Preview: Gulls Gear Up For Final Fight Against CheckersNov 17, 2023
By Morgan Korovec/SanDiegoGulls.com
After yet another overtime loss to Charlotte on Wednesday night, the San Diego Gulls are geared up for the final contest of their four-game series against the Checkers tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m. PST).
San Diego played a close game on Wednesday, competing strongly as a team in the first and third period. With 2:47 on the clock in OT, Charlotte scored the winning point in an overtime ending.
"Great first period. I like their start a lot," head coach Matt McIlvane said. "We didn’t show up for the second period and our guys had a big response in the third. The third was our best period by a lot… Good looks in overtime, once it gets there it’s a bit of a skills competition… Great first, even better third. The points were given away in the second period."
On setting a game plan for the Gulls’ final Friday opportunity for redemption against the Checkers, McIlvane said that the team’s third period on Wednesday night will be a great map to guide them.
San Diego began Wednesday’s game on the right foot, evened out the score in the second, and gave it their all through to the end without accumulating any penalties, which has been a big focus for the team since the preseason.
As San Diego readies to face off against Charlotte one last time tonight, they will look to apply what they did well in previous matchups with the familiar opponent.
Defenseman Trevor Carrick, who spent five seasons with the Checkers, was a bright spot on the ice Wednesday night and leads the team with nine assists and all Gulls skaters with 2-9=11 points. Carrick recorded the primary assist on the goal by left wing Pavol Regenda, who scored his team-leading eighth goal and third power-play goal of this season.
"I think the main thing is just sticking with each other," Carrick said. "It’s 10 games now we’ve dropped, it’s frustrating and I think all we can do is help each other out, get out of it. No one’s going to come in here and save the day for us. It’s just stick with each other, build each other up, and keep building every day and keep coming to work because it’s a lot of hockey left. Like I said, no one’s going to come here and get us out of it. It’s in that room and we just have to keep positive and build off what we do best."
One thing San Diego does best is continuing their fight.
"I think we match up good with Charlotte," Carrick added. "Obviously, we’ve lost three games to them in overtime. I think we played them well. They’re a good hockey team, but we just have to take what’s good from that and build off that third period and just take it into the next game. Just do what we do best, and that’s compete hard, work hard, and get heavy on the forecheck. We know that’s when we have success, when we’re doing that best. And we just have to bring that every night and just keep building off that, and building off of it into each and every game."
Entering tonight’s contest, the San Diego Gulls look to dig into all three periods and steadily compete as a team throughout the full 60 minutes of the game, according to center Ben King.
"They’re a good team, they’re not gonna let off, they’re gonna play hard on every shift and every period," King said. "We just got to do that back and be the better team throughout the whole game."
King scored his third goal of this season in the first period Wednesday night and recorded an assist, marking his first professional multi-point game (1-1=2).
Looking to grab their first win at home, the Gulls will also be grabbing hold of the opportunity this new night on the ice presents to emerge from the learning phase with even more resilience, wisdom, strength, and potential.
The Gulls will flock to San Jose next Tuesday for a matchup with the Barracuda (7 p.m. PST) before returning back home to Pechanga Arena San Diego for back-to-back contests with the Chicago Wolves on Friday, Nov. 24 (7 p.m. PST) and Saturday, Nov. 25 (6 p.m. PST).