Gulls Fall 3-2 to Reign in Preseason FinaleSep 30, 2019
The Gulls closed out the 2019 exhibition schedule with a 3-2 setback against the Ontario Reign at the Honda Center. Chris Wideman and Chase De Leo each netted a goal in the preseason finale.
“I think there’s still a lot of work to be done,” said Head Coach Kevin Dineen. “We’re still bringing in players being sent down from Anaheim. That’s never an easy thing for anybody, so there’s a little bit of an adjustment period. We’re still working on systems, that kind of thing. We’re making progress. We’re excited, but we’re disappointed not to win in this great building. The building locks in place, we keep on going.”
Tensions carried over into the second preseason matchup between the Reign and the Gulls as Chaz Reddekopp and Steven Ruggiero dropped the gloves just 1:19 into the first period.
The Reign got the scoring started with a shot by Sean Durzi that trickled past Kevin Boyle and barely crossed the goal line 9:50 into the first period. Rasmus Kupari picked up the lone assist on the goal.
The Gulls answered 4:27 later with a goal by Wideman on a 5-on-3 man advantage. Wideman received a cross-ice feed from Blake Pietila and rifled a shot into the back of the net. Corey Tropp added the secondary assist on the goal.
“It was good to get one in and hopefully we can build off that and go into the season with the powerplay clicking,” said Wideman. “Like I said, it’s not the result we wanted tonight but some good stuff that we can build on, and some stuff we can definitely improve.”
The score remained tied at one goal apiece in the middle frame. San Diego kept the crowd of 8,812 pumped up with a few great opportunities in the eight shots they put up on the board.
Ontario broke the tie when Jared Andersosn-Dolan tallied one on a quick passing play from Kale Clague 3:35 into the final period. 8:26 later, the Reign followed it up with another goal scored by Sheldon Rempal. Lance Bouma and Sean Durzi picked up assists on the play to make it 3-1.
The Gulls cut the Reign’s lead to a single goal after De Leo wristed a shot into the net after Jani Hakanpaa found him in the slot with 5:33 left in the period. As one of the few professional hockey players from Southern California, De Leo scored the big goal in the same arena that he grew up watching Anaheim Ducks games.
“It’s been a dream of mine my entire life,” said De Leo on playing at Honda Center during the Ducks and Gulls preseasons. “My parents had tickets to the inaugural game at ‘The Pond’ for the Ducks, so of course it’s my dream. I’m going to keep working for it, keep getting better every day and pushing for a full-time spot with the Ducks.”
Boyle was pulled with 30 seconds left in the game, but the Gulls were unable to capitalize with the empty net, as the Reign would hold on to win 3-2.
The Gulls will begin their regular season play on Friday, Oct. 4 (7 p.m.) on the road against the Bakersfield Condors, who the Gulls defeated in six games in the Pacific Division Finals in the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs.