Gulls Grounded in ColoradoDec 14, 2019
Kevin Connauton scored on a 5-on-3 advantage late in the first period and it would be enough as the Gulls fell 3-1 to the Colorado Eagles in the second of back-to-back games at the Budweiser Events Center. The setback marked the first Colorado win in the eight-game season series following four straight Gulls wins.
Daniel Sprong scored San Diego’s lone goal to take the team lead in scoring and Anthony Stolarz made 32 saves in his 17th contest of the season. Eagles goaltender Adam Werner made 36 saves in his eighth victory.
"I think we picked it up in the second and third, putting some shots on the board and creating some more chances, but he played well and they blocked a lot of shots toward the end so you have to give them credit." Alex Broadhurst said of Werner's performance.
Colorado’s Logan O’Connor opened the scoring 82 seconds into the game on the Eagles’ Teddy Bear Toss night. T.J. Tynan’s seam pass through the slot found O’Connor for a one-time shot that beat Stolarz to get the Eagles on the board. Erik Condra also picked up an assist on the score and play resumed after a 12-minute delay with an estimated 12,000 teddy bears and stuffed animals being hurled to the ice for local charities by the home crowd.
The Gulls tied the game at the 10:47 mark as Sprong fired a shot past Werner on an odd-man rush courtesy of a top-end pass from Brent Gates Jr. Alex Broadhurst created the scoring chance when he entered the zone and found Gates Jr. on the left wing, who patiently waited for a lane to open and quickly redistributed it to Sprong for the one-timer goal that barely crossed the line behind Werner.
Sprong now has 2-4=6 points over his last five games played, while Broadhurst has three assists (0-3=3) in his last four games. Brent Gates Jr. recorded an assist on the play, his first helper of the season and his second point (1-1=2) in his last three contests.
Late in the third period, Chase De Leo shot the puck out of play, taking a delay of game minor. The Eagles went back on the power play and regained the lead on a goal by defenseman Kevin Connauton with 3:59 remaining in the first. Tynan passed the puck from behind the net to Connauton at the faceoff dot for a slapshot that beat Stolarz for the score.
After a busy first period, the second was highlighted by several impressive saves on each end of the ice. Colorado outshot San Diego 29-22 after 40 minutes of play, capitalizing on one of their three power-play opportunities.
San Diego’s Max Jones was whistled for a slashing penalty one minute into the final period. Colorado was shorthanded twice due to a high-sticking call on Sheldon Dries and a tripping minor on Julien Nantel. However, neither team was able to capitalize on the man advantage in the third frame.
Jani Hakanpaa had a scoring chance late in the period entering the offensive zone, but Werner stopped the shot. Multiple players fought for a chance to get to the rebound and a scrum ensued, but play resumed without a penalty on either team.
With one minute remaining, Stolarz went to the bench for the extra attacker but San Diego’s six skaters couldn’t find an answer to Werner as a flurry of point shots were denie. Eagles center Sheldon Dries blocked Chris Wideman’s last attempt with five seconds on the clock, and Dries’ shot sealed the game as the puck slid all the way down the ice and into the empty cage for his 10th goal of the season.
The Gulls will return to San Diego to open a three-game homestand beginning Tuesday, Dec. 17 vs. Grand Rapids (7 p.m.). The homestand also includes visits from the San Jose Barracuda on Friday, Dec. 20 (7 p.m.) and the Stockton Heat on Saturday, Dec. 21 (7 p.m.).