Gulls Look to Get WildJan 10, 2020
The Gulls look for retribution tonight as they host the Iowa Wild for the second time in three nights at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m. PT, TV: AHLTV, Radio: San Diego Gulls Audio Network). Iowa won their first-ever game in San Diego and pushed their win streak to four games Wednesday night, a 3-2 win thanks to a Mitch McLain third-period goal to break a two-all deadlock.
Sam Carrick pushed his AHL goal streak to four games (5-0=5) with his 13th of the season and Chris Mueller earned his first point of the season with an assist. Blake Pietila notched San Diego’s other goal, his second over the last four games.
“Our season is on the line, that’s the way we have to look at it,” said Carrick following Wednesday’s game. “From here on out these are playoff games that we have to look at. The standings are so tight and this is a team that’s not in our division. These could be huge points for us down the stretch. We have to turn this around now and it’s going to start Friday.”
Iowa (21-12-2-2), the second ranked team in the Central Division, came as advertised. Leading scorer Sam Anas (11-28=39) scored back-to-back goals in the second period to get Iowa on the board, scoring just 97 seconds following Pietila’s opening goal. Both Wild goals were assisted by Gerald Mayhew (23-14=37), who trails Anas by two points on the season. The pair sit third and fourth respectively among AHL leaders in scoring. In the absence of their recent go-to netminder Kaapo Kahkonen, rookie goaltender Mat Robson held strong in net. Robson stopped 28-of-30 shots to win his third straight game.
Despite the tough loss, San Diego was able to score a goal on the man advantage and kill all three Wild power plays. Building on a recently productive penalty kill will be crucial to generating success for the team going forward. The Gulls have negated the opposing teams’ last 13 power-play chances, marking season-high for the AHL club.
The aforementioned Kahkonen was reassigned to Iowa by NHL parent club Minnesota Wild this morning. The 23-year old Kahkonen is 13-3-1 with a 2.56 goals-against average (GAA), a .906 save percentage (SV%) and two shutouts in 17 games with Iowa this season. He also went 3-1-1 with a 2.96 GAA and a .913 SV% in five NHL starts with Minnesota this season.
That road ahead for the Gulls starts with a rematch against Iowa as the teams continue a four-game season series and the final meeting between the two in San Diego this season. The Gulls have earned points in six of seven previous matchups dating to the 2016-17 season (5-1-1-0), outscoring the Wild 26-13 overall. After the Wild’s first-ever win in San Diego, the Gulls are now 3-1-0-0 with a 16-6 goal differential on home ice all-time.
San Diego will look back the past five years to find some of their historical success against the Central Division teams. All-time, the Gulls have posted a 26-10-4-1 record (.695%) against the Central, earning points in 31 of 41 games, the highest points percentage among Pacific Division clubs against Central opponents.