PREVIEW: Gulls at EaglesFeb 12, 2019
It’s time for a bounce back game following a rare lopsided setback. Tonight the Gulls continues a club record long six-game road trip in the first of a back-to-back against the Colorado Eagles at Budweiser Events Center (6:05 p.m. PT, Radio: Mighty 1090). In 20 of their last 24 games (17-4-1-2) the Gulls have earned points while also picking up points in 12 of their last 14 road games (9-2-1-2).
The Gulls and Eagles meet for the fifth time this season and the third contest at Budweiser Events Center. In the first season series between the clubs, the Gulls and Eagles have split the first four contests with each team winning their respective home games. The two teams have only met one another in games coming on back-to-back days. Tonight begins the 12th set of back-to-back games this season, where the Gulls are 13-5-1-3 overall, including 6-3-0-2 in the first matchup (7-2-1-1 in the second).
The first meetings between the two clubs on Nov. 9 and 10 ended with 4-3 and 3-2 respective victories for the Gulls at Pechanga Arena San Diego. In December, the tables turned in Colorado’s favor as the AHL’s newest member earned 2-0 (Dec. 7) and 4-3 (Dec. 8) wins.
“That team is very well coached,” said head coach Dallas Eakins regarding the intensity of their matchup on Nov. 10. “Their coach [Greg Cronin] is a hard-nosed guy. I know him very, very well and I expected his team to play that way. You get that in these back-to-backs. There’s still some blood boiling from the night before and it makes for entertaining hockey.”
The four previous contests have all come down to the wire. With the exception of the 2-0 contest on Dec. 7 that saw a last minute empty net goal for the Eagles, each of the games have been decided by a single goal. In addition, all four game-winning goals in the season series have been scored in the latter minutes of the third period.
“This year isn’t going to be any different, there’s going to be a lot of one-goal games,” added Eakins following the Nov. 9 game. “We have to find a level of comfort with that when the game is tied, we’re down by a goal or maybe we’re up one. It’s a good experience to be in..”
Gulls leading scorer Sam Carrick has recorded two multi-point nights to pace the team in scoring with four points in four games (2-2=4). The 27-year-old forward recently set a new club-record with his 22nd goal of the season, Feb. 6 vs. Ontario and then set a new career high with his 42nd point (22-20=42) to surpass his previous high of 41 set last season just two nights later at the Reign.
In Colorado’s inaugural AHL season, forward and AHL All-Star Andrew Agozzino leads the team in scoring (20-25=45), goals and assists, averaging a point per game. On the other end of the ice, goaltender Pavel Francouz is 16-10-2-1 with a 2.81 goals against average and .915 save percentage. Francouz has been the starting netminder in all four games against the Gulls, picking up his lone shutout of 2018-19 on Dec. 7.