PREVIEW: Gulls at AdmiralsJan 12, 2019
The Gulls look to set history tonight as they put their club record-tying 12-game point streak and eight-game win streak on the line when they visit the Milwaukee Admirals at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena (5 p.m. PT, stream only, AHL TV free preview) as the league’s hottest team. The Gulls (18-11-1-3) enter tonight with a season-high seven consecutive wins and points in a club record-tying 12 straight games (10-0-0-2), both the longest current such streaks in the AHL. A win would set a new mark for points in consecutive games and tie the club record for consecutive victories. Their 120 goals marks the Gulls’ highest goal total through 33 games in club history surpassing their previous best of 105 in 2017-18. In addition, San Diego also ranks second in the AHL with 3.7 goals per game.
“Right before Christmas, I thought we were playing great hockey,” said Chase De Leo regarding the win streak. “We came back from break and were playing really good hockey as well. We’re keeping it going. We’re hot right now, but we can’t get too high and we can’t get too low. I think we’ve been doing really good at that so far.”
In their most recent game, a 7-4 win over the Stockton Heat, Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins picked up his 136th victory behind the bench for San Diego. The mark surpassed Kevin Dineen for the most wins by a head coach of an Anaheim Ducks primary affiliate.
The win marked milestones for several Gulls players as well. Goaltender Kevin Boyle continued his club record with his ninth straight win. Veteran forward Adam Cracknell set a new career high with four points (1-3=4), while also tied a career high in assists. In just his second game this season, defenseman Korbinian Holzer recorded his first multi-goal game, his first two goals for San Diego.
“I think we have a lot of guys with confidence,” said Eakins following the win over Stockton. “I do know the group really believes in each other. We have guys that are not in the lineup tonight who are very, very good players, and it’s something that we’re managing. I think it says a lot about our group’s character. I thought the guys that played tonight really honored those guys who were out of the lineup who are dying to get back in. It’s great when you see your team come out and battle like that.”
San Diego looks forward to Milwaukee, where they will conclude a two-game season series. San Diego won the first matchup this season, a 4-2 win at Pechanga Arena San Diego to improve to 4-1-0-0 all-time against Milwaukee. The Gulls are 1-1-0-0 at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena in two previous visits, and a perfect 3-0-0-0 on home ice. Last season the Gulls swept the two-game season series with a 5-2 win at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Dec. 5, 2017 and a 2-0 shutout win at home on Mar. 16, 2018.
The Admirals have won three of their four games in the new calendar year and have surrendered just eight goals over that span (2.0 goals allowed per game). This season, teams have had difficulty scoring on the Admirals as they currently lead the Central Division and rank fifth in the AHL for fewest goals against with 103 over 38 games.
A big reason for their defensive success has been goaltender Troy Grosenick, who currently ranks second in the AHL in save percentage (.924) and fourth in goals against average (2.35). The netminder has allowed fewer than four goals in 14 of his previous 15 games played, posting a 8-5-1 record over that span.
The Gulls will face Central Division opponents on 12 occasions this season. San Diego enters tonight with wins in 15 of their last 19 games (15-2-2-0, 32 of a possible 38 points) against Central Division opponents. San Diego is 20-7-2-0 all-time (.724%) against the Central Division (12-3-1-0 at home), including 2-1-0-0 overall this season.