Gulls Aim To Finish Regular-Season Series With Griffins With A WinNov 19, 2022
By Brett Pickler/SanDiegoGulls.com
The San Diego Gulls finish their four-game regular-season series tonight against the Grand Rapids Griffins at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m. PT; TV: AHL TV, RADIO: Gulls Audio Network).
The Gulls will hold a ceremonial puck drop in celebration of hockey legend and pioneer, Willie O’Ree, as he is presented with a County Proclamation declaring Nov. 19 “Willie O’Ree Day” throughout San Diego County. San Diego County Supervisor Joel Anderson will present O’Ree with the award before the game. O’Ree will be honored not only for his incredible contributions as a valued member of the San Diego Community, but for his influential legacy throughout the sport of ice hockey and his commitment to empowering youth with the sport.
San Diego is looking for revenge following a failed comeback effort last night. Despite the 6-5 loss, the Gulls offense looked like it was beginning to click. Forwards Jacob Perreault and Brayden Tracey led the way with three points, while center Benoit-Oliver Groulx registered two assists. The power play also gained confidence with forward Rocco Grimaldi finding the back of the net on the man advantage.
"Yeah, I mean, we have a really skilled team," Perreault explained following the loss. "Everyone can make plays. So, I think that's probably the biggest thing. I mean, you know, chemistry is a big thing, and I feel like every game, we're getting more and more chemistry. We're working more together as a team and I think in the long run, it's going to go our way."
Even with the offense clicking for San Diego, Grand Rapids still poses a threat. Last night, right wing Taro Hirose registered 3-1=4 points – including the game-winning goal - to lead the Griffins to victory. Additionally, center Austin Czarnik continues to be a problem for San Diego. He is riding a five-game point streak and has 4-3=7 points in his last three meetings with the Gulls.
San Diego will need a strong defensive outing from their team. This series has been full of scoring, with the teams combining for 32 goals in their three head-to-head matchups. The Gulls look to Lukas Dostal to continue his high-level play and give them an advantage in net. He is the team’s workhorse netminder, appearing in his 13th game tonight. The Brno, Czech Republic native has a 2.78 goals-against average (GAA) and .918 save percentage (SV%).
The Gulls’ penalty kill will be looking to regain confidence after allowing four goals on seven opportunities. Prior to last night’s game, San Diego held opponents scoreless on 20 consecutive power-play chances. Grand Rapids’power play currently sits tied for fourth in the American Hockey League at 25.7%.
"Stay out of the penalty box," Gulls defenseman Josh Healey said. "I think it's pretty obvious. We went down pretty quick. Whether they were disciplined (or) undisciplined penalties, you know, we got to stay out of the box and play five-on-five and that will get us the win."