Gulls Score Five Again in 5-4 Win Over RampageFeb 23, 2019
Five different Gulls scored a goal for the second consecutive game as San Diego defeated the San Antonio Rampage in a 5-4 comeback win. The Gulls now own a 13-3-0-0 all-time record against the Rampage, including a 7-1-0-0 record at home. San Diego has also picked up eight wins their previous 12 games overall (8-3-1-0).
With a sellout crowd of 12,920, the Gulls sold out their third game of the season on the highly anticipated Country Night. The Gulls currently lead the lead in average attendance (8,904 avg.).
“It was electric down there. It’s so loud down on the bench,” said Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins regarding the sellout crowd. “We go into a lot of buildings, if we get up 2-0 on the other team, their fans start lighting up their players, they’re booing them. The opposite happens here. When we get down a couple, they get louder and push us along. There is such a great effect on our players when that happens. It puts them in a positive frame of mind. They feed off of it. I think our fans take a lot of credit for the comeback tonight.”
However, the sellout crowd would not see a goal in the first period as the opening frame of the contest ended the same way that it started, tied at zero.
San Antonio was given the first power play of the game as rookie Jack Kopacka was sent to the penalty box on a double minor high-sticking infraction. Playing a patient game and waiting for the right opportunity, San Antonio’s Ryan Olsen took a pass at the side of the net and slid it through Glass’ legs to gain the game’s first goal. The goal, coming 7:57 into the middle frame, marked Olsen’s eighth goal of the season.
With just 20 seconds remaining in the second half of Kopacka’s double-minor, Kiefer Sherwood was given a two minute minor, also for high-sticking. The Rampage took advantage of the brief five-on-three power-play as Jordan Nolan beat Jeff Glass from a sharp angle just after Kopacka’s penalty expired, doubling the San Antonio lead at the 9:57 mark of the middle frame. Jakub Jerabek and Mitch Reinke collected assists on the power-play goal.
As the second period was nearing an end, a hard San Diego forecheck resulted in a costly turnover and a goal. With a dump and chase effort, several Gulls swarmed a Rampage defenseman behind the net. Feeling the pressure, he tried to clear it down the middle of the ice, but Kevin Roy intercepted it in the slot and beat Coreau five hole at the 15:47 mark of the period. The score marks Roy's first goal of the season in just his fourth game since returning from injury.
“It was a big goal for (Roy). He’s a guy that wants to produce and he’s going to really grade his game a lot of the time off of that,” added Eakins. “In all my years of coaching, there have been very few players who have seemed that dedicated to their fitness level and how they’re going to conduct themselves away from the rink while they’ve been hurt like that. He’s come back in excellent shape and it’s great to see him have success.”
Right off the following faceoff, Simon Benoit collected a loose puck at center ice and skated into the San Antonio zone down the left wing. As Chase De Leo crashed the net, Benoit fired a low shot on goal that snuck through Coreau’s pads, tying the game just 15 seconds after Roy’s goal. With the tally, Benoit has 2-10=12 points in 49 games this season and ranks third among AHL rookie defensemen with a +16 rating. Kiefer Sherwood earned the lone assist, giving him 4-4=8 points in his last nine games.
San Antonio reclaimed the lead early in the third period as a defensive zone turnover came back to cost San Diego. Trevor Smith took the puck from the Gulls just inside the blue line before setting up Bobby MacIntyre for the back door goal, putting the Rampage ahead 3-2 only 1:03 into the third period. The go-ahead tally gives MacIntyre goals in consecutive games for the first time in his career.
As a result of another strong forecheck, the Gulls tied things back up at three goals. Patrick Eaves poked the puck off of a Rampage defender’s stick and out of the corner before Ben Street took control of it. Street flipped the puck over to Sam Carrick who shot it above Coreau’s glove and into the net at the 6:37 mark of the third. With the goal, Carrick continues to build on a career year that has seen him break personal bests and club records as the forward leads the Gulls in scoring (26-21=47) and now trails the lead-league in goals by just one.
Just over halfway through the final period, the Gulls took their first lead of the night. Jacob Larsson skated the puck over the San Antonio blue line before leaving a drop pass for Roy, who fired a high shot on goal. Coreau made the first save, but couldn’t control the rebound and Adam Cracknell beat everyone to the loose puck, putting the Gulls ahead 4-3 with 9:15 left in the third period. The goal marks Cracknell’s fifth point (2-3=5) in his last four games. Fifth all-time in points for the San Diego Gulls (31-56=87), Roy earned the primary assist for his fourth point (1G/3A) in as many games.
Justin Kloos extended the Gulls lead to 5-3 with an empty net goal with 1:20 remaining in the third period. The goals extends Kloos’ scoring streak to six games (1-5=6) and gives him 3-12=15 points in his last 16 games.
San Antonio wouldn’t go down quietly though, as Klim Kostin set up Chris Thorburn for a one timer in the slot and veteran winger beat Glass over the right shoulder, cutting the Gulls lead to 5-4 with 19 seconds left. The Rampage couldn’t add an equalizer though, as the Gulls held on to win 5-4.
“It shows the resiliency we have. It doesn’t matter if we’re up or down 2-0, we play the same way,” said Gulls forward Roy. “We just knew it was going to turn around and we were going to get our chances and we just needed to take care of those, and we did. We were able to come back and get a big win.”
The Gulls will visit the Stockton Heat for a back-to-back matchup at Stockton Arena on Friday, Mar. 1 (7 p.m.) and Saturday, Mar. 2 (6 p.m.).