Gulls, Eagles Meet In Final Regular Season GameMay 14, 2021
The San Diego Gulls wrap up the 2020-21 regular season with a rematch against the Colorado Eagles tonight at Budweiser Events Center (6:05 p.m; TV: AHL.TV; Radio: Gulls Audio Network).
San Diego enters the regular season finale third in the Pacific Division by point percentage (.593), narrowly behind second place Bakersfield (.608). The Gulls and Condors will meet in a Pacific Division Playoff semifinal next week with home-ice advantage still on the line in the regular season’s final contests. The Condors play a back-to-back series against the Henderson Silver Knights tonight and tomorrow at Orleans Arena.
If San Diego earns a point - and Bakersfield grabs no more than one point in its final two games - the Gulls will open the Pacific Division playoffs at FivePoint Arena.
“We want, as much as possible, to put the chances on our side to finish second and have home ice-advantage in the first round,” Gulls assistant coach Sylvain Lefebvre said following last night's win. “That’s our goal tomorrow.”
The Gulls will look to carry over the momentum gained in a 4-1 win over the Eagles on Friday. Alex Limoges (1-1=2) and Josh Mahura (0-2=2) led San Diego offensively with multi-point efforts. Rookie netminder Olle Eriksson Ek made 25 saves and became the first Gulls rookie goaltender to record an assist.
“Ending the season strong, going into the playoffs – we wanted to be playing our best hockey so we’re happy with the result and looking forward to [Saturday],” Mahura said following the win.
The penalty kill again played a key role in the Gulls’ success. San Diego eliminated both Colorado power plays, including a third-period opportunity, to improve to 12-for-13 (92.3%) in its last four games. The Gulls rank third in the AHL on the penalty kill (150-for-177, 84.7%).
“It’s hard work. Guys are working hard,” said Lefebvre. “They’re working together and they’re working as a unit of four. They’re willing to block shots. We’re clearing pucks. We’re winning faceoffs. We’re doing a lot of good things. We’re getting first saves and clearing rebounds. As much as possible, we try to keep the play to the outside.”
Colorado enters the season finale tied for fourth in the Pacific Division with San Jose (.500). After back-to-back physical games against the Eagles, Lefebvre said the Gulls will again be ready for a hard-nosed contest.
“We know they’re a team that works hard,” said the Gulls assistant coach. “They skate hard and they get it on the forecheck. They reload hard. Whenever you have the puck and you’re going on offense, you have to look behind you because they’re coming hard at you.”
“We’re excited and we’re going to be ready to go,” added Mahura.