Gulls Grab Point, Fall to Stockton in Overtime
Max Comtois posts multi-point performanceFeb 17, 2020
The Gulls scored two third-period goals to force overtime and earn a point but fell 3-2 against the Stockton Heat to close their three-game road trip today at Stockton Arena. Despite the setback, San Diego has earned points in nine of their last 10 games (6-1-3-0), 14 of their last 16 contests (11-2-3-0) and 18 of their last 23 overall (13-5-4-1). The Gulls are also 5-1-2-0 their last eight road contests and 10-5-2-0 the last 17 away from home.
“We loved our start and we loved our first period,” said Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen. “It felt like we were dictating the pace. We were pushing hard and we just had to find a way to break the seal and we felt like once we got one by him, things would start to move forward from there. They had a good night in net and we weren’t disappointed with the way we played.”
Max Comtois scored his third goal and added an assist for his fourth multi-point game, marking 11 points his last 14 games (3-8=11). With 15 points on the season, Comtois now leads San Diego rookies in scoring and assists (3-12=15). Alex Broadhurst scored his seventh goal of the season, marking 2-1=3 points his last four games and three goals in six games against Stockton this season (3-0=3).
Anthony Stolarz stopped 32-of-35 shots in the setback. Stolarz is 8-1-2 his last 11 starts with a 2.33 goals-against average and .934 save percentage, stopping 30-or-more shots in 10 straight appearances.
San Diego had a power-play opportunity late in the opening period when Stockton center Luke Philp interfered with Chase De Leo’s defensive effort. The Heat won a battle behind their net leading to defenseman Corey Schueneman bringing the puck down the ice and into the Gulls zone. Schueneman fired a distant wrist shot that beat Stolarz for the opening score with 3:10 remaining in the frame.
The shorthanded goal marks just the third allowed by the Gulls this season, tying for the fewest in the AHL this season. The first period ended with Stockton leading 1-0 and each team recording nine shots on net through 20 minutes.
The Gulls had two more chances on the power play after Zac Leslie and Martin Pospisil were sent to the box for two-minute infractions. San Diego continued to struggle finding the back of the net on the man advantage and Stockton stopped all four chances through 40 minutes of play. Shots remained near even with San Diego edging Stockton 25-24 at the second intermission.
It took 30 seconds into the third frame for Stockton to double its lead as Stockton center John McCarron tallied his first of the season. On a rush down the ice by the Heat, Philp passed to McCarron from the right wing to the slot. McCarron used several bodies in front of the net to screen Stolarz and put the puck in the net.
San Diego got on the board at the 6:34 mark of the third period when Broadhurst put home his seventh of the season. The play started when Comtois stole a pass in the neutral zone and brought it down the right wing before passing to Broadhurst who was open in the slot. Broadhurst settled the puck and beat Stockton netminder Artyom Zagidulin with a blocker-side shot.
Comtois scored a goal of his own just 5:42 later to tie the game 2-2. Chase De Leo took a pass from Comtois in the Gulls zone and shot it on net, but Zagidulin made the save. The Heat attempted to clear the puck away from the net, but De Leo got it the way and forced the puck to the slot where Comtois had found some space. Comtois fired the puck past Zagidulin, who was out of position from the previous save.
With time just about to expire, Kiefer Sherwood brought the puck into the Heat zone and fired a shot on net. Zagidulin made a pad save just as the horn marked the end of regulation, sending the game to overtime.
Stockton sealed the game on a goal by Ryan Hamilton with 44 seconds remaining in overtime. Alan Quine used a toe drag to make it two Heat players alone against Stolarz. Quine dished the puck to Hamilton at the last second to give him a wide-open look that would result in the game-winning goal.
“We can make slight adjustments, but for the most part, we liked our game,” added Dineen. “We felt like the tempo and the pace, even when we were down, we stayed with it. We pushed hard and we started creating some opportunities. I felt like there was just good enthusiasm on the bench, we’ve had a couple tough days of travel and there are a lot of excuses, but at the end of it, we’re all disappointed we don’t walk out of here with two points.”
Following tonight’s game, San Diego will return home to host Stockton on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m. PT).