High Noon Hockey

Preview: Gulls Rise Up for Road Trip Rematch with Wranglers

Feb 9, 2024

By Morgan Korovec/SanDiegoGulls.com  

It was a well-deserved week off from games for the San Diego Gulls, who have reset and are ready to take on the third-ranked Pacific Division opponent Calgary Wranglers, not once, but twice for back-to-back contests at the Scotiabank Saddledome, beginning Friday, Feb. 9 (12 p.m. PST: TV: AHL TV; Radio: Gulls Audio Network).  

"We’ve been on the go for about three or four weeks, on the road, coming home, and leaving, that’s not a fun thing to do," Brayden Tracey said. "But we’re so close as a team, it’s so much fun. Just getting together like this is awesome, having team dinners, just getting together as a group is what we need and what we wanted." 

After a week to rest, tune up their game, and meticulously prepare for a top-ranked opponent, the Gulls will break onto the ice tonight looking to pick up where they left off, which was a gritty 2-1 victory over the Colorado Eagles at Pechanga Arena San Diego on Feb. 3. 

At last Friday night’s game, San Diego skaters came to the defense of one another in every part of the aggressive contest, a testament to the brotherhood built on the team amidst a season marked by remarkable resilience.  

As they buckle up for a trek north, the Gulls prepare to take on the Wranglers for the first time since early November, where they came off a tough defeat at home less than a month into the season.   

"Any time you can come home and play in front of family and friends is special," Tracey said. "To have a group of these guys that are behind me battling and just going through it with me, and they obviously know it’s a hometown game, and they treat it special and make it cool, it’s fun, but at the end of the day, just another hockey game."

Calgary recently returned from their own seven-game road trip, where they picked up two wins and concluded with a victory just before the 2024 All-Star Classic. 

In San Jose at the All-Star Classic on Feb. 4 and 5, Gulls defenseman Olen Zellweger shined bright as he collected three assists, tied for the most among all skaters, to contribute to the Pacific Division’s successful title defense in the All-Star Challenge.  

Now preparing for a playoff push, the Gulls get set to rise up and embrace the challenges ahead, convinced of their ability, as that’s how they’ve marched through, all season long. 

"I think we’ve really got a good group," Tracey said. "We know what’s in there. We know how we play and we know who we can compete with. I think if we just stick to our game plan and worry about us, we’ll be just fine."

For the Gulls, the games aren’t getting easier, but rather as a team, they have grown stronger, more resilient, and equipped to overcome adversity.  

"I think tomorrow is going to be a new challenge for us," Gulls goaltending coach Jeff Glass said. "We’ve seen these guys before, but we haven’t seen them since we’ve kind of turned things around. It’s the first time we’ve played Calgary since we’ve established that new identity and I’m really looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.  

"It poses a big challenge for us but it’s something that, if we’re ready to make a push and we want to be contenders in this division, in this league, these are the games we’re going to have to capitalize on." 

As the puck drops for a rematch, the Gulls will aim to make a statement early and conclude the weekend with their mark left on the Wranglers.  

Following today’s contest, the Gulls will be right back at it Saturday night for the second round with the Wranglers at Scotiabank Saddledome (6 p.m. PST).  

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