Alexander Blanks Henderson, Sets Gulls AHL Record In WinMar 10, 2023
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
Gage Alexander certainly has a flair for the dramatic.
The San Diego Gulls goaltender turned aside all 26 shots he faced – including a dramatic, highlight-reel stop in the first frame – to lead his team to a 2-0 win over the Henderson Silver Knights tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego.
At 20 years, eight months and eight days, Alexander became the youngest goaltender in the team’s American Hockey League history to record a shutout, surpassing Lukas Dostal (21 years, eight months and four days). It marks the first professional shutout for the Okotoks, Alberta native, who has a a .969 save percentage and 0.97 goals against average over his last three games.
"I mean, that's pretty crazy," Alexander said following the win. "Anytime you can break a record like that. I guess it's pretty important. And it's just super exciting. I couldn’t do it with(out) all these guys. And they made it really easy on me."
Benoit-Oliver Groulx and Chase Priskie provided the offense as San Diego earned a third straight win. Michael Del Zotto finished with two assists to lead all skaters with 0-2=2 points.
"The biggest thing is, kind of everyone playing together," Gulls head coach Roy Sommer said. "We had four lines going tonight, all the d(efensemen) were going, got an outstanding performance by (Gage) Alexander and the net, you know, got his first shutout. I heard it was the youngest goalie ever to have a shutout in Gulls history, which is kudos to him. Just been a good vibe here the last couple weeks, 10 days, and guys practiced hard and bringing that into the game. Tonight was no different."
Alexander kept the game scoreless in the first period, making a highlight-reel save late in the opening frame.
Henderson earned a shorthanded rush, with Sakari Manninen leading the charge up the ice. Alexander kicked away his low shot, but put the puck on the stick of a streaking Gage Quinney. The Silver Knight tried to sweep the puck into the net, but Alexander used all of his 6-6 frame to lunge toward the goal line, swatting the puck away from the open cage.
San Diego rewarded its goaltender in the second frame.
Groulx broke through at 4:02 of the period, setting a new career high with his 12th goal and 30th point of the season.
Del Zotto started the play in his own end, finding Glenn Gawdin with a pass from his own end. The forward carried the puck down the boards, finding Groulx cutting toward the net. The center deflected the pass, beating Henderson goaltender Isaiah Saville for the milestone marker.
Groulx, who missed the last 10 games with an injury, has 3-4=7 points in his last nine games.
Priske continued his strong start with the Gulls, stretching San Diego’s lead to two with a power-play goal with 3:28 left in the second.
The defenseman began the play, dropping below the goal line to play a loose puck to Dylan Sikura. The forward cycled the puck to Del Zotto, who surveyed the scene from the blue line. He found Priske with a pass in the faceoff circle, and the defenseman’s one-timer didn’t miss, buzzing through Saville’s legs.
Since he joined the organization at the National Hockey League’s trade deadline, the Pembroke Pines, Fl. native has three goals in two games, nearly equaling the four goals he scored in 42 games with the Rochester Americans.
The Gulls would hold the fort in the final frame, blanking Henderson for the third time this season. It marks the most times San Diego has shut out a single opponent in a single season.