Gulls Grab Point, Fall to Ontario in OvertimeFeb 1, 2020
The Gulls fell 5-4 in overtime to the Ontario Reign on Saturday night at Pechanga Arena San Diego as Jaret Anderson-Dolan sealed a fifth-straight win for the Reign with under a minute left in the extra session. Despite the setback, San Diego has earned points in four straight games (2-0-2-0), in addition to nine of its last 10 games (7-1-2-0).
Blake Pietila scored two goals (2-0=2) and added a game-high six shots in his first multi-goal performance of the season. Daniel Sprong scored a goal and added two assists for a season-high three-point effort (1-2=3). Andrew Poturalski also found the back of the net for the Gulls and Kevin Boyle made 30 saves in the overtime setback.
“We’ve been on a pretty good stretch here, we’ve been playing well as of late,” said Pietila. “Even tonight, we had a pretty solid effort. One breakdown at the end kind of cost us. In overtime, they made a nice play. They’re a hard team to play against, and that was an important game for us, but we just have to regroup and get back after it on Monday.”
After San Diego was granted the first power-play, Chris Wideman’s point shot was directed by Max Comtois to Poturalski, who flipped the puck into the net for the opening score 9:02 into the game.
The goal marked Poturalski’s first since returning to the lineup last night after missing 33 games due to a broken wrist suffered Oct. 26 at Ontario. With the primary assist on the opening goal, Comtois has recorded a helper in three games (0-3=3).
The Gulls extended their lead to 2-0 courtesy of Pietilia’s first of the night after tapping in a Sam Carrick pass with 3:41 remaining in the opening frame. Carrick’s assisted to push his point streak to four games (1-4=5).
Mikey Eyssimont scored a power-play goal 7:05 into the middle stanza to cut the San Diego lead to 2-1. The Reign forecheck jumped on the puck behind the Gulls net and Eyssimont managed to get his stick on the puck while in the crease to score his 11th goal of the season.
San Diego regained the two-goal lead when Pietila scored his second of the night with 8:46 remaining in the second period. As the Gulls entered the offensive zone, Chase De Leo took the puck behind the Reign net and found Pietila in the slot before he shot the puck past Petersen’s blocker side. Josh Mahura also picked up an assist on the play.
“I was just on the receiving end of two nice passes and I was just hanging around the net,” said Pietila. “[Carrick] made a great play on the first one, and then [De Leo] went behind the net and I was all alone in front, so those ones are pretty easy to put in when you have guys passing like that.”
Ontario responded just 22 seconds later to cut San Diego’s lead to one following a goal by Kale Clague. Carl Grundstrom won a battle for the puck along the boards in the Gulls zone, found Clague whose give-and-go with Gabriel Vilardi found the goal scorer cutting to the back post for the second Reign tally.
Through 40 minutes, the Gulls held a 27-19 advantage in shots and continued to hold a 3-2 lead.
The Reign tied the game at three apiece when Vilardi snuck a wrist shot short side 4:00 into the final frame with Pietila serving a cross-checking minor.
The game remained tied for just 78 seconds as Sprong gave the Gulls a 4-3 lead on a dazzling display of skill, dragging the puck through Clague and dekeing around Villalta to slot the puck in the net. Scott Moldenhauer was credited with an assist as he chipped the puck off the glass.
Ontario tied the game with 21 seconds left in regulation with Villalta pulled for the extra attacker as Sheldon Rempal’s wrist shot from the point found its way through traffic in front to beat Boyle. The goal forced overtime, as the teams were deadlocked 4-4 through 60 minutes.
“You want fresh bodies out there all the time, so you want 30 second shifts,” said Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen. “That one dragged on there a little bit. They got the puck in the zone and then there is a level of desperation on both sides there. We could’ve had a little more composure in that moment. It’s a tough learning experience for us.”
Despite a breakaway attempt from Kiefer Sherwood, the Reign sealed the game when Anderson-Dolan took a Martin Frk cross-ice pass for the two points and their fifth straight win.
“We’ve managed to really collect points here over the last three weeks and we’re going to keep on scratching and clawing to get our points,” said Dineen. “In all honesty, a huge game for them as well to get that extra point. Makes our challenge a little tougher for us, but I feel like we’re up for it.”
The Gulls will look to answer the bell Wednesday, when they play the San Jose Barracuda at SAP Center (7 p.m. PT