Mueller, Gulls Smother Heat
Veteran center scores game-winning goal, records multi-point game in StocktonFeb 28, 2020
The Gulls scored three unanswered goals to come back from a first-period deficit and beat the Stockton Heat 4-2 Friday night at Stockton Arena. San Diego picked up a pair of power-play goals for its ninth game this season as the Gulls have now gained points in five consecutive games against the Heat this season (4-0-1-0).
Chris Mueller scored a goal and picked up an assist on the man advantage to mark his first multi-point game since being traded to San Diego. Isac Lundestrom tallied two power-play helpers for his 10th point over his last 13 games (3-7=10) and Max Comtois added a goal and assist for points in six of his last seven games (7-3=10).
Goaltender Anthony Stolarz made 24 saves in his second consecutive win against the Heat to push is win total to 21 this season, tying a single-season career high (also 2015-16) and now second among AHL goaltenders.
San Diego spent six minutes in the first half of the first period on the man advantage after Stockton was called for a slashing infraction followed by a double minor for high-sticking that put the Gulls on a four-minute power play. Although the Gulls had several scoring chances, including a wrist shot by Mueller from the slot that was blocked at the moment of truth, Stockton’s early penalty kills kept San Diego off the board.
“Stockton’s No. 1 on the penalty so early on we had some opportunities but we couldn’t score on a four-minute advantage, but we made up for it in the second period so good on us to do that,” said head coach Kevin Dineen. “Unfortunately, at the beginning of the third we give one up shorthanded… Special teams was a big part of our game tonight.”
The Heat grabbed the first goal of the game when Luke Philp netted a goal on their first power-play chance of the game, one-timing a Martin Pospisil pass through Stolarz at the 15:03 mark of the first period.
Just a few minutes later, Josh Mahura tied the game on an odd-man rush with 1:24 remaining in the period as he deflected Blake Pietila’s centering feed up and over Jon Gillies to tie the game. Mahura’s fourth of the year also marked his fourth point his last four games (1-3=4) while Sam Carrick earned his team-leading 40th point with the secondary assist.
Shortly into the second frame, Chris Wideman finished a hit along the boards that resulted in a fight with Zac Leslie. Stockton was given an extra minor for holding and San Diego went on their fifth power play of the game.
The Gulls used the momentum to take their first lead of the game with Broadhurst continuing his hot streak with his ninth of the season. Chris Mueller’s one-touch pass into the slot gave Broadhurst a one-timed shot over the shoulder of Gillies 6:45 into the middle period. Lundestrom picked up his first of two assists on the goal.
Later in the same period, Byron Froese chipped the puck over the boards and San Diego was given another man advantage. Lundestrom set up the play with a seam pass from the corner of the Stockton zone to Comtois on the far circle who rifled a shot that hit Mueller and deflected into the net for a 3-1 Gulls lead.
A scrum at the end of the second period allowed San Diego to begin the third frame on another power play, but Stockton picked up a shorthanded goal from Eetu Tuulola just 29 seconds into the period.
Despite a flurry of Stockton chances late, Comtois sealed the game with an empty-net goal with 26 remaining after Stockton pulled Gillies for an extra attacker. The puck came around the boards on a dump-in effort and Comtois got the loose puck before firing it down the ice and into the net.
The Gulls will continue their seven-game road trip tomorrow afternoon, concluding a back-to-back set against the San Jose Barracuda Feb. 29 at Stockton (1:15 p.m.).