Gulls Fly High in 2-1 Victory Over EaglesFeb 3, 2024
By Morgan Korovec/SanDiegoGulls.com
¡Fue una victoria para las Gaviotas!
Saturday night at Pechanga Arena saw the San Diego Gulls soar to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Colorado Eagles to close Mexican Heritage night in good spirits.
"This shows the epitome of a team effort and I loved watching us stick up for each other today," head coach Matt McIlvane said. "Colorado has got a physical imposing team and we met it with five guys all the time. You know, in the end, we earned the opportunity to win."
Tensions were high in the opening frame as Nick Wolff and Riley Tufte went at it along the sideboards to set the tone for Saturday’s contest.
San Diego put the pressure on early as captain Chase De Leo buried a shot past Trent Miner from an angle, putting the Gulls in the score column first with his seventh goal of the season.
"I like the way the guys stick up for each other," De Leo said. "It’s a brotherhood here. That’s what we’re looking to build and it’s like a family environment. When one of our guys gets knocked down, nice to see your brother has your back and gets right in there, and makes everybody feel good and protected."
"Honestly, unbelievable crowd tonight. Great to see Pechanga firing back. Special night and it was a fun game."
De Leo also earned his 95th assist as a Gull, which is tied for the most assists in Gulls AHL history alongside Sam Carrick. With 61-95=156 points as a Gull, De Leo is now one point away from tying Corey Tropp (64-93=157) for second-most points in franchise history.
"That’s awesome," De Leo said. "Obviously, any time you get an accomplishment like that, it’s huge. A lot of work has gone into this, not only me, but my parents, everybody along the way. So, got a lot more work to do. It’s nice to have personal success but that comes mostly with team success. Excited to have a few days here to kind of recharge the batteries and come back strong and looking for a playoff push."
Feeding off the energy, Andrew Agozzino came around the net set to cash in on the power play, punching the puck straight in for his tenth goal of the season (10-24=33), with just over three minutes remaining in the first.
Things stayed hot to open the middle frame, with emotions intensifying as Colorado’s Dalton Smith brought the Eagles within one.
That would be the only goal San Diego let slide, as backed by some stellar saves at the hands of Tomas Suchanek. Suchanek stopped 31 of 32 shots on the evening, earning his ninth win this season.
"We don’t want to give him a lot of work and a lot of shots, but second period they started to get power plays, they got more looks, and then in the third they had more looks and more zone time," McIlvane said. "Tomas had the answer, every time. He was very solid for us."
Glenn Gawdin, Trevor Carrick, and Pavol Regenda each picked up assists on the night.
The Gulls prepare to hit the road for their next challenge at Scotiabank Saddledome, where San Diego will take on the Calgary Wranglers, ranked third in the Pacific Division, for back-to-back contests on Friday, Feb. 9 (12 p.m. PST) and Saturday, Feb. 10 (6 p.m. PST).