Gulls Look to Build Momentum Against Red Hot AdmiralsOct 19, 2018
The Gulls return to San Diego on the heels of their first win of the 2018-19 season to open a four-game homestand when they host the red hot Milwaukee Admirals at Valley View Casino Center (7 p.m., ESPN 1700-AM).
Tonight all fans in attendance will receive light-up wristbands upon entry. Those planning on attending the game are encouraged to be in their seats before puck drop for a pre-game lightshow.
After a week of roster moves, the Gulls are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.
The Ducks have been decimated by injuries all season, with five players out injured. Ryan Getzlaf, Silfverberg, Ondrej Kase, Patrick Eaves and Carter Rowney are all sidelined while three other injuries dating to preseason have affected both Anaheim and San Diego (Kalle Kossila, Kevin Roy, Max Jones).
Joseph Blandisi joined the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday morning following Saturday’s win over Ontario. Chase De Leo then joined Blandisi with the Ducks on Tuesday but only Blandisi appeared in a game with Anaheim this week, going scoreless Wednesday night at Honda Center against the New York Islanders.
Anaheim made more roster moves yesterday as they signed defenseman Jake Dotchin and assigned him to San Diego following the signing of Nick Ritchie to a three-year contract. De Leo was reassigned to San Diego yesterday, while the parent club also made a trade that affected the Gulls, moving center Mitch Hults to the Tampa Bay Lightning for future considerations.
San Diego and Milwaukee face off for their fifth ever game against one another and their first of two contests this season. The Gulls have had the stronger showing against the Wisconsin club in seasons past, earning a 2-0-0-0 home record (3-1-0-0 overall) and outscoring them by a total of 6-1 on home ice (12-6 overall).
The Gulls have won 13 of their last 16 games (13-1-2-0, 28 of a possible 32 points) against Central Division opponents and have an 18-6-2-0 record (.731 points percentage) all-time against the Central Division (10-2-1-0 at home), including an 8-1-1-0 mark last season.
San Diego is coming off of a 6-5 shootout win last Saturday against the Ontario Reign. In the team’s first win in 2018-19, 10 Gulls registered a point, including three multi-point performances.
Defenseman Andy Welinski netted two goals in the second frame as part of his game-high three points (2-1=3). Forward Chase De Leo tallied two assists (0-2=2) and scored the game-deciding goal in the shootout. Gulls’ point and goal leader Sam Carrick extended his goal streak to three consecutive games to become the first Gull to score in each of the first three games of the season and the first to collect four goals through the first three contests.
Andy Welinski noted that the win is a big step forward for the team as they move past their slow start to the season. “It’s huge. Like the weekend before, we kind of let up late in a game,” said Welinski.
“Ontario did well, stuck with it and had a late goal. I think it’s a good improvement for our team as a group to stick with our game plan and push all the way through to the end. We want to win in regulation, but to close out right away is big.”
On the other side of the ice, Milwaukee has had a near-perfect start to the season as any team in the AHL, gathering points in all five of their games thus far (4-0-1-0). They rank tied for league lead in points percentage (.900%) and lead the Western Conference in goals scored (22).
Similar to the Gulls, the Admirals are coming off a victory against the Ontario Reign in a game requiring extra time. Milwaukee’s Matt Donovan scored the game-winning goal in overtime to clinch a 5-4 win.
While Milwaukee will clearly pose a threat, Gulls assistant coach Sylvain Lefebvre understands the importance of starting strong in the first of back-to-back games this weekend.
“Play smart hockey. You don’t want to be playing too much of a run and gun kind of game, going back and forth and wasting a lot of energy,” said Lefebvre. “At the same time you want to play hard, you want to play an in-your-face kind of game. You want to be smart with the puck.”