Gulls Drop Spirited Bout With Eagles 5-2Nov 11, 2023
By Nick Aguilera/SanDiegoGulls.com
The San Diego Gulls gave it everything they had, but it wasn’t enough to take down the Colorado Eagles, as they fell 5-2 Saturday night at Pechanga Arena San Diego.
"Obviously, we competed a lot more," defenseman Tristan Luneau said. "That's something that we kind of looked at each other and brought up during the meetings, and I thought we did a way better job at that. Just winning our battles and making sure that everyone's ready to start the game. I thought that was way better."
The Gulls made their presence known in the first, throwing the body and keeping the puck in Colorado’s zone for most of the first five minutes. Travis Howe and Keaton Middleton exchanged haymakers to keep the theme going.
It was Colorado who got on the board first, though, as Corey Schueneman put one past Clang from the blue line. Ben Meyers stretched the lead to two with a power-play goal at 11:03 in the first.
Nikita Nesterenko got the Gulls on the board with his second goal of the season in the second, crashing the crease to put one past Justus Annunen. Ben King recorded the primary assist, giving him four points (1-3=4) in his last five games.
Calle Clang was lights out in the second, stopping all nine shots faced in the period. Overall, he made 26 saves.
The Eagles tacked on another halfway through the third. Wyatt Aamodt beat Clang blocker side for his third goal of the season.
Josh Lopina answered for the Gulls, scoring a power-play goal to pull them back within one. Lopina has a career-high three goals in 11 games this season.
"I think it's just a mentality," Lopina said. "You know, kind of getting some bounces finally going my way I think but you know, it's just the mentality go to the front of the net. That's where I've got to my goals this year. So just keep it that way and put keep putting loose change."
Sasha Pastujov picked up the secondary assist, giving him helpers in back-to-back contests (0-2=2).
The Gulls couldn’t find the equalizer and the Eagle iced the game with their fourth goal from Cedric Pare at 17:45 in the third. An empty-net goal from Joel Kiviranta sealed the deal moments later.
"We learn from every game," Lopina said. "Our mistakes, what we did wrong. Learn through video. We're in a big learning curve right now and I think we're gonna figure it out here soon and start putting together some wins. I like our compete. We're sticking together as a team and that's how we're going to get out of this."
Luneau and Trevor Carrick also tallied assists on the night. Carrick leads Gulls skaters with 2-8=10 points and co-leads in assists.
San Diego will return to Pechanga Arena San Diego on Wednesday close out a four-game set with the Charlotte Checkers (7 p.m. PT). The Gulls earned two points in their last two meetings with the Checkers in Charlotte (0-0-2-0).