Jeff Glass Shuts Out Heat to Backstop Gulls to 3-0 WinMar 2, 2019
Jeff Glass stopped all 20 shots to earn his sixth career shutout as the Gulls held the Stockton Heat scoreless in a 3-0 win tonight at Stockton Arena. Glass’ shutout performance is his first since Feb 15, 2017 when he stopped 37 shots against the Cleveland Monsters in his time with the Rockford IceHogs.
Glass also picked up his third straight win and 11th of the season. The shutout win marked San Diego’s first since Mar. 16, 2018 vs. Milwaukee as former goaltender Reto Berra made 37 saves in the win.
"It was nice, a good team effort. You say that and it’s kind of cliche, but tonight really was a team effort," said Glass. "That was one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of as a goalie. They kept all of the shots to the outside and it really did make my life easy. You hear it a lot, ‘team win,’ but tonight was an absolute team win."
In addition to Glass’ stellar performance, Sam Steel scored two goals for his third career multi-goal game. Adam Cracknell also found the back of the net for San Diego to help the Gulls to their 19th win in their last 27 contests (19-6-2-0) and have earned points in 26 of the last 32 games (22-6-2-2). The Gulls have also earned points in 26 of the last 32 games overall (22-6-2-2) and six of the last eight (5-2-1-0). In addition, the Gulls have collected points in 16 of their last 20 road contests (12-4-2-2).
"It was night and day (from last night)," said head coach Dallas Eakins on the win that followed a dismal 5-2 loss 24 hours ago. "I thought it was an excellent response from our guys. It’s something that we’ve come to expect from them. That’s the one thing I think we’ve done really well as a group, is respond after a tough like we had last night."
The first period began with a number of chances going each way, including a Justin Kloos shot that hit the post, but neither team was able to find the back of the net. As the opening frame was nearing a close, San Diego found themselves on a two-on-one breakaway thanks to a breakout pass by defenseman Andy Welinski. Sam Steel controlled the puck on the odd-man rush and elected to shoot rather than pass. From the inside of the faceoff circle, Steel fired an untouched wrist shot past Gillies blocker to get the Gulls on the board with 2:29 remaining in the first period.
The Gulls have scored the first goal of the game in both of the back-to-back contests against Stockton and in seven of their previous eight games played. Kiefer Sherwood also added an assist on the goal to push his point streak to four games (1-3=4).
Perhaps a lesson learned from last night’s loss, the Gulls kept their foot on the gas and didn’t let up after their first goal. From the drop of the puck, San Diego wasted no time entering the Stockton zone with a hard forecheck. Sam Carrick dug the puck out of the corner and to Corey Tropp who immediately threw it from behind the net towards Adam Cracknell in the slot. With no defenders to stop him, Cracknell skated around the crease and beat Gillies on the far post just 15 seconds following the previous goal.
With the goal, Cracknell extended his point streak to five games (3-4=7) and has points in 11 of his previous 12 games with the Gulls (9-8=17).
Tropp's assist marks his 30th point of the season (16G/14A). He has now reached the 30-point mark in three consecutive seasons, becoming the first player to ever accomplish that with San Diego. With 17-26=43 points in 2017-18 and 21-33=54 points in 2016-17, Tropp could potentially reach the 40-point mark for the third consecutive season as well.
Carrick also earned an assist on the goal and now has seven points (5-2=7) his last six games and 10 points (4-6=10) in five games against the Heat in 2018-19.
During the final frame, San Diego killed hree straight infractions by Steel, Kloos and Matt Berry to seal the win. It was a strong special teams effort to reward Glass on his first shutout of the season as Eakins said the unit was "determined, especially when we had the three in a row there in the third period."
Down by two goals, Stockton pulled their goalie late in the third in hopes to score a couple of goals and tie the game. However, as the Heat entered the Gulls’ zone, a missed pass would result in Steel coming up with the puck. Steel took it to the red line at center ice and fired a shot that would hit the back of the net with five seconds left in the game.
Rookie forward Steel has been as hot as anyone on the Gulls as of late as his tally marks his fifth goal in as many games with the Gulls. In addition, the 21-year-old now has six points (5-1=6) in five games against Stockton this season.
The Gulls will return to San Diego to begin a three-game homestand beginning on Wednesday, Mar. 6 vs. Stockton (7 p.m.). The homestand will also feature a back-to-back matchup against the Colorado Eagles on Friday, Mar. 8 (7 p.m.) and Saturday, Mar. 9 (7 p.m., FOX 5 San Diego).