De Leo Scores Team-Leading 15th Goal In Loss At ColoradoMay 12, 2021
The San Diego Gulls dropped the first of their three-game series against the Colorado Eagles 2-1 tonight at Budweiser Events Center. Despite the setback, the Gulls still have a chance at the rising to the second seed in the Pacific Division before the 2021 postseason begins next week.
"I give credit where it’s due," Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen said. "We looked like a team that did a little travel lately and wrapped up a playoff spot. I don’t think you can play this game without a level of desperation."
Keaton Middleton led the way offensively for Colorado, collecting his first multi-point performance of the season (0-2=2). Martin Kaut and Riley Woods scored in the first period, and Adam Werner held the lead, stopping 26-of-27 shots.
Chase De Leo collected his team-leading 15th goal of the season in the loss. Andrew Poturalski collected an assist on the tally, extending his point streak to four games (1-6=7). He continues to lead the American Hockey League in assists and points (9-32=41).
Martin Kaut broke the scoreless tie at 8:02 of the first period, cashing in on a rebound chance for his sixth goal of the season.
Colorado doubled its lead just over two minutes later when Riley Woods collected his third goal of the season. Jean-Luc Foudy missed his shot, but threw the puck perfectly to a wide open Woods, who one-timed the chance home from the right faceoff dot.
De Leo put San Diego on the board, capitalizing on a shorthanded chance to cut the deficit in half. Poturalski intercepted a Justin Barron pass near the point, flipping a backhand clearing attempt off the glass near the penalty boxes and to a streaking De Leo. The veteran forward moved in alone on Werner, beating the Colorado netminder with a snap shot for his team-leading 15th goal of the season.
De Leo’s goal marked his first shorthanded score of the season and pushed his point streak to four games (3-2=5). Among AHL leaders, De Leo ranks tied for third in scoring (15-19=34) and tied for fourth in goals.
"They were playing really hard and I think they caught us by surprise, even though they shouldn’t have," Andrew Agozzino said. "This is a big time of year for a lot of guys for different reasons, but they definitely came out really hard."
The goaltenders would take center stage over the final 40 minutes.
Lukas Dostal collected the highlight of the second period, stopping a partial breakaway from Callahan Burke to keep the deficit at one.
The rookie right wing snuck behind the San Diego defense and came in with speed off the wing. He snapped a low wrist shot on net from just below the hash marks, and Dostal snagged the attempt to keep the Boxborough, MA native off the board.
The Gulls earned an extended 5-on-3 chance at 5:42 of the opening frame, but failed to break through the American Hockey League's top-ranked penalty kill.
"You get a long five-on-three and you’d like to see some production out of that, not just energy," Dineen said. "You have to score in that situation. That certainly hurts, but I thought we pushed in a hard way and obviously, it didn’t work out for us. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters right now are points and that’s one that hurts."
San Diego forced the issue in the third period, firing a game-high 11 shots on net in the final frame. The Gulls also earned a late power-play opportunity, as Justin Barron took a roughing minor with just over two minutes remaining in regulation.
San Diego pulled their netminder to give them an extended 6-on-4 chance, but Werner stood tall, making crucial saves down the stretch to keep the Gulls at bay.
The two teams will continue the series with the penultimate game of the regular season on Friday, May 14 at 6:05 p.m. PT at Budweiser Events Center.