Preview: Gulls Open Preseason Today in OntarioSep 26, 2018
Sept. 27, 2018
The Gulls open their 2018 preseason schedule today with a road contest against the Ontario Reign at Citizens Business Bank Arena (10 a.m., Radio: None). Today marks the first of two preseason contests for the Gulls, both of which will come against the Reign. All-time, San Diego has posted a 4-2-0-1 record in seven preseason games, including a 2-0-0-1 mark on the road.
With 13 players currently on San Diego's training camp roster, the Gulls except to receive an influx of players from Anaheim later this morning to fill out the roster for today's contest. With two days of practice under their belt, the focus will quickly turn to preparing for the team's first game, albeit a different preparation with a 10 a.m. puck drop.
"I think you always want more but I don't want to skate them into the ice," said Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins. "The good thing is they've had lots of time for the Ducks coaches to do a lot of teaching, so now we're really trying to nail in the details. For me the one thing I look for in every game and every practice is who is competing...For me it's always about competing, who's willing to compete and who is not."
Heading into his fourth season as the team's head coach, Eakins didn't seem fazed on the early start time.
"I'm up early anyway, I don't mind the 10 o'clock game. All of these guys have basically been training to play at 7 o'clock at night," added Eakins. "Just that different routine sometimes throws them off. I'm all about adversity, and that's a pretty low level of adversity to wake up and play a game at 10 o'clock."
Ontario is a team the Gulls have seen 36 times over the past three regular seasons, with the Gulls owning a 21-13-1-1 record in those contests. The Gulls have also earned an 11-7-1-0 record in the 18 games at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Despite all of that, for Eakins, the focus always remains on his team and what they can do to compete and prepare on their end.
"I rarely concern myself with the other team," said Eakins. "Did we do a quick pre-scout of them and take a look at their tendencies and all that? Absolutely. I can can't on one hand the amount of times I've come in after a game and spoke about what the other team. It’s always about us. It’s always about our habits. It’s always about our team. I think that’s where you have to keep your focus."
"(We're) looking forward to it," said Gulls left wing Giovanni Fiore. "A team effort and hopefully we’ll get a win to start off the preseason with a good win."
Preparation is a necessity, especially with a young group of players that haven't yet had the opportunity to play together for more than a few practices. Yet the group is working together on the ice and making the most of time off the ice to build chemistry.
"We have to learn our d-zone breakouts, D-zone faceoffs, O-zone faceoffs and all of that stuff," added Fiore. "It’s exciting with new guys and new faces. We’re looking forward to [the game]. We’re all here together, we’re all here having fun together and working hard together. It’s hockey, everybody gets together pretty close and pretty soon so that’s the fun part of the sport."
Today also marks Ontario's preseason opener, the first of two games on their exhibition schedule. After a today's tilt, both teams will face one another in four days on Monday, Oct. 2 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The game at Honda Center will be the fourth consecutive exhibition contest between the clubs at the Anaheim Ducks' arena.
Following today’s game, the Gulls will conclude their exhibition schedule with a contest vs. the Ontario Reign on Monday, Oct. 1 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. (7 p.m.). San Diego opens the 2018-19 regular season on Saturday, Oct. 6 at Tucson (7:05 p.m. PT, Mighty 1090-AM), with the club’s Home Opener on Friday, Oct. 12 vs. Tucson (7 p.m., FOX 5 San Diego, ESPN 1700-AM).