Gulls Win To Start New Year

Dostal Sets Franchise Record In Shutout Win Versus Silver Knights

Jan 1, 2023

By Brett Pickler/

The San Diego Gulls defeated the Henderson Silver Knights 3-0 to start the new year at the Dollar Loan Center.

Looking for a fresh start in 2023, the Gulls started the game on the front foot. In the opening frame, San Diego outshot Henderson 12-4. The Gulls not only had sustained pressure in the offensive zone, but a solid effort on defense limited the Silver Knights’ chances.

San Diego opened the scoring at the 8:23 mark of the period. They were able to pin the Silver Knights in their defensive end for an extended time. Working the cycle along the right boards, the Gulls created passing lanes. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto found one of these lanes and drifted towards the net. He caught a cross-ice pass from right wing Rocco Grimaldi, pulled the puck to his backhand and slid the puck across the line to give the Gulls a 1-0 lead.

Moments later, Henderson recorded their best chance of the period. After intercepting the puck in their zone, they were able to find a streaking player for a breakaway. However, Lukas Dostal, who was reassigned from Anaheim this morning, shut down the attack to maintain the one-goal lead.

Goaltending continued to be important for both teams in the second period. The Gulls had three power plays in the middle frame. They were able to create chances on the man advantage, but the play of goaltender Jiri Patera kept the score even. His solid effort between the pipes allowed Henderson to stay in the game. This gave the Silver Knights momentum as the period went along.

Dostal continued his high level of play, stopping all 15 shots that Henderson threw at him in the period. His biggest saves of the period came after an altercation that left the Gulls down two men with 1:23 remaining in the period. He fought off a plethora of shots, sliding from post to post to stop a one-time bid. He managed to help the Gulls get to intermission with the lead still intact.

The Gulls began the third period with 37 seconds left on the 5-on-3 penalty kill. Center Benoit-Olivier Groulx made two great individual efforts to kill the penalty. He managed to retrieve the puck in the defensive zone and skate it down to the Henderson corner, killing most of the remaining time. Then, on the subsequent backcheck, he hustled down the ice to break up a pass in the slot, ending the Silver Knights’ chance.

At the 7:18 mark, San Diego extended their lead with an insurance goal by left wing Pavol Regenda. He caught a pass in the slot and in one fluid motion picked the top corner making it a two-goal game. This goal extends his point streak to four games, tallying 3-3=6 points. The Gulls added an empty net goal from left wing Brayden Tracey to close out the game 3-0.

Dostal recorded his second shutout of the season in a 39 save effort, with his first coming on Nov. 8, 2022, against the Silver Knights. This moves him into sole possession of first place for most shutouts in the Gulls’ American Hockey League franchise history, passing Reto Berra (3).

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