Eakins Wins 300th AHL Game in Gulls 6-4 Victory Over ReignFeb 8, 2019
The Gulls began a club record six-game road trip with a 6-4 win over the Ontario Reign at Citizens Business Bank Arena. San Diego has wins in 14 of their last 18 games (14-3-1-0) and points in 20 of 23 (17-3-1-2), in addition to points in 12 of their last 13 road games (9-1-1-2).
With the win, Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins became the 21st head coach in AHL history to reach 300 wins. In 560 career AHL games as a head coach, Eakins has a 300-199-27-34 record with San Diego (2015-present) and Toronto (2009-13). Eakins has led San Diego to a 143-85-12-8 record in 248 games to lead the Pacific Division in all-time wins, points (306) and points percentage (.617%) since the division’s inception in 2015.
Four Gulls recorded multi-point games as Corey Tropp (2G/A), Chase De Leo (2G), Jack Kopacka (1G/1A) and Max Jones (1G/1A) paced the team to their 25th win of the season while goaltender Jeff Glass stopped stopped 29-of-33 shots to mark his third win for San Diego in his 200th career AHL game
“The bounce-back was good,” said San Diego head coach Dallas Eakins regarding the bounce-back win against the Reign. “I thought Ontario played a real good period in the first. I thought we had a great start and it started to fall away from us. We were trying early in the second, but it was going against us, but again, the resilience of the group to stay in the fight. Through that resilience, we were able to get a win.”
San Diego got off to a hot start, scoring two goals early in the opening frame. The first score, coming at the 2:24 mark, began with a blocked shot at the point by Corey Tropp. Rookie forward Max Jones gathered the puck and threw it down the ice to give Tropp a breakaway chance. After faking a shot, Tropp put it through the legs of Ontario goaltender Cal Petersen for an early lead.
Under two minutes later, the Gulls took control of the puck in the offensive zone as Justin Kloos set up Andrej Sustr for a wrist shot from the blue line. Chase De Leo deflected the shot before it found the back of the net 4:04 into the period, marking his third goal in four games. With an assist on the score, Kloos (0-5=5) extended point and assist streaks to four games.
With exactly a minute remaining in the first, Ontario got on the board to cut the San Diego lead to 2-1. Ontario’s leading goal scorer, Matt Moulson, added another with a wrist shot from the slot on a pass from Philippe Maillet. Moulson has a goal in each of the four previous games against the Gulls.
The second period would pick up right where it left off as Ontario scored two goals in a span 43 seconds . At the 1:30 mark of the second frame, Maillet added a goal on a fortuitous bounce in front of the net for his second point of the night. Just after, San Diego went on the penalty kill for tripping minor and Moulson picked up his second goal and third point of the night.
Midway through the middle frame, Max Jones stole the puck from a Reign defender in the defensive zone and found himself on an odd-man rush. Electing to shoot the puck, Jones ripped one past Petersen’s glove for his 14th goal of the season 8:34 into the second, tying the game at three goals each. His two-point performance moved him into a tie for seventh in goals (14) among rookie skaters this season.
Jack Kopacka scored another goal to retake the lead for the Gulls 2:03 into the third. His initial shot went off the boards and bounced back out, giving Kopacka an open net for the score. With the tally, Kopacka now has three goals over his previous five games and four goals on the season.
Corey Tropp netted his second goal of the night, the eventual game-winner, for his 44th career multi-point game and ninth career multi-goal game. His three points tied a career-high for points scored in a single game set on 11 previous occasions (previously Nov. 23, 2018 vs. Stockton). Tropp leads San Diego in all-time goals against the Ontario Reign (8-12=20, 28 games). Kopacka added an assist for his first career multi-point game (1G/1A).
San Diego capped off a six-goal night as De Leo scored his second of the night for his 14th career multi-point game and sixth career multi-goal game. The tally also marks his sixth point (4G, 2A) in his last four games as he rides a four-game point streak. Sam Carrick assisted on the goal setting a new career high in points in a season (22-20=42), previous set 2017-18 with 13-28=41 points.
“We needed that one,” said Chase De Leo on the win. “Obviously we weren’t happy with our last game and we have pretty high expectations. I think it was definitely a good bounce back and we can enjoy it for a few minutes here before we forget about it and move on to Bakersfield”
San Diego will continue their six-game road trip against the Bakersfield Condors tomorrow, Feb. 9 at Rabobank Arena (7 p.m. PT, Radio: Mighty 1090).