Gulls Start Club Record Road Trip in TucsonFeb 26, 2020
Tonight begins the longest trek in Gulls history, a seven-game, 15-day gauntlet away from home.
The Gulls (26-17-5-3, 59 pts.) kick off a club record seven-game stint against the Tucson Roadrunners where the road trip will commence tonight and end 15 days from now at Tucson Arena (6:05 p.m. PT, TV: AHLTV, Radio: San Diego Gulls Audio Network). The extended trip will see the club visit Stockton (Feb. 28, 7 p.m.), San Jose three straight times (Feb. 29, 1:15 p.m. PT; Mar. 6, 7 p.m. PT; Mar. 7, 8 p.m. PT) and a final back-to-back against the Roadrunners (Mar. 10-11, both 7:05 p.m. PT).
Three straight wins and points in five straight overall (4-0-1-0) have set the Gulls up for the trip while a stretch of points in 12 of their last 13 games (9-1-3-0) and 17 of their last 19 games (14-2-3-0) have vaulted the club into a playoff spot. Entering today, San Diego sit fourth place in the Pacific Division, climbing over Ontario following a 6-3 win over San Jose Saturday and a 4-1 win over Bakersfield Friday.
Left wing Max Comtois posted a career best three points (2G/1A) and his first-ever multi-goal game Saturday to extend his goal streak to club rookie record five games (6-2=8). Alex Broadhurst also extended his point streak to five games (2-5=7) as he picked up two assists. Blake Pietila has goals in consecutive games and points in eight of his last 10 contests (5-4=9).
On Monday, the AHL announced Comtois was selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 23. Over that span of games, Comtois recorded five goals, including game-winners in three straight, and added two assists (5-2=7). His five-game goal streak ranks tied for third in Gulls history, and surpassed the previous rookie mark of four games set by Troy Terry in November 2018.
Monday afternoon also marked the NHL trade deadline and throughout the days leading up to the 12 p.m. PT deadline, the Anaheim Ducks made seven trades, a club record six of which came Monday. In a transaction with the Edmonton Oilers, the Ducks organization acquired defenseman Joel Persson in return for goaltender Angus Redmond and a conditional 2022 seventh-round pick. In a separate exchange, the organization acquired center Kyler Criscuolo as well as a 2020 fourth-round selection in exchange for Derek Grant. Both Persson and Criscuolo are expected to make their Gulls debuts tonight.
A native of Osby, Sweden, Persson has appeared in 27 games with Bakersfield, recording 3-13=16 points. He made his NHL debut with the Oilers this season, recording two assists in 13 games. After beginning his professional career in his native Sweden, most recently two seasons with the Vaxjo Lakers of Swedish Hockey League, he finds himself in his first season in North America.
“I’m an offensive defenseman,” he described himself. “A first-year North American, trying to find my way and adjust my game to a North American style.”
“I’m excited,” added Persson about his move to San Diego. “I played against San Diego a couple times and they’re a good team. I’m happy to be here.”
A native of Southampton, N.J., Criscuolo recorded 8-16=24 points with a +12 rating and 14 penalty minutes in 40 games with Lehigh Valley this season. Criscuolo led the Phantoms in plus/minus, ranked second in shots on goal (89), and third in points-per-game (0.60) and assists at the time of his acquisition by Anaheim. Criscuolo won a Calder Cup championship in 2017 with Grand Rapids.
Along with Persson and Criscuolo being added to San Diego’s roster, the Gulls will welcome back a couple familiar faces as well. Anaheim announced yesterday Brendan Guhle and Troy Terry had been reassigned to San Diego. Terry has appeared in seven games this season with the Gulls, earning 3-7=10 points with a +10 rating, recording points in six of his seven contests. Guhle has appeared in 24 games with San Diego, tallying 4-8=12 points and a +10 rating.
San Diego faces Tucson for the sixth-of-eight matchups this season. All-time, the Gulls boast a 20-14-2-1 record vs. the Roadrunners, including a 9-7-1-0 mark on the road. This season, San Diego holds wins in three of the five contests, including a 5-2 win in the most recent matchup Feb. 7.
The Roadrunners (31-17-1-2, 65 pts.) sit second in the Pacific Division but lead the seven-club division in wins. Tucson has collected points in just five of their last 13 games (3-8-0-2), including a six-game losing streak (Jan. 24- Feb. 7) during which they earned one point in a shootout loss to Colorado.
Brayden Burke leads Tucson in scoring, recording 21-29=50 points to rank sixth among AHL leaders. The Edmonton, Alberta native held a career-high nine-game point streak dating from Jan. 24 - Feb. 12 (4-9=13). Burke ranks second in scoring vs. San Diego, collecting 3-2=5 points in five games. Michael Bunting has appeared in all 51 games for the Roadrunners this season, notching 10-34=44 points to rank second among Tucson skaters in scoring. Along with Burke, Bunting ranks second in scoring against the Gulls this season, tallying 2-3=5 in five games.
The Roadrunners have rotated eight different goaltenders this season, but Ivan Prosvetov and Adin Hill have been the leading men between the pipes. Rookie netminder Prosvetov has posted a 14-9-1 record with one shutout in 26 appearances. He held a seven-game winning streak from Nov. 2 - Dec. 21, posting a .944 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.00 goals against average (GAA). Overall, the Moscow, Russia native holds a .914 SV% and a 2.72 GAA in his first North American season. Hill has started in 14 games this season, earning a 10-4-0 record with a .911 SV% and a 2.66 GAA.