Larsson Delivers Knockout Punch in Overtime
Swedish defenseman records second career overtime goal to give San Diego the win.Dec 7, 2019
Jacob Larsson scored 3:18 into overtime to give the Gulls a 4-3 win over the Colorado Eagles. Despite an early two-goal deficit in the first period, the Gulls were able to come away with a win to get back to .500 and improve to 9-3-1-0 the last 13 games.
“We’ve been battling for that for quite a while,” Head Coach Kevin Dineen said. “We put ourselves in a hole at the beginning of the year and it doesn’t happen overnight. To get there, it’s a big moment for us. The effort was there. We got down early in the game just like we got down early in the season, but it showed some great character and we got some contributions from some different places tonight and that was a big difference-maker for us.”
Deven Sideroff, Patrick Sieloff and Larsson each scored their first goal of the 2019-20 season, while Antoine Morand netted his second goal of his rookie campaign. Chase De Leo and Daniel Sprong each recorded two assists in the win. Anthony Stolarz made 29 saves to improve to 9-1-1 in his last 11 starts.
Colorado got on the scoreboard early as Julian Nantel and Jayson Megna each scored a goal within the first 1:54 of the game. Left wing A.J. Greer broke out of Colorado’s defensive zone with a pass to Anton Lindholm, who tipped the puck to Nantel at San Diego’s blue line. Nantel scored on a wrist shot from the bottom of the circle 23 seconds into the contest.
The second scoring play began when Erik Condra brought the puck into Gulls zone and passed it to Ryan Wagner. Stolarz blocked Wagner’s original shot, but Megna was able to get to the rebound and shoot the puck over Stolarz’s glove.
Colorado’s first score 23 seconds into the game marks the second earliest goal surrendered by the Gulls in club history. In addition, the second score at the 1:54 mark of the frame tied the all-time record for earliest two goals surrendered. Both prior records were set on Feb. 24, 2016 at Stockton, when Freddie Hamilton scored 21 seconds into the game and Turner Elson added another at the 1:54 mark of the period.
Not long after, gloves were on the ice after Corey Tropp threw a booming hit on Colorado defenseman Kevin Connauton. Condra confronted Tropp about the check and a fight quickly ensued. Max Jones and Colin Campbell were also given fighting majors late in the period. Despite trailing, the Gulls outshot Colorado 14-9 through 20 minutes of play and killed both of the Eagles power-play opportunities.
San Diego bounced back and cut the lead to one goal with 16:22 left in the second period on a goal by Morand. Following a neutral zone turnover by Colorado, Chris Wideman sent a pass up ice to De Leo, entering the Colorado zone. De Leo dropped the puck to Sprong, who circled behind the net and passed it in front to Morand who stuffed the puck past Hunter Miska for his second goal of the year.
After spending the first part of the season with the Tulsa Oilers of the ECHL, Sideroff scored his first goal of the season, tying the game 2-2 with 16 second remaining in the middle frame. Larsson disrupted Colorado’s effort to bring the puck out of the zone, deflected the puck and passed it to Sideroff in front of the net. Sideroff’s initial shot was stopped, but scored on the second opportunity after gaining control of his own rebounded shot. Larsson added the lone assist for his first point of the season in his second game with the Gulls. The goal marked his first in 46 games for San Diego, his last coming Dec. 30, 2017 at Texas.
“It was quite the scramble to start the goal, but as soon as I got the puck towards the net, I wasn’t letting it have a chance,” said Sideroff. “I was putting it in the back of the cage.”
Through two periods of play, San Diego continued to hold the shot advantage 30-23 and were successful on another two penalty kills, both minors by Jones. The Gulls were also unable to score on either of their two power-play chances.
San Diego scored the go-ahead goal 11:46 into the final period. De Leo won the faceoff to the right of Miska, sending the puck to Sieloff. The defenseman sent a one-timer at the net, and the puck trickled through the pads of the Eagles netminder. The goal marked Sieloff’s first point of the season and first goal with San Diego.
Colorado answered to tie the score 3-3 with 2:31 remaining in regulation on a goal by Shane Bowers. Bowers dumped the puck into the Gulls zone and the Eagles managed to come up with the puck from the scrum in the corner. Michael Joly passed the puck to Greer, who sent a one-touch pass to Bowers from behind the net out front, and Bowers’ shot beat Stolarz high for the equalizer to force overtime.
With 1:42 remaining in the overtime, San Diego scored the golden goal to claim two points. Alex Broadhurst won the faceoff in the Gulls zone and passed the puck to Larsson who skated it behind Stolarz’s net. After a few passes between Larsson and Jani Hakanpaa, Larsson skated into the Eagles’ zone to face Miska. Larsson pulled the puck to his backhand and lifted it above sprawling Miska’s left pad for the goal.
“We won the draw and I gave it to Jani, and he passed back,” said Larsson. “I think he wanted to change, but I passed it to him. I tried to get past my guy, he made a good pass, then I tried to fake the goalie and it worked. It’s nice.”
The Gulls three-game homestand wraps up against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday, Dec. 11 (7 p.m.).