Gulls, Silver Knights Close Weekend SeriesApr 25, 2021
The San Diego Gulls look to sweep a weekend back-to-back series against the Pacific Division-leading Henderson Silver Knights tonight at FivePoint Arena (5 p.m. PT; TV: Fox 5 San Diego, RADIO: Gulls Audio Network). San Diego leads the division in wins (22), points (44) and goals scored (122), but trails Henderson in points percentage (.667).
San Diego and Bakersfield are tied for second in the division, posting identical .629 point percentages.
The Gulls opened the series with the franchise's first win over the Henderson Knights, grabbing a 4-1 victory last night at FivePoint Arena. Andrew Agozzino (1-2=3) led the team offensively, tying a season high with his three-point performance. Trevor Zegras (0-2=2) and Benoit-Olivier Groulx (2-0=2) also posted multi-point nights as San Diego recorded its fifth win in the last six games.
Rookie goaltender Lukas Dostal continued his strong run, stopping 23-of-24 shots to record a seventh straight win. The first-year netminder is second in the American Hockey League in saves (618) and sits top five in wins (12), minutes (1121:11) and save percentage (.918).
“He got off to a great start this year and then we had a team lull,” Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen explained. “He’s back in his wheelhouse and he’s making everything look easy. When you have that, it puts a lot of confidence in the guys in front of him. Very good showing for Dostal.”
A key to the win last night – and a focal point for tonight’s rematch – is San Diego’s success on the power play. Yesterday, the Gulls scored twice with the man advantage in the first period, with Vinni Lettieri’s marker standing as the game-winning tally. The Gulls scored eight times on the man advantage in its last six games (8-for-23, 34.8%) and sit 10th in the league at 20.4%.
Conversely, San Diego’s penalty kill held Henderson to just one goal on five power-play opportunities.
“Our special teams were good tonight,” Dineen said following the win. “Our power play got us off to a good start. We had to kill a lot in the second period and got that done. Special teams was a difference.”
Expect a more physical, chippy affair in tonight’s game. The bad blood boiled over after the final horn last night, with officials separating several players before the teams left the ice.
“There’s going to be lots of battles for sure,” Dostal said following the win. “Henderson wants to set the tone for tomorrow so we expect lots of battles so it’s going to be a big game tomorrow.”
The Gulls may turn to rookie netminder Olle Eriksson Ek in net tonight. The Karlstad, Sweden native is 7-4-0 with a 2.57 goals against average and .914 save percentage this season. He ranks fourth among rookie goaltenders in GAA (2.57) and SV% (.914).
Tonight’s game will also feature the Anaheim Ducks Flying V Experience. The second-screen experience will feature DJ JoJo hosting live trivia challenges, fan conversation and more from FivePoint Arena. Prizes available include a San Diego Gulls team-signed jersey! Fans can participate by visiting anaheimducks.com/flyingvx before puck drop.