Gulls Earn Franchise's First Win Over Silver KnightsApr 24, 2021
The San Diego Gulls earned the first win in club history over the Henderson Silver Knights tonight with a 4-1 victory at FivePoint Arena. The Gulls lead the Pacific Division in wins (22), points (44) and goals scored (122).
"[Henderson] is well-coached," Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen said. "They’re disciplined. They get a lot of scoring throughout their lineup. All the games so far have been tight. Our special teams were good tonight. 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.
"I just liked the tempo of our game, I thought we kept on coming at them. We put the puck into place. We had a lot of support, meaning the guy with the puck on his stick had options to move it. When you have that, it simplifies the game."
Lukas Dostal stopped 23-of-24 shots to extend his winning streak to seven games (7-0-0). Andrew Agozzino (1-2=3), Trevor Zegras (0-2=2) and Benoit-Olivier Groulx (2-0=2) registered multi-point efforts as the Gulls scored twice in the first period and led the rest of the way, earning the club’s first victory over its newest division rival.
San Diego raced out to an early lead thanks to a red-hot start from its top power-play unit.
Agozzino opened the scoring with his 59th career power-play goal 8:39 into the game. As the Gulls worked the puck around the perimeter of the offensive zone, Chase De Leo directed it towards a swam of bodies in front of the net and Agozzino found it first, swatting it past Henderson netminder Jiri Patera to give San Diego the early lead.
The Gulls improved to 12-2-0-0 when scoring first this season.
San Diego struck again on the power play with 2:02 left in the opening period. Trevor Zegras held the puck along the left wing wall before connecting on a pass with Vinni Lettieri in the middle of the ice. Lettieri took his time, picking a corner over Patera’s shoulder to put San Diego ahead by two.
With two power-play goals on the night, San Diego scored eight times on the man advantage in its last six games (8-for-23, 34.8%).
Henderson trimmed the deficit to one in the second period with a power-play goal of their own. Danny O’Regan scored the goal, finishing off a set up pass from Jack Dugan at the 7:09 mark of the middle frame.
Dugan continued to be a thorn in San Diego’s side. Henderson’s rookie winger leads all skaters with eight points (1-7=8) in the season series. Dugan sits second among AHL rookies in scoring (5-19=24) and assists.
The Silver Knights unsuccessfully fought to tie the score in the third period, as the Gulls played strong defense throughout, killing two Henderson power plays in the process
"We wanted to make sure the game was decided on the ice, the referees didn’t play into it," Dineen said. "The game is easy when you keep it in front of you. I think that was the point. You have the puck, you’re seeing what’s in front of you and you just keep things simple. I thought we did a good job of going north with the puck, putting it in their end."
Shortly after the second Henderson power play ended, Groulx delivered San Diego a much-needed insurance goal. Groulx won the race to a puck dumped into the corner of Henderson's zone, looking to feed the puck to the slot. His backhand pass deflected off a Silver Knights' defenseman and through Patera’s legs, restoring San Diego’s two-goal advantage with 4:32 to play in regulation.
Groulx added an empty net tally at the 17:04 mark of the third period to seal San Diego’s 4-1 victory.
"[Henderson] has a really good team," Groulx said. "They’ve shown that all season long. We battled a lot. For myself, it’s just a confidence. I’m playing with good players and coach is putting me in a really good position throughout the season to build my confidence. I think it’s showing right now."
With two goals, Groulx has collected 6-8=14 points in his last 15 games and leads the Gulls in plus/minus (+13).
San Diego and Henderson will complete their weekend back-to-back tomorrow, with puck drop set for 5 p.m. PT on Fox 5 San Diego and the Gulls Audio Network.
"It’s going to be a really quick one tomorrow," Groulx said. "We’re looking forward to it. We like playing those games, especially when there is a little bit of bad blood. We’re looking forward to it and we’ll start getting ready right now."