Gulls Tie Club Record with 12-Game Point Streak Following 7-4 Win at StocktonJan 9, 2019
The Gulls tied a club record with 12 consecutive games gaining a point in the standings as the team won their seventh consecutive game in a 7-4 victory over the Stockton Heat tonight at Stockton Arena. Adam Cracknell recorded a career-high four points (1G/3A) points and tied a career-high with three assists in the decisive victory.
With the win, Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins now has 136 victories behind the bench for San Diego to surpass Kevin Dineen for the most wins by a head coach of an Anaheim Ducks primary affiliate. Eakins and the Gulls have a 136-82-11-8 record, good for 291 points in 237 games (.614%) dating to 2015. San Diego leads the Pacific Division in all-time wins, points and points percentage since its inception in 2015.
Kevin Boyle extended his club record to nine consecutive win dating from Dec. 15, posting a 2.21 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. Boyle improved to 14-5-0 this season and ranks third among AHL leaders in wins. The Gulls have won a season-high five straight road games and have points in seven straight road contests (5-0-0-2), both current AHL highs.
San Diego jumped out to another early lead as Sam Steel scored just 1:26 into the game, marking his second consecutive game with a goal. Joe Blandisi forced the turnover on the forecheck as he kicked the puck free to Troy Terry. The Gulls leading scorer, Terry, waited for his linemates to find space before sliding it past a defender and right to Steel for the score. With the early score, point streaks were extended to three games for both Steel (2G/2A) and Terry (3G/2A).
“That’s how we want to start,” said Eakins regarding the game’s first goal. “It was a great start by Sam Carrick’s line and then we came back with another one. It’s an interesting game. Some nights you have a great start and it falls away and sometimes you can start slow but we’re still searching for that game where we’re relentless each and every second of the game.
Less than two minutes later, the Heat evened things up at one as Glenn Gawdin made the most of a strong forecheck and scored 3:23 into the first period. Forcing a turnover, Stockton’s Michael Paliotta fired a shot from the point as San Diego netminder Kevin Boyle made the initial save. Gawdin then found the loose puck and put home the rebounded goal.
With the Heat’s Ryan Lomberg in the penalty box for slashing, the Gulls patiently circled the puck in the offensive zone. Sam Carrick took a shot, but the puck hit a Stockton skate and bounced directly to Korbinian Holzer who retook the lead for the Gulls on an untouched wrist shot from the point at the 11:49 mark of the opening frame.
Holzer’s tally marked the veterans first goal as a Gull, with his last score coming 41 games ago on March 19, 2014 during his time the Toronto Marlies. With an assist, Ben Street recorded his first point with San Diego after his making his season debut with the Gulls on Jan. 6 at Ontario.
Alan Quine of the Heat would score two goals within a minute to quickly steal the lead for Stockton. The first came as Quine shot the puck wide of the net, but hit Holzer’s leg and bounced into the net with 4:42 left in the first period. The second tally, just 42 seconds later, was a product of Adam Ollas Mattsson who passed the puck back to Quine to beat Boyle high on the blocker side. Buddy Robinson added an assist on each of Quine’s two goals.
"We stuck to the game plan. We knew our first two periods weren't great, we had a couple breakdowns," said Cracknell. "We knew that is a high-offensive team over there, but if we stuck with it and pressured the puck hard, we were going to create our own chances. We had a lot of good shifts down low, I think that if we stick with that, it’s not the easiest thing to do, but it’s simple for our team."
Holzer continued to add to the scoresheet with a wrist shot from the top of the slot, marking his second tally of the night and first ever multi-goal game. Chase De Leo and Cracknell each contributed to the goal as De Leo dumped the puck to Cracknell in the offensive zone before setting up Holzer for the score 2:29 into the second period.
With Alex Dostie in the penalty box for a hooking minor, Carrick swiped a puck from Stockton in the defensive zone and right to Cracknell for a breakaway opportunity. The 33-year-old forward beat both defenders down the ice and put the puck through Jon Gillies pads for the tally 49 seconds after San Diego’s previous score. The goal while on the penalty kill marked the sixth shorthanded tally for San Diego this season and fourth on the road.
The Gulls found themselves shorthanded again as Simon Benoit took a two-minute minor for hooking. This time, the Heat capitalized on the man advantage as Quine completed the hat trick on a tic-tac-toe play for his third goal of the game, 9:07 into the third. Quine’s three tallies marks the his second hat trick in his last 12 games and the third of his career. Gawdin picked up his second point of the game with an assist on the score.
The game looked as if it was headed to overtime as the score was tied at four with less than two minutes left in regulation. Cracknell had other plans as he and De Leo connected on a cross-ice pass that resulted in the go-ahead goal and eventual game-winner for De Leo with 91 seconds left on the clock. With a goal and an assist tonight, De Leo has recorded 3-7=10 points over his last 10 games played. Street picked up his second assist of the night on the play.
“We stuck to the game plan,” added Cracknell. “We knew our first two periods weren't great, we’ve had a couple breakdowns. We knew that is a high-offensive team over there, but if we stuck with it and pressured the puck hard, we were going to create our own chances. We got a goal with a minute and a half left and that’s what it takes.”
The Gulls added another just 20 seconds later as Carrick cleaned up a rebound from a shot by the captain Jaycob Megna. Cracknell added an assist on the play for his fourth point of the night, while gaining 2-4=6 points over his last four games. The goal marked Carrick’s third point of the night, giving the forward back-to-back multi-point games (2G/3A).
Blandisi scored an unassisted empty-netter with 30 seconds left in the game, giving him 3-5=8 points in the last five games played. In addition, the goal and assist marked his seventh multi-point game this season and sixth over his last 11 games.
San Diego will continue the four-game road trip on Saturday, Jan. 12 at Milwaukee (5 p.m. PT) and conclude on Monday, Jan. 14 at Iowa (5 p.m. PT).