Gulls Get Going Against Eagles With 4-3 WinOct 26, 2022
By Brett Pickler/SanDiegoGulls.com
The San Diego Gulls defeated the Colorado Eagles 4-3 in a hard-fought battle tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego.
The Gulls returned home hoping to get back in the win column and redeem themselves following a 5-1 loss to the Ontario Reign last weekend.
From the opening faceoff, both teams embraced the physical side of the game leading to multiple power play opportunities for each club.
San Diego was the beneficiary of the aggressive play, tallying goals on both of their power-play opportunities in the first period. Gulls forward Rocco Grimaldi and defenseman Nikolas Brouillard both got on the scoresheet and served as the first assist on the other’s goals to put the Gulls up 2-0.
"I though Grimaldi was the best player on the ice tonight," Gulls head coach Roy Sommer said. "Real intense, held on to pucks, made smart decision, scored when he needed to."
However, the Gulls offense was not the story of the period, rather their defense. The Eagles were aggressive and controlled the puck for most of the period. Despite this, San Diego killed two penalties and maintained their lead.
Just before the period ended, Gulls forward Dmitry Osipov squared up against Keaton Middleton in a heavyweight brawl. The two exchanged attacks, but Osipov overwhelmed his opponent and bask in the cheers of the hometown crowd.
The second began just as the first ended. Gulls defenseman Austin Strand squared off against Andreas Englund just over a minute into the period.
Colorado built momentum following the fight and eventually found the back of the net to cut San Diego’s lead in half. This swung the period fully in their favor as the Gulls would surrender a penalty shot just 46 seconds later.
The second followed a similar script to the game’s opening period, with Gulls defenseman Austin Strand squaring off against Andreas Englung just over a minute in. The fight gave the Eagles momentum, as Jean-Luc Foudy cut the lead in half at 8:04 of the period. Just 46 seconds later, Colorado earned a penalty shot, looking to tie the game.
Eagles forward Callahan Burke approached the net slowly from the right side, speeding up as he got to the top of the circle. Just as he was about to make a move, Gulls netminder Lukas Dostal poked the puck away before the attacking Eagle could shoot.
The missed penalty shot would not slow Colorado, as they battled back on an impressive between-the-legs goal by Foudy to tie the game after 40 minutes.
San Diego entered the third period on the power play, hoping the early advantage would give them the edge for the period. Although they were unsuccessful, it did put them back on the front foot.
At the 8:35 mark of the period, Gulls forward Josh Lopina buried a loose puck in front of the net to give the Gulls a 3-2 lead. This did not last long as Colorado tied the game just over four minutes later.
As the period progressed, both teams fought hard to break the tie. After trading chances, Gulls forward Jacob Perreault sniped the puck short side along the goal line, scoring the eventual game-winning tally. Grimaldi would pick up his third point of the night on this highlight reel goal.
"Honestly, I was just trying to make room, try to get control of the puck," Perreault said. "Gave it up to Strander (Gulls defenseman Strand), then he gave it back to me and somehow I was open and was just trying to put it on net and it went in."
The Eagles, in a last chance effort to tie the game, pulled their goalie, but could not break the Gulls defense.
"The power play got us going, really, in the first period, because our 5-on-5 play wasn't there," Brouillard said. "Our PK (penalty kill) was really good too; that helped a lot. After a good regroup in the second period, everyone wanted that win so bad. Everyone bought in and we played really well in the third."