Final: Gulls 5, Reign 3

Carrick's Three Points Lead Gulls to 5-3 Win Over Ontario

Dec 21, 2018

The Gulls extended their standings point streak to four straight games (3-0-0-1) and win streak to three straight with a 5-3 victory over the Ontario Reign tonight at Pechanga Arena.


The Gulls (11-11-1-2) improved to 9-5-1-1 (20 points) on home ice this season, matching the best home start in club history through 16 home games with nine wins (2017-18 and 2015-16) and 20 points (2015-16). San Diego also passed Ontario (9-11-3-2) in the Pacific Division standings. 


Sam Carrick scored two goals and added an assist to extend his point streak to five games (5-4=9) while Max Jones (1-1=2), Troy Terry (0-2=2) and Luke Gazdic (0-2=2) each recorded multi-point games. Kevin Boyle (8-5-0) made 15 saves to win his third straight game.


“We’ve had good chemistry with the linemates so far,” said Gulls forward and first star of the game Sam Carrick. “We have a good mix of guys right now, guys that are battling. In this league, you can’t cheat for offense and win games at the same time. I think guys are starting to realize that once we win the puck in the defensive zone, then we can create chances that way. It’s just been going that way for me so far, a couple lucky bounces and hopefully I can keep it going.”


Ontario got on the board first with a power-play goal 3:03 into the first period. With just five seconds remaining on Simon Benoit’s tripping penalty, Austin Strand snuck a puck through a group of bodies in front of the net and past Gulls netminder Kevin Boyle for his first career AHL goal.


Carrick tied the game nearly three minutes later at 5:58 of the opening frame as Luke Gazdic picked off a pass in the neutral zone and gave it to Carrick for a breakaway chance. Fighting off an Ontario defender, Carrick took the puck across the slot and beat Ontario goaltender Peter Budaj five-hole. With Carrick’s club-leading 13th goal scored, he extended his point streak to five games (4-3=7).


The Reign reclaimed the lead just over three minutes later with a shorthanded goal by Brett Sutter. After a San Diego turnover at the offensive blue line, Ontario attacked the other way on an odd-man rush, with Alex Lintuniemi setting up Sutter for the backdoor goal at the 9:14 mark of the first period.


With time nearly expired in the first, Luke Schenn netted his second goal of the season to tie the game at 2-2 going into the intermission. The goal was reviewed, but was ultimately determined to be a good goal with 2.9 seconds remaining on the clock. Matt Berry poked the puck free to Schenn and received the primary assist, giving him 1-3=4 points over his last two games. Chase De Leo added the secondary assist on the play.


The Gulls took their first lead of the night early in the second period with a power-play tally of their own. Kalle Kossila drew a defender towards him along the left wing boards before lifting a pass to Andy Welinski at the point. Welinski collected the pass before firing a shot through the screen of Corey Tropp in front of the net to San Diego ahead 6:21 into the middle frame. With the goal, Welinski has 3-1=4 points in two games against Ontario this season.


Tension between the rival teams reached a boiling point in the second period during a scrum in front of the Ontario net. Tropp was assessed a match penalty for slashing for his role in the altercation. In all, the teams combined for 52 total penalty minutes in the second period.


“We knew what to expect, we’ve played them before,” said Gulls left wing Max Jones. “There’s a lot of bad blood between the teams. It’s just the way it was before and it carries over year to year. That’s what we expected and we were ready for it. I think we played a really good game today.”


With Tropp’s major penalty and Carrick sitting in the box for hooking, Ontario had two minutes of five-on-three power play time but couldn’t solve the San Diego penalty kill, ultimatley feeding momentum to the Gulls bench and crowd.


San Diego doubled its lead as Carrick found a wide open Max Jones for a backdoor goal on the power play. The power-play tally marks Jones fourth goal in his previous five games. In addition, the goal on the man advantage was the seventh in San Diego’s last seven games as they have capitalized over 40 total opportunities over that span (17.5%).


With assists on Welinski and Jones’ goals, Terry pushed his point streak to five games and extended his team lead in assists (16).


Ontario cut the lead back to one with its second shorthanded goal of the night. Kyle Bauman intercepted a San Diego breakout pass and took the puck to the net, sliding it past Boyle’s outstretched left pad with 4:41 left in the second period.


The Reign nearly scored the equalizing goal in the final minute of the second period as Matt Moulson came out of the penalty box and grabbed a breakaway pass from Sutter, but Boyle kicked out his left pad to deny the backhand shot.


Still leading by a goal early in the third period, the Gulls grabbed an insurance tally on a wraparound by Sam Carrick for his 14th of the season. Just seconds after Max Jones nearly converted a wraparound himself, Carrick grabbed a loose puck behind the net and banked it off Budaj’s stick and into the net to restore the Gulls’ two-goal lead 5:54 into the third period. With two goals and an assist tonight, Carrick passes Nic Kerdiles for fifth on the Gulls all-time scoring list with 77 points.


Gazdic picked up his second assist of the night on the goal, earning his second multi-point game of the season.


“It must be a full moon out there tonight because so many crazy things happened,” said Gulls San Diego head coach Dallas Eakins. “From both goalies falling down to crazy bounces off the wall and some penalties, it was just a nutty night. I’m not sure it was a 60 minute game for us but we’ll take the points and move on to tomorrow.”


The Gulls travel to Ontario for a rematch tomorrow afternoon at Citizens Business Bank Arena (3 p.m., Radio: Mighty 1090).

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