Gulls and Reign Renew Rivalry
San Diego enters the matchup with two straight wins over their rivalsNov 28, 2019
The Gulls play the penultimate game of November tonight in a matchup against the Ontario Reign at Toyota Arena (7 p.m., TV: AHLTV, Radio: San Diego Gulls Audio Network) in the first contest of a back-to-back set to end the month.
Tonight’s showdown against the Reign opens the sixth of 21 back-to-back matchups for the Gulls this season, who have posted a 4-6-0-0 record overall, including 2-3-0-0 in the first matchup. San Diego is also in a stretch of nine straight games over 28 days in Southern California through Dec. 11, with seven on home ice and two at Toyota Arena (also tonight). After dropping their last two games, the Gulls will look to regain the momentum in this current stretch of games.
In their most recent matchup, San Diego earned a point in a 3-2 overtime loss on Wednesday, Nov. 27 to the San Jose Barracuda at Pechanga Arena San Diego. Chris Wideman, who has played a large role in the Gulls recent success, scored his seventh goal to take the lead among all AHL defensemen in goals and points-per game (1.00, min. 10 games). Goaltender Anthony Stoarlz made 38 saves in the setback to improve to 7-1-1 in his last nine games.
The game was forced to overtime after a late game-tying goal by San Jose. Chase De Leo fired a shot shortly into the extra period that appeared to go in, but play resumed and the Barracuda quickly turned the puck around and scored the game-winning goal. After a lengthy review, De Leo’s shot was deemed to have never crossed the goal line as San Diego dropped their first overtime contest of the season.
“It sucks, it’s tough and it’s a game of inches,” said De Leo following the game. “I’m pretty pissed off right now, but we’ll be back to work tomorrow and try to forget about it. It sucks when you lose a game like that, but it’s a long season with a lot of games. We will just build off of the positive things we did today.”
The Gulls play 68 games in a hockey season so getting over the tough losses and learning from mistakes is key to turning things around. Ontario, considered one of San Diego's biggest rivals, presents the opportunity for an emotional matchup.
San Diego has won back-to-back games against Ontario, including a 5-1 win Nov. 16 at home and a 6-2 win Nov. 15 at Toyota Arena. All-time, the Gulls have earned a 31-18-1-2 record vs. the Reign, including a 16-8-0-2 mark at Ontario. Wideman leads San Diego in scoring (4-3=7) and goals against Ontario this season.
Ontario has struggled as of late, dropping their last six games, including the two against San Diego. Over their span of losses, the Reign have scored more than two goals just once, in an 8-5 loss to the Stockton Heat. The club failed to get their power play going as they have capitalized just 10 times on 76 opportunities this season (13.2%) and have also allowed three shorthanded goals.
The Reign, however, have several young, high-profile players projected to be the future of the Los Angeles Kings organization. Rookies Jaret Anderson-Dolan, a second-round draft pick from 2017, and Rasmus Kupari, a first-round selection in 2018, are centerpieces of Ontario’s top two forward lines. Anderson-Dolan leads Reign rookies with 4-4=8 points and Kupari paces first year players on the club with five goals.
Defenseman Tobias Bjornfot, another first-round pick in 2019 and Mikey Anderson, the Kings’ 2017 fourth-round pick, hold the blueline for Ontario. Bjornfoot co-leads Reign defensemen in with five assists, while Anderson ranks second on the team in shots (39). Goaltender Cal Petersen made his NHL debut with the Kings last season and has had some strong performances in net this season. Petersen ranks tied for fourth with seven wins on the season and tied for second with two shutouts, including a 41-save performance to open the season against San Jose, Oct. 4.