Preview: Gulls Ready For Redemption Against CheckersNov 15, 2023
By Morgan Korovec/SanDiegoGulls.com
The Gulls are back at it again.
Tonight’s showdown inside Pechanga Arena San Diego is one that is sure to set the ice on fire. The matchup tonight marks the penultimate game of a four-game series with the Charlotte Checkers (7 p.m. PST).
The first week of November, San Diego fought in a grueling back-to-back battle in North Carolina, where the Gulls tallied two points in those first two meetings (0-0-2-0).
The tight contests stretched into overtime endings, with the Gulls ultimately dropping both away games on Nov. 3 (4-3 OT) and Nov. 4 (5-4 OT).
As San Diego readies to host Charlotte on home ice this time, anticipation stirs as the Gulls look to feed their hunger for redemption and tip fate in their favor.
Entering tonight’s game, Andrew Agozzino (9-12=21 in 29 games) leads the San Diego team in career points, goals, and assists versus the Charlotte Checkers. Trevor Carrick played five seasons for the Checkers between 2014-2019, earning 40-141=181 points in 347 career games and helping the team become the victor in the 2019 Calder Cup. Carrick leads Gulls skaters in points (2-8=10) and assists this season. Pavol Regenda sets foot into tonight’s mid-week game ranked in the top 10 in goals among AHL skaters, accumulating seven throughout the team’s first 11 matches of this season.
While the San Diego Gulls found themselves without the win in last weekend’s back-to-back contests at home, what players found amongst themselves was improvement from one game into the next, especially in their team strategy and togetherness in Saturday night’s matchup against the Colorado Eagles.
"That game we really came together as a team and competed like we know we can and we played with a lot of pace," defenseman Colton White said. "The outcome wasn’t what we wanted but our process was spot on."
"We’re searching for continued improved play," head coach Matt McIlvane added. "I thought that the way we responded against a very good Colorado team was good. The way the game started, I thought we had a lot of intensity. The guys played together real well. The game ends leaving us looking for continued improvement, but we saw growth and that’s what we can carry forward into Charlotte."
As the team continues to ride out a learning curve in the still young 2023-2024 season, tonight they will look to find their footing early to set the tone for their shot at redemption against Charlotte.
"The reality is that we’re learning, we’re growing and this is the phase that we’re in," McIlvane said. "For me, I’m excited for what we’re going to look like as we come out of this because there is so much growth happening, from individuals to team play. I can’t wait to see what we look like when we come out of this."
For the optimistic Gulls, each new day on the ice presents an opportunity to learn, respond, and reset. But for tonight, it’s also their chance for revenge on a familiar opponent.
"I think for the guys there’s only one choice and it’s to hang together and keep looking forward because that’s our next opportunity coming," McIlvane said.
The Gulls will face off again against the Checkers on Friday night at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m. PST) to conclude their four-game set.