PREVIEW: Gulls vs. MooseNov 28, 2018
The Gulls return home for a brief homestand to begin a two-game series against the Manitoba Moose at Valley View Casino Center (7 p.m., ESPN 1700).
San Diego is coming off a 6-3 win over Stockton that saw forward Sam Carrick set multiple career marks, scoring a natural hat trick (his first career hat trick) as well as picking up two assists to set a single-game club record with five points. Sam Steel (3-4=7) and Joe Blandisi (1-4=5) extended their respective point streaks to five games, while Simon Benoit scored his first AHL goal. Kevin Boyle (5-3-0) made 41 saves in his fifth win of the season.
With the six-goal performance, San Diego has scored three-or-more goals in each of their previous seven games (27 goals in that span). The Gulls have scored 57 goals through the team’s first 15 games of the season (excluding shootout goals), five more than the 52 goals scored through 15 games in 2016-17. In addition, San Diego has scored three goals in the first period in two of the last three games.
"Going into every game or out of every game, there's always a narrative. It's always something," said Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins. "What we want to do is start on time, sustain it and finish strong. That is the blueprint for success. At this level, especially with a development team and especially with the number of rookies on this team, there's going to be a process, not only learning how to do that, but getting these guys trained right mentally and physically that they can sustain it, and move right through the end of the game.
The Gulls also enter tonight having iced the most players in the Pacific Division this season, with 34 skaters in the lineup in addition to both goaltenders Boyle and Jared Coreau. Ten of those skaters have been rookies that have contributed 18 goals to and 55 points to date.
"I'm excited the way that we've started. I'm excited that we are fast and we are strong. We can really play at a super-high pace early in games. The challenge is going to be can we sustain that every night. It's going to be interesting to see where we end up."
Manitoba enters tonight kicking off a six-game road trip through California and begin with two games in America's Finest City. The Moose are coming off two-game series against the Iowa Wild and earned a 4-3 overtime win and fell 3-2 in regulation.
San Diego and Manitoba begin a four-game season series tonight after having not met since the 2016-17 season. In the four games, the Gulls posted a 2-1-1-0 record. The Gulls won both home games that season and have earned points in three of the four previous matchups, falling 3-2 in overtime in the first-ever meeting on Oct. 28, 2016.
Although, the Gulls and Moose haven’t faced one another in over two years (last: Nov. 12, 2016), the Manitoba roster features some familiar faces. Three Manitoba forwards previously called San Diego home in Logan Shaw (2016, 2018), Ryan White (2017-18) and Nic Kerdiles (2015-18).
Logan Shaw had two previous stints with the Gulls, signing a one-year AHL deal this summer and recording 2-3=5 points in seven games. Since joining the Winnipeg organization after signing a two-way contract with the Jets, Shaw has scored 3-4=7 points in six games. Ryan White spent 21 games in San Diego last season, earning 3-6=9 points on a professional tryout. He has appeared in seven games with the Moose this season, going scoreless. Nic Kerdiles appeared in 121 games for the Gulls, recording 37-39=76 points, tied for third all-time in goals and ranking fifth in points. Kerdiles has registered one assist and four penalty minutes over three games with Manitoba this season.
This past offseason, the Anaheim Ducks traded Kerdiles to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for center Chase De Leo. Prior to joining the Anaheim organization, De Leo played in 211 career games over three seasons with Manitoba, earning 45-62=107 points. In addition, he led the club in points (8) and assists (6) in nine Calder Cup Playoff games in 2018.
“It’s exciting,” said De Leo. “I have to take it just like any other game, but when you’re playing against some of your buddies that you grew up playing with since I was 18-years-old, going to development camps and at the draft against some of the same guys, it will be interesting. I have a new family here now and I just have to take it like it’s another game.”
The Moose reached the quarter-point of the 2018-19 regular season on Saturday. Through 19 games, the team holds a 9-9-1-0 record (19 points), leaving the Moose sixth in the Central Division. Manitoba was 12-5-1-1 through the same number of games the previous season, and 10-7-1-1 the year before.
“They like to be a quick-pace, quick-transition type of team,” said De Leo. “They try not to turn the puck over too much in the neutral zone and were going to have to match that. When we are playing the way we want to play, it’s quick transitions, no turning the puck over, sticking to our plan and sticking to our system.