Gulls Fall 4-2 in Ontario, Five-Game Point Streak EndsNov 3, 2018
Despite a late comeback effort, the Gulls’ five-game point streak ended at the same place it bega as they fell 4-2 to the Ontario Reign at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Ontario scored three third-period goals to stun San Diego, with two coming in a 19-second span midway through the final frame that sullied the first AHL goals by San Diego rookies Josh Mahura and Max Jones.
The majority of the first period was scoreless, but had a combined six infractions for 18 penalty minutes and a fight between Ben Thomson and Bokondji Imama.
Josh Mahura opened the scoring on the power play at 16:54 of the first period as the rookie defenseman netted his first professional goal on a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle, beating Reign goaltender Cal Petersen five-hole.
Kalle Kossila and Logan Shaw picked up the assists on the play. In his three games with San Diego this season, Kossila has four points (3G/1A), three of which have come on the man advantage.
Special teams play was the story of San Diego’s successful first period as the Gulls were perfect, killing all three Reign power play opportunities and capitalizing on their lone man advantage. The San Diego power play has produced at least one goal in seven of their eight games this season,(9-for-34, 26.5%).
"I thought we were going and I thought our execution was there (in the first period)," said head coach Dallas Eakins. "A lot of things that we had worked on in practice was very encouraging. We got ourselves into some penalty trouble that we tried to address between periods. It’s going to be something with this group that we have to keep on. We can’t keep taking these stick penalties far away from out net.
It took 3:42 into the middle frame for Ontario to answer and tie the game at one goal apiece. Zack Mitchell was the recipient of the goal on a rebound from a blocked shot while Brad Morrison and Matt Roy added assists, sliding the puck under Gulls goaltender Kevin Boyle.
Despite Ontario managing a 14-6 shot advantage in the second period, the score remained 1-1 heading into the final 20 minutes of play.
The Reign took control in the third period, scoring a goal at 10:35 and adding another just 19 seconds later. Austin Wagner tallied the go-ahead goal on a failed attempt to clear the zone by San Diego. Sam Herr found the back of the net on the second goal with a one-timer from between the circles to give Ontario a 3-1 lead.
"We’ve got to put together a full, 60-minute game," added Eakins. "I’m encouraged that we didn’t give up a whole bunch of shots or a whole bunch of chances. I thought our power play was ok, I thought our penalty kill was excellent. We just can’t give up those two chances that they got on those goals there. We’ve got to clog those up somehow
With 2:54 remaining in the game, Jones scored his first regular-season goal, beating Petersen to the far side to make it a 3-2 game. The goal was the second career AHL goal for Jones, who scored his first AHL goal on May 10, 2017 vs. San Jose in Game 3 of the Pacific Division Finals.
"I felt like I played really well that whole game, but I coughed that one up on the wall. That’s another game right there," said Jones following the game on Wagner's go-ahead goal. "The whole game it goes well and then one costly turnover in the back of our net. It’s my fault and I know that. I expect better out of myself, my teammates do, and I take full responsibility for that.
"I did whatever I could to get back on the board and I scored, but it’s going to haunt me for a while. I felt like I played really well, but it’s the little things like that, that can turn it all the way around."
Troy Terry took a hit to make the pass to Jones that would lead bring San Diego within one, which extended his point and assist streak (3G/5A) to five games.With the assist,Terry's five-game point streak tied a Gulls rookie record for consecutive games with a point to begin an AHL career, matching Giovanni Fiore’s five consecutive games with a point to begin his AHL career from Oct. 13-25, 2017 (2-3=5). In addition, Jake Dotchin recorded his first point and assist with the Gulls.
San Diego pulled Kevin Boyle in favor of an extra attached to further their momentum. After a number of chances from Kossila and Carrick, Sheldon Rempal exited the Reign zone with the puck and fed Brett Sutter to seal the game with an empty-net goal, all but ending the Gulls' five-game point streak.
The Gulls will conclude the two-game road trip on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Tucson Roadrunners at Tucson Convention Center Arena (6:05 p.m., Radio: ESPN 1700, Stream: AHLTV).