Late Goal Sinks Gulls in 3-2 Loss at OntarioOct 26, 2019
The Gulls closed out their October schedule and a home-and-home matchup with a 3-2 setback to the Ontario Reign at Toyota Arena. Ontario forward Matt Luff broke a 2-2 tie with 4:50 remaining in regulation to seal the win for Ontario to push their record to 6-1-1-0. Cal Petersen won his third game in four nights for Ontario, stopping 30-of-32 shots. Jaret Anderson-Dolan contributed a goal and assist while rookie defenseman Tobias Bjornfot found the net for the Reign.
Gulls rookie forward Antoine Morand scored the first goal of his AHL career just one night after recording his first professional point (assist) while Chris Wideman scored on the power-play for the second straight game. Andrew Poturalski recorded his first multi-point game for the Gulls and Anthony Stolarz made 33 saves in the setback.
“I think we played our best game of the season, but we keep making the same mistakes that cost us the game,” said Morand following the game. “It’s hard to stay positive, but we just have to grind make sure we find our way to the victory. I think it was a good step forward tonight and we will keep building on the good things and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes.”
It didn’t take long for the Reign to get on the board as forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan got Ontario on the board just 59 seconds into the game. After taking a pass from Carl Grundstrom, Anderson-Dolan snuck the puck past both Gulls defenders and put the puck behind Stolarz for the early score. Defenseman Paul LaDue also picked up an assist on the play.
Midway through the first period, San Diego went on the power play following a two-minute goaltender interference call on Ontario forward Mario Kempe. The Gulls had several scoring chances before Wideman eventually ripped a slapshot past Reign netminder Cal Petersen at the 12:27 mark of the opening frame. Poturalski took a rebound behind the net and threw the puck to Justin Kloos who backhanded it to Wideman at the point for the score.
Wideman’s power-play goal extended his point streak to three games (2-1=3), the longest point streak of the Gulls season. With the primary assist on the play, Kloos recorded his first point of 2019-20 while Poturalski added his second of the season.
With just over a minute remaining in the period, Gulls defenseman Josh Mahura sent Daniel Sprong on a breakaway with a stretch pass down the middle. Sprong attempted a backhand shot, but Petersen denied the chance. The score was tied at one after 20 minutes of play, the shots favoring San Diego 14-9.
Tensions grew between the two teams and a post-whistle scrum turned into a fight between Chaz Reddekopp and Scott Moldenhauer to kick off the second frame.
Ontario’s top line struck again when Grundstrom pushed the puck to the middle of the ice for a 2-on-0 breakaway. Anderson-Dolan passed across the ice to defenseman Tobias Bjornfot who scored on a wrist shot 7:32 into the middle period. The score marked the second point of the night for Grundstrom (0G/2A) and Anderson-Dolan (1G/1A).
Morand continued his noteworthy weekend with his first AHL goal that took just five seconds after the puck dropped for a faceoff in Reign territory. Poturalski and Sam Carrick teamed up following the draw to work a quick, drawn-up play to find Morand at the far post for a tap-in and his first goal since turning pro this season.
Ontario appeared to take the lead when Mikey Eyssimont batted the puck out of the air and into the Gulls net. The goal was waved off by the back-side referee as the puck was touched above the crossbar and deemed a high stick, keeping the score even at two apiece.
After two Gulls penalties separated by 26 seconds, the Reign were given 94 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play that saw several scoring chances, but a few blocked shots and strong defensive play kept the game tied.
The momentum couldn’t be turned into a positive result as shortly after the back-to-back kills Ontario took the lead with 4:50 remaining in the contest when Kempe dropped the puck back to Luff on an odd-man rush. Luff fired a shot from the left faceoff circle and beat Stolarz to take a late lead in the heated contest.
The Gulls made a late push but were forced to pull Stolarz for the extra attacker. Ontario was able to hold San Diego off and maintain the lead to the end of the game, holding on for the win and a weekend sweep.
The Gulls will wait six days to open a two-game homestand and a back-to-back matchup vs. the Colorado Eagles on Friday, Nov. 1 and Saturday, Nov. 2.