O'Regan Leads Gulls To Comeback Against CanucksOct 29, 2022
By Brett Pickler/SanDiegoGulls.com
The San Diego Gulls came from behind to defeat the Abbotsford Canucks, 3-2, in a shootout to split the series at the Abbotsford Centre.
The Gulls looked to start the game on the attack after falling behind 4-0 in the first period of last night’s game. However, Abbotsford foiled this plan by scoring just under four minutes into the game.
This quick strike did not affect San Diego as Gulls forward Glenn Gawdin converted on a counterattack on the next shift. He ripped a shot from the slot top shelf to tie the game at one on the Gulls’ first shot of the game.
"I mean, it was definitely a good start for our line and it was kind of a big response," center Danny O'Regan said. "We gave up another goal early, which, last night, we kind of got deflated by it so it was a good response. You know, we mixed up the lines a little bit. It was great for me and Gawds (center Glenn Gawdin) to get one right away, it was a good finish by him."
At this point, it looked like both teams were ready for a barn burner. Each team converted early, and it appeared to give both sides confidence moving forward. San Diego gained momentum by receiving a power play. They created multiple chances on the man advantage but could not convert.
Shortly after the Gulls power play ended, Abbotsford thought they took the lead at the 10:33 mark. It was waived off immediately as it was deemed to be goaltender interference. The contact with their goaltender appeared to irk San Diego and they began to play with more physicality.
The change in play style came back to hurt the Gulls. For the last six minutes of the first period, San Diego found themselves on the penalty kill. During this time, the Gulls killed two 5-on-3 penalties with the second one resulting from a match penalty on Gulls defenseman Josh Healey. This penalty carried over into the second.
San Diego started the middle period by killing the remainder of the major penalty. Following the successful kill, the Gulls could not create any offense. They faced a constant barrage of pressure from the Canucks. San Diego did not register a shot until the 12:34 mark of the period. During this time, the Gulls killed two more penalties thanks to the play of their goalie Lukas Dostal.
"I’m not surprised - he’s a great, good competitor," O'Regan said of his goaltender. "He’s a gamer - he won’t give up, he won’t quit. At one point, the shots we could see were like 25-5 or something. I mean, he was standing on his head keeping us in the game and you know, just keeping us in it. He was awesome the whole game and in the shootout, and he was just a brick wall today."
Abbotsford eventually broke through the brick wall of Dostal on a one-timer from the right faceoff dot making it 2-1 in favor of the home team.
The game shifted back in the Gulls’ favor following an Abbotsford bench minor for too many men. Again, the Gulls created chances but could not find the back of the net.
Twenty-five seconds into the third period, Abbotsford was called for a hooking penalty. This gave San Diego the advantage they needed to tie the game. While regrouping in their own zone, O'Regan found forward Rocco Grimaldi streaking up the left wing boards. Grimaldi used his speed to blow past the Canucks’ defender and slip the puck around the outstretched pad of the goalie. With this goal, Grimaldi has a three-game point streak (2-3=5).
"I saw him just in my peripheral," O'Regan said. "I was like, ‘I’m just going to send one out there,’ because he’s got the speed to break away from some people and he make a heck of a play. He was flying and he made a great move, and that was a really big goal for us."
From this point, both teams traded chances back and forth. The Gulls took two penalties in third but managed to kill both thanks to effort of Dostal. With neither team scoring, the game went to 3-on-3 overtime.
"I thought Jason Clarke, he runs the penalty kill, he did a great job, especially on cutting off the seams," Gulls head coach Roy Sommer said. "Then, if you saw it near the end, they were just trying to get the puck back to the point and just tried to get it through, because they couldn't get anything going through the seams, which is something they kind of lived on last night. We played tight, and when we needed a save, we got it."
Both teams nearly found the back of the net during overtime. San Diego’s best chance came on a 2-on-1 rush when forward Josh Lopina rifled a puck past the Canuck’s netminder, only to hit the post. Dostal continued his excellent performance with a breakaway save on Linus Karlsson, making four saves in the period for a total of 41 saves on 43 shots. Overtime did not crown a winner so the game headed to a shootout.
In the shootout, both goalies continued their strong outings stopping all of the shooters in the first three rounds resulting in a sudden death scenario. Abbotsford began the shootout giving themselves the opportunity to put pressure on San Diego. However, Dostal easily stopped the attempt from Will Lockwood giving O’Regan the chance to end the game.
"Our goaltender was really good tonight," Sommer said. "You have to give him kudos. He made some big saves, especially down the stretch when we had to kill that penalty at the end. Then, he made a couple when he came across the net. He was a piece of plywood in there tonight."
O’Regan entered the zone slowly and made his way towards the wall. Using this new angle, O’Regan cut in and delivered a snap shot that stunned the goalie and found the back of the net. This was a perfect way to end the night as he registered two assists and the game winning shootout goal.
In addition to O’Regan’s multi-point night, Gulls defenseman Nikolas Brouillard added to his team lead in points with his fourth multi-point game.