Gulls Win Last Home Game Of 2022 Against Silver KnightsDec 28, 2022
By Brett Pickler/SanDiegoGulls.com
The San Diego Gulls defeated the Henderson Silver Knights 5-4 at Pechanga Arena San Diego.
The Gulls entered tonight’s game looking to earn their second straight victory. Determined to continue their winning ways, they started the game physically. The Gulls’ aggressive play gave Henderson players little time to set up, allowing San Diego to control the puck.
This style of play benefitted the Gulls as they were able to take an early lead over the Silver Knights. Attacking on a 3-on-2, center Glenn Gawdin connected with right wing Rocco Grimaldi on a give-and-go play. Grimaldi received a pass and drove wide towards the net. He found Gawdin wide open in the slot who sniped the puck low blocker to give him a goal in his first game back from injury. Grimaldi and left wing Brayden Tracey extended their point streaks to three games with the assists.
San Diego tallied two more goals before the end of the period. The Gulls broke the puck out of their zone and jumped on the attack. Right wing Evan Weinger took the puck wide and shot the puck looking for a rebound in front. The puck deflected off the mask of the goaltender and deflected off the body of center Bryce Kindopp giving the Gulls a 2-0 lead at the 15:04 mark. Then, 44 seconds later, defenseman Michael Del Zotto blasted a shot off the post giving the Gulls a three-goal lead.
Taking the lead into the second period, the Gulls looked to build on their success in the first period. They quickly established the forecheck and began to generate offense. This created a one-time chance for Jacob Perreault in the slot, but he was denied. Henderson managed to get the puck into the Gulls defensive end and create pressure. The Silver Knights forced a turnover leading to a backdoor goal by center Maxim Marushev, making the score 3-1.
Following the goal, the Gulls regrouped and restarted their attack. They were able to draw a penalty and set up their offense. Although they did not capitalize on the man advantage, it gave the Gulls the momentum back. San Diego extended their lead on a seeing-eye wrist shot that made its way through traffic in front of the net from defenseman Austin Strand.
San Diego entered the third period with a 4-1 lead looking to win consecutive games for the first time in the 2022-23 American Hockey League season. Left wing David Cotton nearly extended the Gulls’ lead within the first four minutes on a quick shot from the top of the crease. However, it was San Diego’s defensive play that dominated the first half of the third period. They did not allow Henderson to put together any offense, only allowing three low-danger perimeter shots.
Right wing Pavol Regenda added some insurance for the Gulls after a power play snipe. On the rush, he drove the net and picked the top right corner. However, there was some confusion on the play as the referees initially determined that the puck did not cross the line. After review, it was determined to be a good goal giving San Diego a 5-1 lead.
Tempers started to flare between both teams following the goal. After a sprawling save by goaltender Olle Eriksson Ek there was a pile up in front of the San Diego net. Following the square off, the Gulls would go on the penalty kill. Henderson capitalized on this chance bringing San Diego’s lead back to three. Shortly after this, the teams squared off again in the Silver Knights’ zone. This time, Grimaldi dropped the gloves with center Colt Conrad. The two exchanged haymakers in a bout that brought the crowd at Pechanga Arena San Diego to their feet.
San Diego took a five-minute major at the 13:43 mark of the period, giving Henderson a chance to close the scoring gap. The Gulls were solid in their defensive zone and sprung a rush leading to a penalty for the Silver Knights. Henderson conceded a second penalty with 15 seconds remaining in the initial minor, effectively killing the major penalty for the Gulls. However, the Silver Knights managed to score on a rebound with two seconds remaining in 4-on-4 play after a desperation save by Eriksson Ek making it 5-3. They added one more goal with 22 seconds left in the game cutting the Gulls lead to one.
The Gulls closed out the game with a final score of 5-4. Eriksson Ek picked up his first win of the season, stopping 34 out of 38 shots. He also registered an assist on Regenda’s game winning goal. Perreault finished the night with 0-2=2 points, giving him four assists in his last two games. Del Zotto and Gawdin also registered multi-point games each recording a goal and an assist.