Preview: Gulls Look to Cool Heat in StocktonOct 12, 2019
The Gulls conclude a season-opening three-game road trip to begin the 2019-20 regular season tonight against the Stockton Heat at Stockton Arena (6 p.m., Stream: AHLTV, Radio: SanDiegoGulls.com/stream).
Tonight marks the third straight game where the Gulls will be involved in a team’s home opener, and begins the second of a back-to-back matchup after the Gulls fell 5-1 to San Jose at SAP Center. The Gulls were 15-10-2-3 overall in back-to-backs, with an 8-4-2-1 record in the second contest.
The two clubs will open a 12-game season series tonight and the first of a home-and-home set between the clubs (Oct. 18 at Pechanga Arena). The Gulls are 15-17-3-3 all-time vs. the Heat, including a 6-10-1-2 record on the road. The Gulls posted a 3-4-0-1 record vs. the Heat in 2018-19 in addition to a 3-1-0-0 mark at Stockton Arena. The last time these teams faced one another at Stockton Arena, the Gulls earned a 3-0 shutout win on the roar Mar. 2, 2019.
Sam Carrick paced all active skaters in scoring (4-8=12), goals and assists in eight contests vs. Stockton in 2018-19. Five of those 12 points came in a single game when Carrick scored his first career hat trick, a natural hat trick, and set a career-high and Gulls single-game record with five points (3-2=5) Nov. 25 at Stockton. Kevin Boyle went 2-1-0 in four games against the Heat last season.
Boyle would be expected to start having not made his season debut through San Diego’s first two contests. Coming off a career season where he went 24-13-2 with a 2.90 goals-against average (GAA) and .907 save percentage (SV%) in 43 games, he along with the team in front of him will still be searching for their first win of the 2019-20 season as an 0-2 mark to start with losses in Bakersfield (Oct. 4) and last night in San Jose. Last night’s setback saw Hunter Drew recorded his first professional goal and point, but the Gulls were unable to secure the win despite a 37-save performance from goaltender Anthony Stolarz.
“I don’t think you want to sit on this game for too long,” added Dineen. “We have belief in our group here and expect a much better effort tomorrow night.”
Stockton, on the other hand, opened its season with consecutive wins against Colorado (Oct. 4-5), outscoring the Eagles 9-2 in the two games. The Heat have scored one goal on 10 power-play opportunities, but have also allowed just one power-play goal on 12 chances in addition to a shorthanded goal.
Three Stockton skaters have tallied two goals on the season in forwards Buddy Robinson, Matthew Phillips and Byron Froese. In addition, Justin Kirkland, who spent his first three years in Milwaukee before joining the Heat this season, has recorded three points in the two games (1G/2A).
Between the pipes through the first two games for Stockton was Artyom Zagidulin, a Magnitorsk, Russia native who has stopped 60-of-64 shots to post back-to-back wins with a 2.00 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in his first games in North America.