Gulls Open Homestand with Loss to StocktonMar 6, 2019
The Gulls tied a club record with four power-play goals tonight, but were unable to walk away with the win as the Stockton Heat scored five unanswered goals to overcome a two-goal deficit in a 7-5 f inal. Adam Cracknell scored two goals and added an assist to extend his point streak to six games (5-5=10) and the veteran winger has earned 11-9=20 points in his last 13 games. Despite the setback, San Diego has wins in 19 of their last 28 contests (19-7-2-0) and has earned points in 26 of the last 33 games (22-7-2-2).
Three Gulls recorded multi-point games in addition to Cracknell, with Sam Carrick (two assists) hitting the 50-point milestone, and Kalle Kossila and Andy Welinski each scoring a goal and adding an assist.
“Once you walk in that dressing room, everyone is about playing together. We have that mentality,” said Cracknell. “We have a good skill level, but we do all the right things too. Everyone is having individual success and at the end of the day we want team success. I think everybody is really buying into what Dallas wants, what the organization wants and what we want too. We want success as a team and we want to make a run for the Calder.”
Coming out strong and testing Stockton goaltender Jon Gillies seemed to be the objective early in the game. Just five minutes into the game, the Gulls outshot the Heat 8-1, but they were unable to find the back of the net.
Despite the Gulls early shot advantage, the Heat scored the game’s opening goal as a long shot from Kerby Rychel found its way through several players in front of the net and past Gulls netminder Jeff Glass. Rychel’s team-leading 22nd goal of the season put Stockton ahead 1-0 at the 6:19 mark of the first period. Assisting on the play was Alan Quine who has recorded 3-7=10 point in six games against San Diego this season.
The Stockton lead did not last long as a power-play goal pulled the Gulls even 1:55 after Rychel’s score. As Glenn Gawdin sat in the box for slashing, Sam Carrick collected a loose puck behind the net and fired it around the boards to Adam Cracknell, waiting at the right point. With Corey Tropp screening Gillies, Cracknell fired a shot off the post and in, tying the game at one goal apiece.
With an assist on the power-play goal, Sam Carrick recorded his team-leading 50th point of the season. Only four players in club history have reached the 50-point mark in a single season. Carrick joined Kalle Kossila (2017-18), Corey Tropp (2016-17), Brandon Montour and Chris Mueller (2015-16).
With another Stockton penalty, came another power-play goal by San Diego. As three defenders closed in on Justin Kloos entering the zone, he dished the puck to Kalle Kossila who used his speed to beat the lone Heat defender responsible for covering him. Kossila put the puck between Gillies glove and leg pad for his 12th goal of the season, putting San Diego up by a goal at the 14:04 mark of the opening frame. Kossila has scored a goal in three of the four games that he has faced Stockton this season.
Just before the end of the first period, Stockton tied the game at two after a shot from the corner snuck by Glass. Former Gull Scott Sabourin picked up the goal, his second in as many games in San Diego this season. Michael Stone added an assist in his first game on a conditioning assignment with Stockton. Stone has not played a game in the AHL since he had three assists for the Portland Pirates on Feb. 17, 2013.
Early in the second period, Patrick Sieloff delivered a crushing open-ice hit on Heat forward Brett Pollock. As part of an aggressive response to the clean body check, Stockton was assessed two minor penalties, giving the Gulls a 5-on-3 power play for a full two minutes. After going three games without a goal on the man advantage, the Gulls netted their third power-play goal of the night, tying a season high (previously set on Feb. 23 at San Jose).
Kalle Kossila held the puck in the right wing circle, looking for a centering pass. Kossila faked towards the front of the net, before lifting a pass to Andy Welinski in the slot, whose slapshot beat Gillies for the goal, putting the Gulls ahead 3-2 just 3:45 into the second period. Each picking up points on the play, Welinski recorded his third multi-point performance of the season (16th of his career) and Kossila his eighth (35th of his career).
Just three minutes later, Adam Cracknell turned defense into offense to double the San Diego lead. After a blocked shot, Cracknell raced to grab the loose puck and carried it into the Stockton zone, before firing a shot over Gillies’ blocker for his second goal of the game, giving San Diego a 4-2 lead with 13:25 left in the middle frame. Tonight marks the first time that Cracknell has scored multiple goals this season and the 18th time of his 15-year career. In addition, the 33-year-old veteran has 11-8=19 in his last 13 games played.
Stockton cut the San Diego lead back to one as a defensive zone turnover came back to cost the Gulls. Matthew Phillips took the puck away behind the net and set up Ryan Lomberg alone on the back door for his eighth goal of the season, narrowing the San Diego lead to 4-3 at the 7:24 mark of the second period.
Late in the second period, Stockton tied the game at four. Spencer Foo poked the puck away from a Gulls defender and found Tyler Graovac in the slot, who one-timed the pass over Glass’ blocker, evening the score with 4:03 left in the second period.
The Heat reclaimed the lead in the final minute of the second period with their third consecutive goal. Just as a holding penalty against Steve McParland expired, Dillon Dube cut to the front of the net and lifted the puck just under the crossbar, putting the Heat ahead 5-4 with just 43 seconds left in the middle frame.
As the Gulls entered the offensive zone, Glenn Gawdin disrupted the play and quickly passed the puck down the ice to Ryan Lomberg. The Gulls were unable to catch him on the breakaway and Lomberg faked a shot and scored five-hole. The score came as the Gulls were on a power play and marks the 13th shorthanded goal against this season.
Stockton added an empty net goal by Rinat Valiev, extending the lead to 7-4 with 2:20 left in the game. Just after, Adam Cracknell shot a puck through traffic from the blueline and Corey Tropp tipped it past Gillies for his 17th goal of the season. With the primary assist on the goal, Cracknell finished the night with 1-2=3 points. However the goal was too little, too late as the goal came with just 27 seconds left in the game.
“It’s a hard one to evaluate because, we were just going through what we want to go over in practice tomorrow, and most of it is positive,” said Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins. “It was a night where our power play was excellent. Other than a couple of tough clears, our penalty kill was great. We had an unbelievable amount of scoring chances and when we needed to score, we couldn’t. They were certainly opportunistic when they scored.”
The Gulls homestand will continue with 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).