May 1, 2017

The San Diego Gulls fell to the Ontario Reign by a 4-1 score in Game 4 to even the series at 2-2 in their First Round Calder Cup Playoffs series at Citizens Business Bank Arena on Monday night. Justin Auger (2-1=3) and T.J. Hensick (1-2=3) both recorded three point nights for the Reign, while goaltender Jack Campbell made 21 saves to push the series to a decisive Game 5 tomorrow night at Valley View Casino Center (7 p.m.).

A scoreless first period saw San Diego outshoot Ontario 12-10, but the spotlight belonged to Gulls goaltender Jhonas Enroth (2-2) who stopped all 10 Reign attempts in the period. After an early San Diego power play attempt, the Reign pinned the Gulls in their own zone on multiple occasions. The veteran robbed both Joel Lowry and Vincent LoVerde on grade-A scoring chances below the circles to keep the game scoreless after 20 minutes of play.

Ontario opened the scoring at 5:16 of the middle frame when Jonny Brodzinski found Auger with a breakaway pass and Auger shoveled the puck over Enroth’s glove to give Ontario a 1-0 lead. The goal marked Auger’s first point of the playoffs and Brodzinki’s assist gave him 2-1=3 points in the series.

Late in the second period San Diego earned a power play when Brodzinski took an interference penalty and cashed in at 18:47 when Keaton Thompson’s one-timer from above the right circle beat Campbell high on the glove side. Some good puck movement from the Gulls led to Spencer Abbott setting up Thompson for his first career playoff goal and the clubs deadlocked 1-1 heading into the second intermission.

Early in the third period Ontario regained the lead only at 3:30 when Paul LaDue took a feed from Auger and slipped the puck through Enroth’s pads for his first goal of the postseason. Auger struck again at 14:57 of the third period off a rebound to give the Reign a 3-1 advantage. Hensick added an empty-net goal with 1:54 remaining to seal the win and knot the series at 2-2.

The series shifts back to San Diego for Game 5 tomorrow night at Valley View Casino Center (7 p.m.) in a winner-take all game to advance to the Pacific Division Finals. A limited number of tickets are available by visiting or by phone at (619) 359-4730.

NOTES: San Diego fell to 2-2 all-time in Game 4…Gulls left wing Jack Kopacka made his professional debut…Kevin Roy (0-1=1) recorded his first career postseason point with an assist on Thompson’s power-play marker…Jhonas Enroth stopped 31-of-34 shots in his second loss of the postseason…Ontario forward Michael Mersch (0-2=2) recorded two assists and has 0-3=3 points in the series.

Three Stars:
1. Justin Auger (ONT)
2. T.J. Hensick (ONT)
3. Paul LaDue (ONT)