Dec. 16, 2016

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Gulls (11-10-1-0; 23 pts.) fell 5-3 to the Stockton Heat (15-6-1-1; 32 pts.) in front of 8,091 fans at Valley View Casino Center. Stockton goaltender Jon Gillies (8-3-2-0) made a career-high 45 saves and Matt Frattin (2-0=2) scored twice to lift the Heat to its fifth win in six games against San Diego this season.

“It seemed like when we made a mistake it ended up in our net,” said head coach Dallas Eakins. “We couldn’t get rewarded on the other end and all the penalties made for a disjointed night.”

A fast-paced first period saw an opportunistic Stockton club strike first at 6:55 when Jamie Devane followed up a rebound of a Mike Angelides shot and slid the puck past San Diego goaltender Dustin Tokarski.

With Ryan Garbutt in the box for hooking, the Heat extended its lead to 2-0 as Frattin’s slap shot beat Tokarski glove side at 10:48 of the opening frame. Frattin leads all Stockton skaters with 4-4=8 points against the Gulls this season.

At 15:03 of the first period, Hunter Shinkaruk finished off a breakaway for his fifth goal of the campaign as the Heat took a 3-0 lead into the dressing room. The three goals against in the first period are the most the Gulls have given up this season.

Midway through the second period Stockton extended their lead to 4-0 when Frattin tallied again as he buried a cross-ice pass from defenseman Keith Aulie past the sprawled Tokarski.

The Gulls would get on the board at 15:25 of the second frame, when rookie forward Kevin Roy corralled a loose puck in front of Gillies and deposited it past the Stockton goaltender. Roy’s nine goals lead the Gulls and rank tied for third among all AHL rookies.

“I just try to get in front of the net and sometimes the puck finds me,” said Roy of his goal. “If I get to those areas of the ice I’ll usually have success.”

A minute after Roy’s goal, Stockton earned a power play but could not gain a clear entry into the San Diego zone. The Gulls hard work on the penalty kill resulted in Jaycob Megna’s (1-2=3) first goal of the season and first career short-handed goal (first goal since Mar. 21, 2015 @ Albany) as his wrist shot from the top of the circles beat Gillies over the shoulder to cut the Stockton lead in half. Tonight marked the first three-point game of Megna’s career and his first multi-point game (0-2=2) since Oct. 22 vs. Texas.

“I wish it was in a winning effort, but things went well for me tonight offensively,” said Megna. “We did a good job of getting pucks to the net tonight and guys were crashing the crease hard.”

Andrew Mangiapane put the game out of reach at 15:57 of the third when he cleaned up the rebound of Linden Vey’s shot to push Stockon’s lead to 5-2.

Kenny Ryan tallied his second goal of the season late in the third period, but the Gulls ran out of time to complete the comeback.

San Diego continues its season-long five-game homestand with a rematch against Stockton tomorrow night (7 p.m.). Tomorrow’s game will be the second annual Teddy Bear Toss night at Valley View Casino Center. Fans can purchase tickets by visiting AXS.com/Gulls or by phone at (619) 359-4730.

NOTES: San Diego netminder Dustin Tokarski (9-6-0-0) stopped 20-of-25 shots and fell to 1-3-0 against the Heat this season…The Gulls have recorded shorthanded goals in two consecutive games (also Dec. 13 vs. ONT, Wagner)…Corey Tropp, Andy Welinski, Antoine Laganiere and Nate Guenin all added assists for San Diego…Stockton captain Mike Angelidis has registered 2-3=5 points in six games against San Diego…The Heat have outscored the Gulls 31-14 this season in six meetings…Linden Vey (0-3=3) and Oliver Kylington (0-2=2) both registered multi-assist games for Stockton.

Three Stars:
1. Matt Frattin (STK)
2. Jon Gillies (STK)
3. Jaycob Megna (SD)