Feb. 28, 2017

TUCSON, Ariz. – The San Diego Gulls (31-14-2-2, 66 pts.) won on the road for the eighth time in its past nine games with a 5-3 victory over the Tucson Roadrunners (22-21-6-0; 50 pts.) at Tucson Arena on Tuesday night. Four Gulls skaters recorded multi-point games and Dustin Tokarski (13-6-1) made 16 saves in the win. With the victory, San Diego ranks third among Western Conference leaders with a .673 win percentage and fourth overall in the AHL.

San Diego earned its sixth victory in eight contests against the Roadrunners (6-1-0-1). Including a perfect 4-0-0 mark at Tucson Arena this season that has seen San Diego outscore the Roadrunners 18-5 in the four contests. The Gulls have now won 13 of its last 15 contests (13-2-0), 20 of the last 23 (20-3-0-1) and earned standings points in 19 of the last 21 games overall (18-2-0-1).

“Once the game started it was a night that I had very little worry,” said Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins. “Our power play had some good looks and Tucson has a dangerous power play. We weren’t able to shut it totally down but it’s something we’ll continue to work on.”

Brandon Montour (0-2=2), Corey Tropp (1-1=2), Antoine Laganiere (1-1=2) and Kalle Kossila (1-1=2) all contributed multi-point efforts while nine skaters registered a point in the victory. Since returning from a lower-body injury on Feb. 12, Tokarski has posted a 4-0-0 record with a 1.75 GAA, .926 SV% and one shutout.

Brandon Montour’s two assists marked 100 career AHL point for the 22-year old defenseman who has now recorded 8-9=17 points in his last 12 games with San Diego. The two-time AHL All-Star has recorded 24-76=100 points in 118 career AHL games (0.85 points-per game), including 13-20=33 points in 36 games this season.

“Monty (Brandon Montour) has had a great run here development wise and he continues to work on his game,” added Eakins. “You watch him and Shea on the power play and there tonight and it’s incredible what they can get going along with our forward units.”

The Roadrunners opened the scoring at 3:30 of the first frame on the power play when Kyle Wood’s wrist shot beat a screened Tokarski. Former Gull Chris Mueller (0-2=2) tallied an assist on the play and has earned 4-6=10 points in nine games against his former team.

Antoine Laganiere tied the game 1-1 at 10:20 of the opening period when he took a feed from Corey Tropp and lifted a backhand over Tucson goaltender Adin Hill. Laganiere’s goal marked his 17th of the season, a new career high who has six goals and four assists against Tucson over eight games this season. It only took the 26-year-old 46 games to hit the 17-goal mark and he is on pace for 24 goals on the campaign. His previous career high of 16 last season was scored in his 56th game.

Tucson’s Dakota Mermis took a holding penalty at 4:23 of the middle period and San Diego cashed in on Corey Tropp’s 14th goal of the year. Tropp corralled the rebound of Laganiere’s shot that rang off the post and slipped the puck past Hill to give the Gulls a 2-1 advantage.

San Diego ran into penalty trouble halfway through the second period when Kyle MacKinnon and Jaycob Megna took minor penalties 49 seconds apart. The Roadrunners capitalized quickly as Wood struck again, this time with a snap shot that found its way past Tokarski to knot the game 2-2.

Late in the middle frame, a good cycle down low from led to Jordan Samuels-Thomas’ 11th goal of the season on a blast from the point to give the Gulls a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.

The Gulls doubled their lead at 2:30 of the final period when Scott Sabourin tipped Jaycob Megna’s shot past Hill for his sixth tally of the campaign. Sabourin now has 2-3=5 points over his last seven games and Megna extended his point streak to a career-high four games (1-4=5).

Four minutes later, the home club struck back when Ryan MacInnis sent a turnaround shot to the net that deflected off Branden Troock’s leg and by Tokarski to cut San Diego’s lead to 4-3. Kalle Kossila quickly put the Gulls back up by two goals at 11:19 of the final frame with a wrist shot that beat Hill over the blocker. After the goal, Hill (13-9-5) was replaced by Marek Langhamer after surrendering five goals on 23 shots. Langhamer closed out the game stopping all six shots faced in 8:41 of action.

San Diego returns home to cap off this home-and-home set against the Roadrunners at Valley View Casino Center on Friday Mar. 3 (7 p.m.). Fans can purchase tickets by visiting AXS.com/Gulls or by phone at (619) 359-4730.

NOTES: Max Gortz recorded an assist and has 0-7=7 assists over the last seven games…Jaycob Megna recorded a +3 rating, matching a career high set on two previous occasions this season…Megna now leads the entire AHL with a +29 rating…Shea Theodore notched his 10th assist of the season and has 2-5=7 points in his last eight games…San Diego improved to 21-1-1 when leading after two periods, including a 52-1-1 record dating back to last season.

Three Stars:
1. Corey Tropp (SD)
2. Kyle Wood (TUC)
3. Chris Mueller (TUC)