Gulls Clip Eagles for Weekend Sweep
Justin Kloos records three assists in the lopsided victoryNov 2, 2019
Daniel Sprong got the Gulls offensive rolling early on in a 5-2 win, as they swept the back-to-back against the Colorado Eagles at Pechanga Arena San Diego. Goaltender Anthony Stolarz stopped 27-of-29 shots in his second win in as many nights. Brendan Guhle, Isac Lundestrom, Alex Broadhurst and Chase De Leo, each scored a goal for San Diego while Justin Kloos notched three assists, his most points in a Gulls sweater since joining the club Jan. 21.
San Diego scored two power-play goals in the contest toinght and have tallied goals on the man advantage in four consecutive games, going 5-for-20 in that span (25.0%). The Gulls also killed all four penalties tonight and have killed 15 of the opposition’s last 16 power-play chances (93.8%).
“Assistant coaches Dave Urquhart and Sylvain Lefebvre do an excellent job with their respective special teams,” head coach Kevin Dineen on the special teams efforts. “You give a lot of credit to them. When it comes to penalty killing, there’s a work ethic and structure there and we followed that to a T against a highly-powerful team out there.”
“On the power play side, there’s a belief that when you have control of the puck and have support in areas then good things will follow,” Dineen continued. “We had some really nice plays made as well, so it’s a testament to our skill set too.”
Max Jones made his season debut with the Gulls tonight after being reassigned by Anaheim to San Diego prior to tonight’s contest. He made his presence known early by drawing a hooking penalty on Colorado’s Kevin Connauton just 16 seconds into the contest, giving the Gulls their first power-play chance of the night.
The Gulls special teams didn’t disappoint as their power play resulted in a goal at the 2:04 mark of the opening frame, marking San Diego’s fourth consecutive game with a goal on the man advantage. Kiefer Sherwood poked the puck away from an Eagles defender and to the blueline where Guhle redistributed it to Sprong. After taking a few strides toward the left-side faceoff dot, Sprong wristed a shot past a Hunter Miska’s blocker for the early 1-0 lead.
Midway through the period, the Eagles drove the net and had several good chances at tying the game. Sam Carrick blocked a shot that would’ve crossed the goal line, if not for a great defensive effort by the captain.
With 6:34 left in the first period, the Eagles were given a golden opportunity with 37 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play. The Gulls managed to kill the first penalty and the second penalty was neutralized when Colorado picked up a holding penalty, setting up a 4-on-4 situation for 16 seconds.
After the call was made, Kloos won the faceoff and dropped it back to Jani Hakanpaa who pushed it to Guhle in the slot. Guhle found the back of the net off a slapshot to tally his first goal of the season, beating Miska on his glove side with 4:50 remaining in the opening frame.
The Gulls offense stayed aggressive as they added another goal at the 16:28 mark when Lundestrom potted a power-play goal on a one-timer in the slot. Sherwood entered the offensive zone, passed it back to Blake Pietila, who dropped it off to Sprong whose shoulder fake looked off Miska as he found Lundestrom across the offensive zone, who received the pass and slammed the puck home to push the lead to 3-0. The score marked the second consecutive game that Lundestrom tallied a goal.
After 20 minutes of play, the Gulls led the Eagles in shots by a 12-to-7 margin.
The first five minutes of the middle frame featured action on both ends of the ice and tempers flared in the second half of the back-to-back matchup after a save by Stolarz. Carrick and Logan O’Connor each received offsetting minors, forcing two minutes of 4-on-4 action.
Shortly after the coinciding roughing penalties, the Eagles scored their first goal of the night to cut the Gulls lead to 3-1 with 12:39 left in the second. O’Connor won a battle for the puck in the corner, passed it to T.J. Tynan and he relayed the puck to Jacob MacDonald who beat Stolarz. After the goal, both Dan Renouf and Hunter Drew picked up penalties on an ensuing scrum along the boards. The penalty on Drew was a double-minor for roughing, granting the Eagles a man-advantage. The Gulls remained strong on the penalty kill, holding off Colorado’s attack.
San Diego answered 46 seconds later when Kloos intercepted a pass between two Colorado players in the neutral zone. He found Broadhurst at center ice, creating a shorthanded breakaway opportunity. Broadhurst fought off multiple Eagles defensemen, faking a backhand shot before pulling it back to the front for a wide-open net and goal, his first goal on the season. The play marks Broadhurst’s first goal as a San Diego Gull and Kloos’s second assist of the night.
Stolarz corralled a loose puck with 3:02 left in the middle frame and a scrum behind the net broke out, resulting in a Gulls power play as O’Connor picked up a charging penalty for the Eagles. The Gulls were unable to score on the man advantage, but still held a 4-1 lead on the scoreboard through two periods.
San Diego started the final frame strong when Kloos passed the puck to Hakanpaa in the Gulls’ defensive zone who then found De Leo at Colorado’s blue line. He entered the zone and fired a wrister between two Colorado defensemen. De Leo found the back of the net just 51 seconds into the period and extended the Gulls’ lead to four goals.
The Eagles bounced back, as they scored with 8:03 remaining in the third period to shorten the lead to 5-2. After a neutral zone turnover by the Gulls, Colin Campbell found Sheldon Dries streaking to the net. Stolarz was able to stop the initial opportunity by Dries, but Campbell picked up the rebound in front and shot it into the net before the goaltender could recover.
“The guys were sacrificing their bodies and blocking shots,” said Stolarz. “We had really good sticks, they had some chances coming in late, their defenseman coming up in the rush, and the boys did a great job tonight getting their sticks in passing lanes and disrupting their plays. You can see the offensive talent that we have. When we play a full 60 minutes, we’re a good hockey team.”
The Gulls defense remained strong for the remainder of the game and did not let in any more goals. San Diego ends tonight with a victorious 5-2 score and back-to-back home victories.
San Diego will open a three-game road trip beginning Friday, Nov. 8 at Bakersfield (7 p.m.). The road trip also includes stops in San Jose (Sunday, Nov. 10) and Stockton (Monday, Nov. 11).