Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins. “If we could have made it 3-1 there, things might have gotten interesting. It’s tough and that’s why it is important to not be in that situation in the first place.”
The Gulls pulled Enroth with over seven minutes remaining to try and cut Ontario’s lead in the game but Amadio struck again as his bid from center ice found the empty net at 13:07. The goal gave Amadio (2-0=2) the first multi-goal game of his professional career.
Ontario kept San Diego off the board the rest of the way to earn its’ fifth win in nine games against the Gulls.
San Diego heads to Ontario to conclude this back-to-back set tomorrow at Citizens Business Bank Arena (7 p.m.) The Gulls return home on Wednesday, April 12 to host the Bakersfield Condors at Valley View Casino Center (7 p.m.) A limited number of tickets are available by visiting AXS.com/Gulls or by phone at (619) 359-4730.
NOTES: Gulls’ goaltender Jhonas Enroth (14-5-0) stopped 29-of-32 shots in only his fourth loss in 16 appearances with San Diego…The Gulls fell to 21-15-2-1 in back-to-back matchups and 12-6-1-0 in the first game. Ontario forward Teddy Purcell (0-2=2) recorded two assists in his ninth multi-point effort of the season.
1. Jack Campbell (ONT)
2. Vincent LoVerde (ONT)
3. Mike Amadio (ONT)