Lettieri, Gulls Use Dominant First Period To Push Past HendersonNov 10, 2021
By Paige Burnell/SanDiegoGulls.com
The San Diego Gulls didn’t go big or go home. Instead, they went big at home with a stellar start that propelled them past the Henderson Silver Knights by a commanding 6-3 score tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego.
“In past games, we’ve been kind of hesitant, been thinking a little bit too much,” Gulls center Vinni Lettieri said. “Today, we started playing as a team and capitalizing on our chances.”
For the first time this season, the Gulls netted the first goal of the game as Axel Andersson made quick work of a rebound and put the puck past Logan Thompson for his first goal of the season at 2:27 of the first. Hunter Drew and Bryce Kindopp both picked up assists on the play.
This goal was the gateway to an onslaught of Gulls offense that would translate into four goals and a record-breaking 24 first-period shots by the end of the initial frame.
“It definitely helps being ahead to start,” Lettieri said. “It gets the momentum going. If we’re not ahead, we’ve jut got to find it, we’ve got to claw back and figure out our recipe to win it., With this game tonight, we had a winning recipe and despite giving up a couple of goals there, we did a lot of good things tonight and that’s what we need to turn in the right direction.”
It was Brayden Tracey who lit the lamp next. Andersson's shot from the point ricocheted off the end boards and back to the side of the net. Tracey alertly stuffed the puck off the skate of a sliding Thompson and in for his second goal of the season.
The goal extended Tracey’s career-long point streak to five games, and gave Andersson his first multi-point game of the season.
Trevor Carrick also factored in on the goal, collecting his fourth point in three games (1-3=4) and stretching his point streak to three games.
Former Silver Knight Danny O’Regan burned Henderson, netting San Diego's third goal before the game's 13-minute mark.
Nikolas Brouillard earned the primary assist and started his first point streak of the season on the play as he hunted down a puck forced into Henderson’s zone by Jacob Perreault
Perreault picked up the secondary helper to stretch his career-long point streak to five games.
“Obviously, a lot of guys come from everywhere,” Gulls head coach Joel Bouchard said. “New coaching staff. High standard. And we have a young lineup. We have a lot of young forwards right now, like I said, that are drinking from a fire hose. And I’m demanding on all the details. I think that we were less hesitant. I think more comfortable in our style of play. More on our toes, less on our heels.”
The assist was just an appetizer from Perreault who, with less than a minute remaining in the first, scored his second power play goal in two games. The right wing now has 3-5=8 points in five games and 4-6-10 points this season after his first-period haul.
Greg Pateryn packaged up the puck for Perreault and with his assist and snatched his first point as a Gull.
Henderson pulled Thompson and put in Dylan Ferguson to start the second period, and the Silver Knights made a valiant attempt to battle back with back-to-back goals just 1:10 apart.
Jermaine Loewen broke Lukas Dostal’s shutout at 8:33 of the second period and was followed up with a shorthanded goal by Maxim Marushev less than two minutes later to make the score 4-2.
"It’s hard to play a perfect 60 (minutes), especially with a young group like that and a group that hasn’t been together,” Bouchard said. “I’ve lived it in the past. I think the thing I’m most impressed is how we stayed calm through this. There was a couple of mistakes here and there that cost us. The game was what it was. I think our guys made some big plays at key moments, which was fun to see, to keep that game under control.”
Determined not to let those goals go unanswered any longer, Letierri added a goal for his second point of the night, while Drew got another assist for the first two-assist game of his career.
Tracey also collected his second point of the night, picking up his fourth assist and sixth point in the last five games (2-4=6) for 2-5=7 points this season.
Ben Jones started the scoring in the third period with an unassisted goal to tighten the score to 5-3, but Lettieri snuffed out that flicker offense by scoring San Diego's first shorthanded goal of the season. This goal is the Excelsior, MN native’s second goal and third point of the outing, inflating his point total to 3-1=4 over four games this season.
Brouillard also collected his second assist of the night on the goal and marked the first multi-point game of his professional career.
The Gulls have a day of rest until their next matchup against the Bakersfield Condors, the first game a two-game weekend set between the Pacific Division rivals starting Friday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.
“We’re going to get back after it tomorrow,” Lettieri said. “And just keep working on what we didn’t do to the best of our ability tonight and then worry about that game when it comes.”