PREVIEW: Gulls at WildJan 14, 2019
Thirteen games with a point and eight straight wins is how the Gulls ended the first half of their season schedule breaking numerous club records in the process. Tonight the Gulls look to continue their recent dominance in the final matchup of a four-game, nine-day road trip when they visit the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena (5 p.m. PT, Radio: Mighty 1090).
With their most recent game, a 5-2 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals last Saturday night, the Gulls broke and tied franchise records with a 13-game point streak (11-0-0-2), which set a new club record and won their eighth straight game to tie a club best. Both streaks are the longest current such streaks in the AHL.
While there have been contributions throughout the entire roster, the line of Sam Carrick, Max Jones and Matt Berry has led the way of late. Jones (1-2=3) and Carrick (1- 2=3) each recorded three-point games two nights ago, while Berry scored his first game-winner of the season and added an assist. Over the last three games, the line has combined for 6-11=17 points and is responsible for two of the team’s three game-winning goals.
“I think it leads with Sammy. He’s a veteran and you look up to that guy and what he does, what he makes me want to do,” said Jones regarding Carrick. “He goes into the corners really hard and works really hard so he makes me want to work hard. I’m sure Berry feels the same way. I think we just make the simple plays, because that’s all that really matters. Our hard work kind of takes over after that.”
Carrick not only leads the team with 20 goals, but he’s closing in on the league lead as well. The 26-year-old forward is now three goals behind Chris Terry of the Grand Rapid Griffins for the AHL lead. Currently ranking third in that category, both players in front of Carrick have played in seven or more games than him. In addition, he has a three-game goal, assist and point streak (3-5=8), while picking up 13-11=24 points his last 17 contests.
San Diego and Iowa begin a two-game season series tonight in Des Moines. San Diego has won all four previous matchups dating to the 2016-17 season, outscoring the Wild 17-6 overall. The Gulls are 2-0-0-0 at Wells Fargo Arena, including a 4-3 overtime win on Dec. 9, 2017 on the road and a 5-1 victory in San Diego last season on Feb. 6. The two teams will face each other again this season on Feb. 2 at Pechanga Arena San Diego.
In a close race for the Central Division lead, the Iowa Wild are right in the thick of it and are just two points short of tying for first in the division. Their success this season has been largely due to their goal-scoring ability as the club currently ranks third in the Western Conference with 132 goals. On the other side of the ice, they have also found strength with their penalty killing, ranking tied for third in the Conference with an 84.6% success rate despite being short handed more than any team this year (169).
A good hockey team has to be able to win on the road as well as at home. Fortunately, the Gulls are proving to do that as they set another club record with their sixth straight road win, a current AHL high, and have points in eight straight road contests (6-0-0-2). Entering the second half of the season (games 35-68), the Gulls lead the Western Conference and rank second among AHL teams with a 64-30-6-2 record (.667 points percentage).