Gulls Look To Turn Down The HeatNov 23, 2019
The Gulls will hold Hockey Fights Cancer tonight when they host the Stockton Heat at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m., TV: AHL TV, Radio: San Diego Gulls Audio Network). San Diego (7-7-0-0) enters the game with three straight wins overall and victories in seven of their last eight contests (7-1-0-0). The Gulls also have earned wins in four straight home games dating to Nov. 1.
The Gulls lead the AHL with seven shorthanded goals this season (also Cleveland) and have scored their seven shorthanded goals over the last seven contests, with the penalty kill outscoring the opposition power play 7-4 in that span (25-of-29 success rate on the penalty kill). Overall, San Diego’s penalty kill has a goal differential of -2 (nine power-play goals against, seven shorthanded goals), tied for second among AHL clubs (Charlotte, -1). San Diego’s two shorthanded goals Nov. 13 tied a club mark for single-game shorthanded goals (also Feb. 3, 2018 vs. Tucson).
“The penalty kill has been a strength of ours,” said head coach Kevin Dineen. “I think they’re really starting to find their rotation and Sylvain (Lefebvre) does a fabulous job with that. That’s an area we feel good about and we have to make sure we’re as good or comparable (on the power play).”
In addition to a red-hot penalty kill, the Gulls have netted 20 goals the last three games to mark the most goals in a three-game stretch in club history. Their 51 goals to date are tied for the most through the first 14 games in club history (also 2018-19). Throughout six games in October, San Diego was outscored 25-11. In November, the Gulls have improved their offensive production and have outscored opponents 41-22.
The last time these two clubs faced each other, Stockton broke San Diego’s four-game winning streak in the finale of a three-game road trip at Stockton Arena Nov. 11. Stockton (10-3-1-2) is coming off two wins, a 3-2 victory against the San Jose Barracuda on home ice and a 4-3 win overtime over Bakersfield two days ago.
All-time, San Diego holds a 15-20-3-3 record against Stockton with a 9-8-2-1 record on home ice. The Gulls have yet to win a game against the Heat this season, with Stockton outscoring San Diego 16-7. In the Nov. 11 matchup against the Heat, the Gulls found themselves down by three, about four minutes into the second frame. San Diego erased the deficit starting with a short-handed goal by Alex Broadhurst to start the comeback. Sam Carrick and Chris Wideman each netted a goal to tie the game up at three with a little more than 17 minutes remaining in the game. However, Stockton scored three goals in a span of three minutes to ultimately beat the Gulls 6-3.
“I think any time we look at all 60 minutes. I think it was a little bit of two different games,” Dineen said following the Nov. 11 game in Stockton. “We didn’t get off to a great start. We had a great pushback and we couldn’t just play a mistake-free game right to the end and it ends up costing us. A lot of different ways you can look at it. You can look at it as a decent little road trip, but at the end of it we want to walk out of there with a little better effort than we had today.”
The Gulls enter the contest hoping to extend the winning streak to four games, after sweeping the Ontario Reign in a home-and-home weekend series. Goaltender Anthony Stolarz has recorded every win for the Gulls this season and holds a career-high seven-game winning streak where he has posted a 2.29 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. In addition, 10 Gulls skaters have recorded points in consecutive games.
Sam Carrick (8-6=14) and Chris Wideman (6-8=14) co-lead the Gulls with 14 points. Carrick holds on to a six-game point streak (7-2=9) after reeling off a five-game goal streak that ended last Saturday despite picking up an assist. Wideman enters the matchup with three straight multi-point games (3-6=9) and a four-game point streak (3-6=9). Alex Broadhurst has a five-game point streak (2-4=6), including seven points (3-4=7) the last seven games and Kiefer Sherwood has posted 6-7=13 points through 14 games and is currently on a three-game goal streak and a four-game point streak (3-2=5). Daniel Sprong (four games), Chase De Leo (three games) and Justin Kloos (three games) also have points point streaks.
The Heat sit second in the Pacific Division having collected 23 points over 16 games. Matthew Phillips leads the Heat in points (5-11=16) and has played in each of the team’s 16 games. In the Nov. 11 meeting between the clubs, Phillips racked up four points, netting a goal and three assists. Byron Froese and Glenn Gawdin rank tied for second among Stockton leaders in points with 14.
Ryan Lomberg is coming off a two-goal contest in Stockton’s overtime win against the Bakersfield Condors Thursday. In his last two games, Lomberg has recorded four points (3-1=4) and now co-leads the Heat in goals (8) and leads in power play goals (4). Stockton is 6-0 on the year when Lomberg scores.
Heat goaltender Artyom Zagidulin (7-1-1) picked up his seventh win at Bakersfield two days ago. He has posted a 3.41 GAA and .884 SV% though, while Jon Gillies (3-2-2) hasn’t had the record to date but has a 2.72 GAA and .898% in seven games. But Gillies has had San Diego’s number his whole career, with a 2-0-0 record this season, stopping 23-of-24 shots Oct. 18 followed by a 6-3 win Nov. 11.
Both clubs will look to get an early jump on the other with the stats behind their respective success a tenant for each. The Gulls are 7-1-0-0 when scoring first this season, including a perfect 5-0 mark when leading after one period. Stockton has also had success with a 5-0-0-2 mark when leading after 20 minutes a 6-0-0-2 record when scoring the game’s first goal.