Gulls Defeat Griffins 6-1 On Willie O’Ree DayNov 19, 2022
By Brett Pickler/SanDiegoGulls.com
The San Diego Gulls offensive outburst continued with a 6-1 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins at Pechanga Arena San Diego. Tonight’s game honored hockey legend and trailblazer, Willie O’Ree, as he was presented with a County Proclamation declaring Nov. 19 “Willie O’Ree Day” throughout San Diego County.
The Gulls started the game with high intensity, looking to build off their strong offensive performance in the third period last night. San Diego got an early lead in shots, setting the pace of the game. Things were going well for the team until they conceded a defensive zone penalty.
Last night, the Griffins scored four times on the power play, stunning one of the best penalty killing teams in the league. Grand Rapids looked to continue this production with their early man advantage. One minute into their power-play, the Griffins converted on a quick shot off a faceoff win.
San Diego did not back down and quickly found themselves back in control of the game. The Gulls utilized their neutral zone defense to create counter attacks. At the 9:00 minute mark of the period, Gulls right-winger Hunter Drew stole the puck around the center ice dot and found center Glenn Gawdin lurking behind the Griffins’ defender. Gawdin drove the net, fending off the defense and slid the puck five-hole to even the game at one.
The teams skated back and forth but neither team could create any dangerous opportunities until the Gulls drew a penalty. They quickly went to work in the offensive zone, trying to create passing lanes. Gulls left winger Brayden Tracey received the puck near the top of the left circle and attacked the net. He rifled a wrist shot top shelf, beating goaltender Victor Brattstrom short side giving San Diego a 2-1 lead.
The period came to an end, but this did not stop San Diego’s momentum. Under two minutes into the second period, the Gulls extended their lead. Gawdin received a breakout pass at the defensive blue line, entered the zone and fired the puck from the top of the circles with pinpoint precision giving the Gulls a 3-1 lead with his second goal of the night.
Grand Rapids began to pile on pressure in the San Diego zone. Gulls goaltender Lukas Dostal showcased why he gives his team an advantage every night during this attack. He made multiple saves to preserve the two-goal lead but none better than when he flashed the leather on a one-time shot by left winger Givani Smith in the slot.
San Diego entered the third period looking to maintain their lead. Through the opening 10 minutes of the period, the Gulls only allowed three, low-threat shots. They were not forcing plays, allowing the offense to present itself.
The Gulls controlled the flow of play throughout the period, setting up shop in the offensive zone. Gulls defenseman Drew Helleson got the puck at the blue line following a cycle play down low. He attacked down the boards and made a deke around a Griffins defender. Off-balance, he shoveled a puck towards the net with the puck trickling five-hole giving San Diego a three-goal lead.
Grand Rapids would not quit, and they found themselves skating 5-on-3 for a full two minutes. The Griffins already established how dangerous the power play is and this gave them their best shot to kickstart a comeback. In addition to Dostal standing tall, the Gulls players were sacrificing their bodies to block shots and prevent chances.
With time running out, Grand Rapids was desperate for offense as they pulled their goalie with over seven minutes left to play in the period. Noticing the empty net, Gawdin streaked through center ice and shot it dead center for his second career American Hockey League hat trick. Gulls right winger Dmitry Osipov iced the game with his first goal of the season for a 6-1 final.
Dostal recorded his sixth win of the season after stopping 20 out 21 shots. Gulls defenseman Olli Juolevi set a career high for assists in a game with three.