Gulls Look for Weekend Split in IowaFeb 15, 2020
The San Diego Gulls search for a weekend split against one of the American Hockey League's hottest teams when they face the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa (4 p.m. PT; TV: AHL TV, RADIO: Gulls Audio Network). San Diego enters tonight with points in seven of its last eight games. They trail the rival Ontario Reign by five points for fourth place in the Pacific Division standings.
"We have to make sure that when we have that shot mentality, you have somebody at the net," head coach Kevin Dineen said following last night's loss. "We felt like we were generating shots as the game wore on. You can get those second and third opportunities when those are there. With a little bit of a fluky goal that they scored against us, just stay with it, keep our composure and play the way you need to on the road to have success."
The Gulls suffered their first shutout loss of the season, dropping the opening game of the weekend series 3-0. After two scoreless periods, Iowa's Gerry Mayhew scored the game's first goal just two minutes into the final frame. Mayhew would add two more goals - both empty-netters - to record the natural hat trick.
Wild netminder Kaapo Kahkonen stopped all 34 shots to record his fifth shutout of the season.
"We’re frustrated that we lost the game, but I think when we take some time here and really evaluate our game, I think we’ll realize that we actually played a pretty good game," Sam Carrick said following the loss. "Their one goal was a pretty lucky goal. It was kind of a crappy bounce that went off our guy and in. The other two were obviously empty netters. Obviously we want to create some more offense. Any time you get shutout like that, you can’t expect a win, so we’re going to take our positives from this game and move on to tomorrow night."
San Diego thought it recorded the game-tying goal on the power play late in regulation. Isac Lundestrom converted on a loose puck, appearing to even the score at one apiece as the clocked ticked under five minutes remaining in the game. The referees, however, ruled the whistle blew to halt play, leaving San Diego frustrated.
"Power play, there’s a goal that should have counted that didn’t," Dineen lamented following the loss. "You can debate that as much as you want. A the end of it you’re not going to change the refs mind so you have to get ready for the task at hand. Bottom line is our power play didn’t get it done when we needed them to."
One area San Diego will look for improvement - its power play. The team failed to score with five opportunities - including the disallowed goal.
"We stayed out of the box all game which was great," Carrick explained. "Part of the game plan was to limit their power play. The third period, we did a good job of actually drawing penalties and giving our power play a chance to get a goal. We stuck with it and I thought we controlled the puck for most of the third period. It just didn’t go our way tonight, but that’s the way it goes sometimes."
Anthony Stolarz stopped 30-of-31 shots in the setback, ending his five-game win streak. Stolarz is 8-1-1 his last 10 starts with a 2.28 goals-against average and .936 save percentage, stopping 30-or-more shots in nine straight appearances.