Dec. 2, 2016
SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Gulls (9-5-1-0) begin the first of back-to-back contests against the Stockton Heat (10-5-1-0) tonight at Stockton Arena (7:30 p.m., 1090-AM). The Gulls, who finished the month of November with a 7-2-0 record, open a 12-game December schedule.
The Gulls have won a franchise record seven consecutive games (outscoring opponents 28-13), the longest winning streak in club history (previous: four games, three times in 2015-16…last: Mar. 8-16, 2016) and the longest current win streak in the AHL. The current seven-game win streak is the second-longest streak in the AHL this season (eight games, Lehigh Valley) and matches San Diego’s second-longest unbeaten streak since a seven-game unbeaten run from March 27-April 10, 2016 (5-0-2).
The Gulls face the Heat for the fourth time this season, having won seven consecutive games since they last faced Stockton. San Diego dropped the opening matchup Oct. 26 at Valley View Casino Center and back-to-back contests Nov. 4-5 in Stockton. The Gulls are 6-5-3-1 all-time vs. the Heat, 2-2-3-1 at Stockton Arena, with the only two losses in Stockton coming this season. Both clubs have earned a 7-3-0 record in their past 10 games.
Stockton sit in second place and one spot ahead of San Diego in the Pacific Division, accumulating 21 points and a .656 win percentage in the 16 games to date. San Diego enters tonight with a 7-4-1 record in back-to-back games this season (4-1-1 in the first matchup), and has earned a 7-4-0 vs. the Pacific Division.
Over the past seven games, the Gulls defense, backstopped by goaltender Dustin Tokarski and Matt Hackett, have allowed three goals or fewer in each of the seven contests during the club’s current win streak. The Gulls have allowed only 13 goals in the seven games (1.85 goals-against per game).
Tokarski (7-2-0) has won his last five consecutive games (5-0-0), posting a .906 SV% and a 2.13 GAA dating back to Nov. 11 vs. Manitoba. Tokarski looks to get the nod in net tonight with Matt Hackett out of the lineup after he suffered an upper-body injury on Nov. 26 at Bakersfield.
In addition to an improved five-on-five defensive effort that has seen only 10 goals against at even strength during the seven-game win streak, San Diego has killed 24 of the last 27 opposition power plays (88.9%). The Gulls are also 8-0-1 with a lead after two periods of play, and a 5-1-1 record when scoring the game’s first goal. Overall, San Diego has an 8-1-1 record when allowing three goals or less in a contest.
Brandon Montour paces active Gulls skaters in career scoring vs. Stockton with 1-7=8 points in 15 career contests. Stefan Noesen co-leads the Gulls with three goals (3-4=7) in 13 games while Kenny Ryan has tallied 3-3=6 points in nine contests vs. the Heat.
The forward group which has scored 28 goals the past seven games (4.0 average per game), is led by right wing Corey Tropp who currently has points in seven of his last eight games (3-7=10) after recording a career-high seven-game point streak. The streak surpassed his previous career high of five games (twice: 3-3=6 points Nov. 28-Dec. 10, 2010 and 1-5=6 points, Mar. 8-18, 2011) and ranks as the third longest in the league this season.
In addition to Tropp’s torrid start to the season, rookie center Kevin Roy leads the Gulls with eight goals this season, and ranks tied for second among rookie’s in goals scored. Roy has a three-game goal scoring streak, the longest of his career, and has recorded 5-3=8 points in his last eight games.