Chicago Wins in Double-Overtime to Tie Series at Two ApieceMay 24, 2019
The Gulls battled back to tie the game in the third period, but ultimately fell to the Chicago Wolves in double overtime Saturday night in the longest game AHL game at Pechanga Arena San Diego (86:01). Wolves forward Daniel Carr scored 6:01 into the second overtime to tie the series at two games apiece. Despite the fourth overtime setback this postseason, the Gulls have not lost in regulation in 12 straight playoff contests (8-4; all four losses in overtime).
Tonight’s attendance was 12,147, the largest crowd of the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs. San Diego has the two highest-attended AHL playoff games (excluding Calder Cup Finals) the last 14 seasons dating to Game 5 of the North Division Finals on May 13, 2005 (Rochester at Manitoba; 15,015). The Gulls also had 12,005 fans in Game 4 of the Pacific Division Finals on Friday, May 10 vs. Bakersfield.
Kevin Boyle stopped 42 of the Wolves’ 44 shots on net in his first postseason loss of his professional career. In his last four starts, Boyle has made 111-of-116 shots, posting a 1.18 GAA and a .957 SV%.
“He kept us in it and he had one hell of a night,” said Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins. “I thought he was excellent in the net. That game could’ve been three or four to nothing after two periods and he kept us close enough that we could get it tied up.”
Justin Kloos scored his first goal of the Western Conference Finals for his ninth point of the playoffs (3-6=9). Jack Kopacka and Jacob Larsson each picked up an assist on San Diego’s lone goal tonight.
The tone of the game was set just over a minute into the game as Corey Tropp got the best of Daniel Carr with a big hit in the neutral zone. Chicago defenseman Zach Whitecloud responded by dropping the gloves with Tropp and the two both sat for five-minute fighting majors.
The opening period ended the same way it began, a scoreless tie. Chicago outshot San Diego 15-9 and neither team was given a chance on the power play.
Chicago opened the scoring early in the second period as Griffin Reinhart took a pass in the slot and beat Boyle with a wrist shot, putting the Wolves ahead 1-0 at the 4:17 mark of the middle frame.
The first power play of the game was given to Chicago as Josh Mahura was flagged on a two-minute high-sticking penalty. Boyle continued to stand on his head and made several saves to keep the Gulls in the game.
San Diego was successful on the lone penalty kill tonight and have now stopped 12-13 (92.3%) over four games against the Wolves this series. In six home games this postseason, the Gulls are 23-26 (88.5%) on the penalty kill and have added two shorthanded goals.
Chicago continued to control the pace of play as they outshot San Diego 31-12 after two periods.
“We just had a chat about confidence and some self-talk. Going back to nothing had really changed from that first six minutes,” added Eakins regarding the Gulls comeback effort following the second period. “We just had to get our feet underneath us. It’s good that we responded, I thought we played well in the third and through the overtimes and that game in overtime could’ve gone either way.”
The Gulls tied the game early in the third period after spending back-to-back shifts controlling play in the Chicago defensive zone. Jack Kopacka grabbed a loose puck along the right wing wall, fought off a check, and slid a pass to Justin Kloos streaking towards the net. Kloos quickly fired a wrist shot that beat Chicago netminder Oscar Dansk over the blocker, evening the game at one just 3:36 into the third period.
San Diego nearly scored the go-ahead goal with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. Corey Tropp went behind the net and attempted a wraparound before turning and firing a shot on goal that deflected off the pads of a sprawling Dansk. The save kept the game tied at two after the third period and the teams headed to overtime for the second time this series.
In the first minute of overtime, Gulls defenseman Jaycob Megna was assessed a double-minor penalty for high-sticking. The Gulls killed off all four minutes of power-play time for Chicago, allowing only one shot on goal.
San Diego was inches from winning the game minutes later on a power-play of their own. With Cody Glass in the box for hooking, Sam Steel took a shot from the blueline that was deflected off the post. The rebound bounced around in the crease but stayed out of the net and the game remained even at two.
The first overtime period ended with the game still tied. The Gulls outshot the Wolves 17-5 in the 20 minutes of sudden-death hockey.
Chicago won the game in double overtime as a Daniel Carr snapped a wrist shot past Boyle off an odd-man rush at the 6:01 mark of the period.
“It’s a tough finish, but when you get to overtime that’s what happens,” said Gulls defenseman Jaycob Megna. “Both teams had chances. You get a bounce here or there and it’s in the back of your net. You move on.”
The Western Conference Finals continue with Game 5 tomorrow evening, Saturday, May 25 (7 p.m.), before returning to Chicago for Game 6 on Monday, May 27 at Allstate Arena (5 p.m. PT).