Gulls Take Aim, Ground Eagles
Pietila tallies three points, Sprong finished with a goal and assist in the win.Nov 1, 2019
Isac Lundestrom scored the game-winning goal with under 10 minutes on the clock as the Gulls notched their first win of the season tonight in a 5-4 contest against the Colorado Eagles at Pechanga Arena San Diego. Forwards Sam Carrick, Alex Dostie, Blake Pietila, and Lundestrom each tallied their first goal of the season, and Daniel Sprong added his second while 11 different skaters recorded at least one point in the win.
Pietila notched his first multi-point game as a Gull with three points (1G/2A) and Sprong added his first as well with a goal and assist.
“It was a long time coming,” said forward Pietila. “But like I said, bounces can go your way and they can not go your way. It was one of those nights where we played a 60-minute game. Every guy contributed today and hopefully we will be able to do the same tomorrow.”
The Gulls came out of the gates strong, taking the lead just 3:45 into the game. Carrick stole the puck in the offensive zone and passed it to Chris Wideman on the blueline. Wideman fired a shot on net, but it was rookie Antoine Morand who took the rebound and brought it into the crease for Carrick to finish for the game’s first goal.
The goal saw all three players extend personal point streaks. Carrick (1-3=4) and Morand (1-2=3) each made it three consecutive games with a point. Wideman pushed his point streak to four games (2-2=4).
The Eagles evened the score at one goal apiece when Conor Timmins sent a wrister past Anthony Stolarz at the 8:10 mark of the opening period. He received a pass from across the offensive zone, shot it under Stolarz’s pad and into the net. Both T.J. Tynan and Dan Renouf each tallied assists on the Colorado score.
It took 38 seconds for the Gulls to answer and retake the lead as Sprong got his second goal of the season. San Diego stole the puck in their own zone before Jani Hakanpaa flipped the puck into the air and into the Colorado zone for Pietila. Sprong crashed the net after Pietila took a shot and the rebound went right to his stick for the score. Hakanpaa’s assist marked his first point as a San Diego Gull.
“I had the whole net and liked my chances there,” said Sprong regarding his goal. “Carrick started us off great. First shift of the game we won the draw and got going, but his goal really got us going. We took over the game, but did have some bumps and bruises and kind of let up, but it was a nice first win.”
Just 38 seconds later, Alex Dostie scored his first goal of the season for the Gulls with 9:26 left in the first period. The Gulls sustained a long offensive possession, which resulted in a scrum in front of the net with Corey Tropp and Jack Kopacka both battling with several Eagles defenders for the puck. The puck went to Dostie’s stick, who shoveled a backhand shot past Adam Werner for the third Gulls score of the night, capping off a stretch of three goals separated by just 5:41 of play.
Justin Kloos picked up an interference penalty with just over six minutes left in the period, but Stolarz saved both of Colorado’s shot attempts on the man advantage. After 20 minutes of play, the Gulls were ahead of the Eagles 13-11 in shots.
San Diego carried momentum into the second period, as they had two odd-man rushes, but were unable to capitalize on either of them. The second missed opportunity resulted in a breakaway for Colorado, and Sheldon Dries capitalized on it with a backhanded goal through the five-hole of Stolarz with 13:02 left in the middle frame.
Just like Colorado’s first goal, San Diego bounced back immediately with a power-play goal by Blake Pietila at the 8:27 mark of the second period. The Gulls received the power play after an Eagles player was sent to the penalty box for high sticking. Daniel Sprong sent a shot to the net, which was saved by Werner, but Pietila picked up the rebound in the slot and scored.
The goal on the man advantage marked Gulls third consecutive game with a power-play goal, capitalizing on three of their 17 chances (17.6%).
With 4:54 remaining in the second frame, Stolarz attempted to play a puck out of the Gulls defensive zone, but Jacob MacDonald stopped the puck from exiting the zone. MacDonald found Igor Shvyrev open in the slot, who sent a one-time shot past Stolarz to cut the Gulls lead to 4-3.
San Diego maintained the lead in shots through two periods of play, outshooting Colorado 25-20 heading into the third period.
The Eagles got the third period scoring started with a goal just 2:04 into the frame. The puck was loose in front of Stolarz, but the Gulls defenders were unable to gain control of the puck, allowing Julian Nantel to score his second goal of the season, which tied the game at 4-4.
Both teams received power-play opportunities, but the closest either team got to scoring the go-ahead goal came on a breakaway opportunity for Colorado, while on the penalty kill. Stolarz stood tall in net, as he was able to deny the Eagles’ scoring opportunity.
The Gulls retook the lead with 8:41 left in the third period on a goal by Isac Lundestrom, netting his first goal of the season. He entered the offensive zone and dropped the puck between his legs to Pietila, who waited for Lundestrom to get to the front of the net. Pietila’s pass was on the money, as Lundestrom redirected the puck into the net for a 5-4 lead.
That was all the offense needed to hold on for victory, as the Gulls defense and Stolarz prevented the Eagles from tying the game with an empty net.
“It feels great. It’s one thing to look at the time frame, as it’s been a while,” said head coach Kevin Dineen. “No better place to get it than in front of our home fans. The military as well was represented, as they had us over at the Navy base yesterday and it was nice to follow through with that crew and get a win.”