Gulls Drop First Game With Henderson Silver KnightsFeb 24, 2021
In a battle of the Pacific Division’s top two teams, the Gulls fell 4-2 to the Henderson Silver Knights tonight at Orleans Arena. Despite the setback, San Diego co-leads the AHL in wins (7) and points (14).
San Diego led 2-1 heading into the third period, but conceded two Henderson goals 3:55 apart early in the final frame and another late empty-netter as the Silver Knights secured the win in the first ever meeting between the clubs.
“We took too many penalties. I thought our penalty killing was sharp early, but then a fatigue factor kicked in,” said Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen. “We have to stay away from that. Players have to see it and understand it takes a little extra effort or one extra stride to get [their stick] to the puck instead of getting into their feet.”
Bryce Kindopp opened the scoring with his first career AHL goal. Kindopp took a stretch pass at center ice from Keegan Lowe and skated ahead on an odd-man rush before snapping a wrist shot past Henderson netminder Oscar Dansk, putting San Diego ahead 1-0 with 1:20 left in the opening frame.
“That was a nice goal. Bryce picked up some speed there and there was a pass option across, but I thought he did a good job putting that puck on the net,” added Dineen.
Henderson evened the score as Paul Cotter capitalized on a Gulls defensive zone turnover. Jack Dugan grabbed a loose puck and spotted Cotter right in front of the net, who beat Dostal blocker side at 10:18 of the second period.
While killing a minor penalty late in the second period, San Diego struck for its first shorthanded goal of the season. Andrew Agozzino forced the puck out of the defensive zone and recovered it himself at center ice, leading an odd-man rush with Benoit-Olivier Groulx. Agozzino hit Groulx with a perfect backdoor pass and the rookie center did the rest, burying his first career shorthanded goal and giving the Gulls a 2-1 lead with 3:45 to play in the second period.
“It was a great play by Keegan Lowe and Agozzino,” said Groulx. “He made a great pass to me and I had a wide open cage. I was happy to bury that goal.”
The Silver Knights took their first lead of the night with two goals early in the third period.
The first was a power-play goal by Gage Quinney, who beat Dostal with a wrist shot from inside the right face-off circle. The Knights scored four minutes later, as a deflected pass bounced by Dostal, putting Henderson ahead 3-2 with 13:14 remaining in regulation.
“It’s always good when you have some good penalty killers on your team but, at the same time, you don’t want to wear them out by taking too many minutes. Tonight we did,” said Groulx. “I felt like we did a great job [on the penalty kill], but against a team like Henderson, they have a good power play and skill guys, they can score. It’s not a secret, we’ve just got to stay out of the box.”
Lucas Elvenes capped the scoring with an empty-net goal at the 18:32 mark of the third period.
“We’ll watch some film and get some feedback, not only for our players, but to get an idea of some of their tendencies, which I think we already picked up during the game,” said Dineen. “We’ll make some minor adjustments and, for us, we need to come out with a lot of energy when we’re rolling four lines. When the game is rolling along we’re just fine five-on-five, so that’s our mindset heading into Friday night.”
The Gulls and Silver Knights continue their three-game series with a weekend back-to-back Friday, Feb. 26 (6 p.m.) and Saturday, Feb. 27 (2 p.m.) at Orleans Arena.