Comeback Effort Falls Short

Comeback Effort Falls Short as Gulls Fall to Reign on Home Ice

Oct 25, 2019

The Gulls fell to the Ontario Reign 6-2 tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego as the club still searches for its first win of 2019-20. Six Ontario skaters recorded multi-point games, with Carl Grundstrom scoring two goals and Matt Luff and Martin Frk each recording a goal and assist each. Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Mikey Eyssimont also scored for the Rein. Ontario goaltender Cal Petersen stopped 33-of-35 shots in his fifth win of the season. 

For San Diego, Sam Carrick tallied two assists while Simon Benoit and Chris Wideman netted goals for San Diego. Goaltender Kevin Boyle appeared in his 100th AHL contest while rookie center Antoine Morand recorded his first AHL point and assist.

“Someone needs to set the tone and we didn’t mind our game,” said head coach Kevin Dineen. “Structurally, we improved in a lot of areas, it’s the outcome that’s really killing us. It’s easy to sit there and always to be looking for positives and certainly you like when you see your team get into desperation mode and play as hard as we did tonight. Right now there’s nothing but results, that’s our bottomline of concerns.”

Ontario got on the board first as forward Grundstrom found the back of the net 3:39 into the opening frame. Paul LaDue dropped the puck back to Frk who wristed it at the San Diego net and Grundstrom tipped the puck past Boyle for the game’s opening score.

The Gulls kept the pressure on with several opportunities throughout the first period. Daniel Sprong had a shot ring off the crossbar and Kiefer Sherwood’s one-on-one attempt trickled wide of the net. After 20 minutes of play, the Reign led 1-0 and the shots were even at seven apiece. 

Grundstrom added his second goal of the night, his fifth of the season with 14:52 remaining in the second period to put the Reign ahead 2-0. After winning a fight for the puck in the Gulls’ offensive zone, Grundstrom started an odd-man rush for Ontario and his give-and-go whipped past Boyle for the goal.

Only 17 seconds later, the Gulls answered and cut the lead to a single goal. Carrick pushed the puck up the half wall to Simon Benoit at the point where he loaded up for a slapshot that made its way past Petersen for the score.

The goal marked Benoit’s first of the season and his second point over the last three games (1G/1A). Morand notched his first point in the AHL with an assist on the goal.

The Gulls were given 49 seconds of a two-man advantage following back-to-back penalties on the Reign. San Diego had several chances, including Carrick’s third shot off the post of the game, but struggled converting it into a goal. The Gulls outshot the Reign 16-9 in the second frame, as offensive chances were aplenty for both sides.

The Gulls came out of the locker room strong, as the offense was swarming in the Reign’s end of the ice. The Gulls saw another shot hit the post, but it stayed out of the net once again. Not long after, the Reign had another odd-man rush, which resulted in a goal by Frk with 17:33 left in the third period to go ahead 3-1.

Following the goal, tempers began to flare, which benefited the Gulls as the Reign picked up a pair of minor penalties halfway through the period to set up another two-man advantage for San Diego, this time for 46 seconds.

Off of the faceoff, Wideman passed the puck down low to Isac Lundestrom who slid it back to Carrick and the newly-named Gulls captain sent a pass back to the top of the circle to Wideman who rifled a shot into the net to cut the lead to 3-2 with 9:38 left in the third period.

Wideman’s goal marked his first with San Diego and his second point in as many games (1G/1A). Carrick’s primary assist on the play was his second of the night as the center now has three assists in his previous three games. Lundestrom also added a helper, his first of the season and seventh as a Gull.

“It was nice to get one in. I thought that was our best game on the power play so far this season,” said Wideman following the game. “We moved the puck around pretty well. Even on the power plays when we didn’t score we generated some momentum for the team for the five-on-five, and that’s really the job of the power play. If you’re not going to get one to the back of the net, you definitely have to build momentum.”

Ontario responded nearly two minutes later when Eyssimont tripped up Hunter Drew and stole the puck in the process, brought it behind the net and tossed it to the front where Brett Sutter took a few attempts and eventually the puck ended up behind Boyle where Matt Luff pushed it over the line. 

The Reign got on the board again with 2:52 remaining on the clock as Anderson-Dolan wrist shot from the slot found its way into the back of the net. 

Ontario scored the last goal of the game with 43 seconds in regulation to solidify the 6-2 win. Eyssimont picked up another point (1G/1A) when he netted one off a feed from Sutter and Luff.

“For us, for the staff, the front office, peanut vendors, the fans, the parking attendants, I think everyone wants a win,” added Wideman. “I can tell you that the guys in the room really want one too.”

The Gulls will conclude the back-to-back and their October schedule tomorrow evening against the Reign at Toyota Arena (6 p.m.).

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