PREVIEW: Gulls, Eagles Face Off For Third TimeFeb 20, 2021
The San Diego Gulls look to get back in the win column tonight when they host the Colorado Eagles at FivePoint Arena in Irvine, CA (7:30 p.m. PT, TV: Fox 5 San Diego, AHL TV; Radio: Gulls Audio Network). The Gulls suffered their first regulation loss last night, dropping a 5-1 decision in their first road game to the Bakersfield Condors.
San Diego returns home, where they posted a franchise best six-game win streak to start the regular season. The Gulls lead the American Hockey League in wins (6) and points (12).
The Gulls couldn’t muster their usual come-from-behind magic in last night’s loss, as Bakersfield jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first period. San Diego has yet to score the game’s first goal and playing from behind proved costly. A second period goal from captain Sam Carrick got them within two, but the Condors pulled away with two third-period tallies.
“We’ve been playing with fire as of late,” Carrick explained. “The only thing that’s been saving us really has been our goaltending. Tonight, it caught up with us. We got down by three goals early and we weren’t able to battle back.
“I think it’s a good learning lesson for us. We got to come to play. We’ve got to start with the lead in these games. We’ve got a good group, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Hopefully, it’s a quick fix.”
Dineen wants to see the team improve within its structure.
“I think there’s a lot of smaller little areas that we can take care of,” he explained following last night’s loss. “I think it starts with our forecheck, that we have good structure and when we put the puck into a good place, we hem teams in their own zone. When you have it in their zone, it’s as good of a defense as you can have. It starts there. We have to keep working on our rush coverage and we have to get out in shooting lanes with a little more purpose.”
Tonight is the third meeting between San Diego and Colorado. The Gulls own a 2-0-0 record against the Eagles, with back-to-back 3-2 wins coming just a week ago. Lukas Dostal and Anthony Stolarz combined to hold Colorado to just four goals on 74 shots, and Vinni Lettieri recorded four points (2g/2a) in the weekend series.
Rookie defenseman Jamie Drysdale made team history, becoming the youngest Gulls player to score an overtime goal in the win on Sunday, Feb. 14.
Colorado picked up its first win of the season last night, defeating the Ontario Reign 4-2 at Toyota Sports Complex. T.J. Tynan recorded a three-point night (2g/1a), and former Gull Kiefer Sherwood scored in his team debut. Goaltender Travis Miner, who lost in his AHL debut to San Diego, stopped 24-of-26 shots to collect his first professional win.
Dineen knows Colorado isn’t satisfied with just one win.
“They’re another desperate team like we ran into tonight,” he said. “Teams are scratching and clawing to get any points they can. We can expect a very stiff game and we’ll need to be prepared.”