PREVIEW: Gulls Prep For Multiverse Matchup On Marvel Super Hero NightJan 14, 2022
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
The San Diego Gulls look to solve the American Hockey League’s newest team as they host the Abbotsford Canucks in the second game of a back-to-back set tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m. PT; TV: AHL TV; RADIO: Gulls Audio Network).
The Gulls are coming off a loss a 5-1 to the Canucks last night, a game which saw Abbotsford take an early lead and hold it throughout regulation. A new entrant into the Pacific Division, San Diego has dropped their first two meetings (0-2-0-0) with their newest opponents.
“That’s kind of the beauty of it, we get them again tomorrow,” Gulls forward Brent Gates Jr. said following last night’s loss. “It’s a new night, starting fresh. For sure I think an emphasis is going to be to come out with more jump and more focus and take it to them in those first five-ten minutes of the game.”
Tonight is also Marvel Super Hero Night, a new theme night for the San Diego Gulls. The team will celebrate with a Pregame Tailgate from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., featuring a rock wall where fans can test their superhero strength. The team will wear a Spider-Man-themed jersey for warmups, and the first 8,000 fans in attendance will receive a Gulliver Super Hero poster. Fans can get tickets to the game here.
Like the Avengers they’re celebrating off the ice, the Gulls will look to assemble as a unit. The team saw significant roster changes over the last few days, a leading cause of its sometimes-disjointed play.
“I just think we came in not as assertive as we did the last weekend,” Gulls head coach Joel Bouchard said following the loss. “That being said, to be honest, we had to juggle a lot of things in the lineup the last few hours. As a coach, as demanding as I am, I have to be realistic. I’m not giving players excuses. When they’re not right they’re not right. I don’t think we had the best start. I would have liked a better start. That being said, there’s been a lot of moving parts over the last 24 hours and this is really our third game in a month.
“I liked the way we responded in the second. I liked the way we responded in the third. I think we had some good looks. We could have had a couple more goals, but we didn’t and it’s okay. I think we could learn from that, that our start needed to be better. And let’s see how we do tomorrow. It’s gonna be a bit of a process with the guys. I like the way we respond after a period where they came in fast, we had a tough time adjusting and they’re physical and they work hard and they were in sync. I’m more interested to see how we can do tomorrow.”
One of those new players is center Lucas Elvenes, who celebrated his San Diego debut with his first Gulls goal. Claimed by the Anaheim Ducks off waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights earlier this week, the Swedish center enters tonight riding a three-game point streak (1-2=3) and has four points (1-3=4) in his last five games.
Gates Jr. also rides a career-tying three-game point streak (1-2=3) into tonight’s game. The winger has a point in each of his three games with the San Diego this season.
John Stevens led the Canucks attack, with three points (1-2=3) in last night’s win. The Springfield, MA center collected his first multi-point performance of the season and is averaging a point-per-game over his last five contests.
San Diego blanked Abbotsford’s leading scorer Sheldon Dries, holding him pointless with one shot in last night’s game. The center enters tonight with 13-11=24 points in 23 games this season, leading the Canucks in goals and points while tied for first in assists.
In net, the Gulls could face rookie goaltender Arturs Silovs for the first time this season. The Latvian native is riding a modest two-game win streak and enters tonight with a 2-4-1 record, a 2.88 goals-against average (GAA) and .884 save percentage (SV%).