SAN ANTONIO – Max Gortz scored the game-winning goal in the fourth round of the shootout to give the San Diego Gulls (37-15-3-2, 79 pts.) its ninth win in the last 11 games (9-1-1-0) in a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the San Antonio Rampage (24-32-5-2; 55 pts.) at AT&T Center on Saturday night. The Gulls trailed 3-1 with 12 minutes remaining in the third period, but roared back with goals from Corey Tropp and Spencer Abbott to force overtime in one of their most thrilling wins this season.
Rookie goaltender Kevin Boyle (10-4-4) made 29 saves throughout regulation and overtime, and stopped all four Rampage skaters in the shootout to improve to 10-2-3 in his last 14 games.
The Gulls have won 13 of the last 16 games (13-2-1-0), 19 of their last 23 (19-3-1) and 26 of the last 32 overall (26-3-1-1). San Diego has also earned standings points in 25 of the last 28 games (23-3-1-1), as well as points in 29 of 33 contests since Christmas (25-4-2-2). Additionally, the Gulls have won 10 of the past 12 games on the road (10-1-1) and earned standings points in 16 of the last 18 contests (15-2-1) away from home dating back to Dec. 29.
San Diego opened the scoring on the power play at 15:53 of the opening frame when Gortz took a feed from Andy Welinski and blasted a one-timer past San Antonio goaltender Spencer Martin to give San Diego a 1-0. Gortz has two goals in his last three contests and has notched 13 points (1-12=13) in his last 15 games.
San Antonio tied the game at 12:18 of the middle frame as Reid Petryk buried his fourth of the season off a slick backhand feed from Alex Belzile on a three-on-two rush.
The Rampage took a 2-1 lead a little over two minutes later when Boyle mishandled Mat Clark’s shot and Shawn Ouellette-St. Amant backhanded the rebound past San Diego’s goaltender. San Antonio took a one goal lead into the second intermission.
Sam Carrick took a tripping penalty at 6:12 of the third period and the Rampage cashed in as Petryk cleaned up the rebound of Eric Gelinas’ blast to extend San Antonio’s lead to 3-1.
The Gulls would get the goal right back on an ensuing power play with Corey Tropp’s team-leading 21st goal of the campaign. The veteran forward cleaned up the rebound of Keaton Thompson’s shot by chipping a backhand shot from behind the goal line off Martin’s leg and into the net. With the goal, Tropp surpassed Chris Mueller’s franchise record for goals in a season set in 2015-16 (20 goals) and has scored eight goals his last nine games (8-4=12).
San Diego kept up the pressure and tied the game at 17:39 when Kevin Roy’s slap shot trickled off Martin and Spencer Abbott slid the rebound into a wide open net for his first goal as a Gull. Neither club found the go-ahead goal in the final two minutes, so the divisional foes played a five-minute 3-on-3 overtime period for the second consecutive night.
Both teams had chances to win the game in the extra session, with San Antonio earning a power play. The Rampage could not convert and Kevin Roy’s breakaway bid following the successfully killed power play was denied by Martin as the game was destined for a shootout.
In the shootout, the goaltenders matched one another as they stopped the first three shooters they faced. In the fourth round, Boyle denied Troy Bourke and Gortz snapped a wrister by Martin to give the Gulls the win.
San Diego returns home to host the San Jose Barracuda on Wednesday, Mar. 22 at Valley View Casino Center (7:00 p.m.). Fans can purchase tickets by visiting AXS.com/Gulls or by phone at (619) 359-4730.
NOTES: Kevin Roy (0-2=2) recorded his eighth multi-point game of the season and has 14 points his last 17 games (2-12=14)…Andy Welinski contributed an assist and has 2-7=9 points his last 12 games…Antoine Laganiere picked up his 13th assist and set a new-career high with 20-13=33 points on the season…the Gulls went 2-for-5 on the power play and have scored on the man advantage in seven of their last nine games (11-for-41, 26.8%)…San Antonio netminder Spencer Martin (17-18-4) stopped 33-of-36 shots in the loss.
1. Max Gortz (SD)
2. Reid Petryk (SA)
3. Spencer Abbott (SD)