Gulls Look to Pin Eagles on Lucha Libre Wrestling NightDec 7, 2019
The Gulls hit the midway point of a three-game homestand and open their 10-game December schedule tonight against the Colorado Eagles at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m., TV: AHLTV, Radio: San Diego Gulls Audio Network). The Gulls (8-9-1-0) will look to continue building momentum following a 6-2 win last Saturday over the Pacific Division-leading Tucson Roadrunners that concluded a record-breaking November.
San Diego’s eight wins (8-3-1-0) and 51 goals last month set a single-month high for the month of November all-time. In the victory over the Roadrunners, Sam Carrick netted two goals, Max Comtois recorded two assists, and Daniel Sprong scored the game-winning goal while adding an assist. Chase De Leo, Alex Dostie, and Blake Pietila also added goals in the decisive win.
But over the last seven days, a lot has changed with the Gulls roster. Goaltender Anthony Stolarz was recalled by the Anaheim Ducks Monday, backing up Ryan Miller in last night’s Ducks-Washington Capitals game at Honda Center. Twenty-four hours later, Comtois and defenseman Josh Mahura were recalled, with left wing Max Jones returning to San Diego.
Left wing Brent Gates Jr. was recalled by the Gulls from Tulsa Oilers of the ECHL, with Jack Kopacka being assigned to the Oilers.
Tonight’s matchup will also begin a stretch of seven games over next 15 days before the AHL’s holiday break.
The Gulls and Eagles meet for the third contest of an eight-game season series, with tonight also marking the first of three matchups in an eight-day span between the two clubs (also Dec. 13-14 in Colorado). The Gulls have won back-to-back games to open the season series, following 5-4 (Nov. 1) and 5-2 (Nov. 2) wins. Those wins sparked a four-game winning streak and a stretch of seven wins over eight games last month. San Diego is 5-4-1-0 against Colorado all-time, including a 4-2-0-0 mark on home ice. Daniel Sprong (2-2=4) and Blake Pietila (1-3=4) co-lead San Diego in scoring this season vs. the Eagles. Seven of the 10 all-time matchups against the Eagles have been decided by one goal as both teams have scored 26 total goals.
“They’re a really good team, we have to be prepared” said Corey Tropp. “We have to come out and play our game and skate hard. Usually when we do that, we have success, but they’re a great team. They compete and battle and we’re going to have our work cut out for us. Every time we play these guys, it’s always been a tight-knit game, and a hard and physical match and I won’t expect anything other than that.”
Sam Carrick took over the team lead in scoring last weekend (10-6=16), recording 10-2=12 points over the past month to co-lead the AHL in goals and co-lead all forwards in plus/minus (+12). Alex Dostie enters the December schedule after a strong end of November as the center recorded his first goal of the season Nov. 1 against Colorado, and has scored a goal in each of his last three appearances, his first career goal streak (3-0=3). Through 16 games, Dostie has tallied 7-2=9 points, just a single point shy of tying his career high.
Colorado (10-10-1-0) enters tonight on a three-game losing streak, including back-to-back losses at Tucson earlier in the week. The Eagles currently rank fourth in the Pacific Division with 21 points, trailing Tucson, Stockton and Ontario. The Eagles dropped their Wednesday contest at Tucson in a 6-3 setback, but finished November with a 6-5-1-0 record while outscoring their opponents 38-24. Colorado is 10-1-1 when scoring first (0.875) trailing only Stockton (0.889) within the division. Colorado has only earned wins when scoring the game’s first goal. The Gulls, however, have scored first in seven straight contests as well as 11 of the last 12. San Diego owns a 8-2-1 in the 11 games that they have scored the game’s first goal.
Eagles center Sheldon Dries is enjoying a breakout campaign during his third AHL season, his second with the Colorado Avalanche organization. After making his NHL debut with the Avalanche last season where he posted 3-3=6 points in 40 games, the 25-year-old game has reached new highs this season. The Macomb, Mich. native has made 20 appearances with the Eagles, leading the club in scoring (9-7=16), goals, power-play goals (4) and shots (58).
In the defensive end, Jacob MacDonald has held the blueline with 5-9=14 points through the club’s first 21 games played. In his fifth AHL season, each in a different city, MacDonald leads Eagles defensemen in scoring and goals. Rookie goaltender Adam Werner has posted a 7-5-0 record with a 3.04 goals-against average and .902 save percentage in 14 games played, including a 30-save shutout Nov. 5 vs. Ontario. In his last appearance, Werner allowed five goals on 31 attempts as the Eagles fell 6-3, with the addition of an empty net goal.
Lucha Libre Wrestling Night:
Fans attending tonight’s game will be able to enjoy the first-ever Lucha Libre Wrestling Night. The theme night will include a pregame tailgate featuring a live Lucha Libre Wrestling match. All fans in attendance will receive a Sam Carrick Lucha Libre themed bobblehead upon entry.