Gulls Win Streak Ends In Loss To IowaMar 18, 2023
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
The San Diego Gulls fell to the Iowa Wild 6-2 tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego, snapping the team’s four-game win streak.
Marco Rossi recorded a natural hat trick in the win, while Nic Petan (1-2=3) and Mike O’Leary (1-1=2) posted multi-point efforts. The offense supported goaltender Jesper Wallstedt, who stopped 34-of-36 shots to collect his 16th win of the season.
Michael Del Zotto and Brent Gates Jr. found the back of the net for the Gulls.
Iowa came out strong in the first period, jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Brandon Baddock and O’Leary in the second half of the frame. The Wild also outshot the Gulls 13-3, holding San Diego to its lowest shot total of a first period this season.
Undeterred by the slow start, the Gulls came out blazing in the middle frame.
Del Zotto brought San Diego within one, scoring his eighth goal of the season at 5:43 of the period.
With his team on a power play, Chase De Leo held the puck below the goal line, surveying the scene from behind the net. With the penalty killers turned toward him, the Gulls captain found Del Zotto, who crept down from the point. He collected the puck and surveyed the scene, firing a wrist shot past the aggressive Wallstedt.
Since debuting as a Gull on Jan. 22, Del Zotto leads all San Diego skaters in assists and points (6-19=25).
Gates Jr. tied the game just over a minute later.
The forward carried the puck down along the boards, hitting the brakes and finding Brayden Tracey as he entered the zone. Tracey sent the puck back across the ice to Gates Jr., who one-timed a shot past the sliding Wallstedt for his first goal of the season.
The Grand Rapids, Mich. native let out a roar and pumped his fists after collecting his first regular-season goal since Apr., 26, 2022 at Stockton. Gates Jr. missed significant time this season with an injury.
The Wild punched back in the latter half of the period, with Rossi scoring twice to restore his team’s two-goal advantage.
The former first-round pick finished the natural hat trick in the third period, scoring his 16th goal of the season to push Iowa’s lead to three. They collected their sixth on an empty-net tally late in regulation.
San Diego looks to get back in the win column tomorrow afternoon against the Coachella Valley Firebirds. Puck drop is 3 p.m. PST.