Lettieri, Zegras Shine As Gulls Win Seventh Straight Home GameFeb 20, 2021
San Diego made a statement tonight.
One night after losing its first game of the year, the San Diego Gulls scored four times in the first period to beat the Colorado Eagles, 7-2, at FivePoint Arena in Irvine, CA, tying a club record with its seventh straight home win. The seven goals are a season high, as the Gulls vaulted over the Chicago Wolves to lead the American Hockey League in wins (7) and points (14).
"It was a great response," assistant coach David Urquhart said. "We really liked the guys who were driving the bus on that. It was the leadership group, some of the veteran players and some of the guys logging important minutes. Those are the guys that stepped up. That’s what you really like to see on back-to-back nights. That second one can be a tough game. When those guys step up, it’s easy for the rest of the guys to follow."
Andrew Poturalski matched single-game career-highs in scoring and assists with four points (1g/3a), including his first game-winning goal with the club. Poturalski became the first Gull to collect four points in a game since Troy Terry (Mar. 11, 2020; 2-2=4).
Poturalski ranks tied for sixth among league leaders in scoring (2-5=7) and assists.
Vinni Lettieri and Trevor Zegras recorded multi-goal games, and Anthony Stolarz stopped 33 shots for his second win of the season.
"They know how to get it done," Urquhart said. "The pace at the start of the game, they really set the tone with some short shifts and getting pucks to the net. That was something that lacked last night, getting on the inside. For us to respond that way tonight was really good to see."
After scoring just once in their loss to Bakersfield, the Gulls stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the first 5:08 of Saturday night’s contest.
Lettieri opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the season, converting on a breakaway chance just 28 seconds into the game. Colorado defenseman Keaton Middleton fumbled the puck at San Diego's blue line, and Lettieri alertly poked it past him and moved in alone on Trent Miner. His snap shot beat the Eagles netminder to the glove side.
It marked the first time this season the Gulls scored the first goal of the game. They allowed the opposition to score in the previous six games.
Kodie Curran followed, blasting a one-timer off a feed from Alex Dostie for the 2-0 lead at 3:36 of the first period. Zegras followed under two minutes later, impressively swatting a bouncing puck past a lunging Miner for his third goal of the season.
Shane Bowers (PPG) and Poturalski exchanged goals late in the opening period, giving San Diego an insurmountable three goal lead.
The offense continued into the middle frame, where both Lettieri and Zegras picked up their second goals of the game.
Lettieri’s came off the rush, with Andrew Agozzino feeding the right wing with a sharp cross-ice pass. All the Exclesior, MN native needed was a touch to deflect it past Miner for his fifth goal of the season.
Lettieri’s two goals mark his third multi-point game and second multi-goal effort of the season. Lettieri ranks tied for second in the AHL in goals (5) and tied for sixth in points (5-2=7).
Zegras capitalized on a chance with 5:47 left in the second period. Sonny Milano found the forward streaking in from the point, and hit him with a tape-to-tape pass. Zegras re-directed it past Miner for his fourth goal of the season.
The rookie co-leads the AHL in scoring (4-5=9), ranks tied for fourth in goals (4) and tied for sixth in assists (5).
Jamie Drysdale would add a third-period tally, collecting his third goal of the season. He paces league defensemen in points(3-5=8), co-leads in goals and ranks tied for third in assists.
"You look around, top to bottom we have guys who can put the puck in the net," Stolarz said. "You look at our defensemen, with how many points and how many goals they’re getting, they can create so much offense. As a goalie, you love seeing that. Usually, when the puck is in the offensive zone, the other team is tired and they just have to chip it out. Then we can go back in and start the cycle all over again."
T.J. Tynan, Riley Woods and former Gull Kiefer Sherwood finished with multi-point games for Colorado. Miner allowed six goals on 27 shots through two periods. Rookie goaltender Parker Gahagen, making his professional debut, took over in the third period, making 12 saves.
San Diego heads on the road to face the Henderson Silver Knights, opening a three-game road series on Wednesday at 7 p.m. PT.