Gulls Fall In Close Battle

Gulls Drop Back-And-Forth Battle With Silver Knights

Mar 1, 2023

By AJ Manderichio/

In a matchup featuring plenty of offensive firepower, the San Diego Gulls fell 6-5 to the Henderson Silver Knights tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego.

"You know, there wasn’t a lot of quit," Gulls head coach Roy Sommer said. "I thought we did a lot of good things actually. We moved the puck out of our own end pretty good. We were above pucks in their end and allowed our d(efense) to come down the walls and keep plays alive and that part of it was good. It was defensively, I thought we had some breakdowns. We didn't do a very good job defending the middle of the ice and that hurt us a little bit. But you know, like that we finally got some secondary scoring. We didn't leave it up to one line to do at all, which was a good thing to see."

Chase De Leo collected a season-high 2-1=3 points while Josiah Slavin and Brayden Tracey each recorded multi-point efforts in the loss. Olle Eriksson Ek stopped 22-of-27 shots.

Brendan Brisson collected 1-2=3 points while Gemel Smith scored twice for Henderson, who extended their win streak to a fourth game.

Slavin opened the scoring, netting his first Gulls goal at 2:17 of the first.

The two teams battled for possession in the corner, with Glenn Gawdin and Tracey working to dig the puck loose. The Silver Knights quickly tried to clear the puck but found the stick of Slavin in the faceoff circle. He wasted no time, flicking a quick shot on net to beat Patera for his fourth goal of the season.

Dorofeyev collected his third goal in his last four games, tying the game at one with a power-play tally at 10:32 of the opening period.

Tracey briefly put the Gulls ahead in the middle frame, converting on a breakaway chance to collect his ninth goal of the season.

San Diego moved the puck from its own end, with Slavin finding Grimaldi in the middle of the zone. He tapped the puck by a crashing Henderson forward and to a wide-open Tracey, who collected the pass and sprinted ahead. His deke opened Patera’s five hole, and the Gulls left wing slid the puck through Henderson’s goaltender at 1:54 of the frame.

The Silver Knights responded just a minute later, with Gemel Smith tipping home a point shot to even the score at two.

De Leo continued the back-and-forth battle, giving the Gulls their third one-goal lead at 9:20 of the second.

The Gulls’ captain jumped on the ice following a successful penalty kill, joining his team as they raced over the blue line. Brouillard held the puck at the point, sending a shot to the net. The puck ricocheted off a Henderson defenseman and to a waiting Tracey, who collected it at the bottom of the circle. He calmly deked around Henderson’s Danill Miramanov, sending a pass through the defenseman’s legs and to a waiting De Leo, who tapped the puck into an open net.

The tally extends De Leo’s point streak to a seventh game. He’s averaging more than a point-per-contest over that span, collecting 5-3=8 points.

Connor Ford brought the Silver Knights even once again, one-timing a shot past a sliding Eriksson Ek with 6:40 left in the period.

The Silver Knights would take their first lead of the game at 8:45 of the final frame, as Smith collected his second goal of the game.

Michael Del Zotto answered, finding the back of the net with a seeing-eye shot for his seventh of the season.

De Leo and Rocco Grimaldi worked the puck down low, with the latter curling from the side boards with possession. He sent a pass to Del Zotto, who quickly floated a wrister from the blue line past Patera to even the score at four.

Henderson would pull ahead for the win late in the third period, with Brisson’s power-play tally and Sheldon Rempal’s empty net goal giving them a 6-4 cushion. De Leo made it interesting, recording his first multi-goal game of the season with 10.5 seconds left in the game, but San Diego couldn't find the equalizer to force overtime.

San Diego hits the road for a pair of games against the Tucson Roadrunners, beginning Friday, Mar. 3. Puck drop is 6 p.m. PT.

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