Limoges, Perreault Power Gulls Over Reign In Preseason OpenerOct 7, 2021
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
The last time San Diego visited Ontario at Toyota Arena – 650 days ago – they skated away with a win.
Tonight, after an almost two-year absence in the “Inland Empire,” San Diego skated away victorious.
Powered by multi-point efforts from Alex Limoges and Jacob Perreault, the Gulls took down the Reign 4-2 in the opening matchup of a two-game exhibition series between the Southern California rivals. New Gull Brogan Rafferty made an impact, scoring the game-winning tally to deliver the preseason win.
"I thought for the most part we were really organized and the effort was there," head coach Joel Bouchard said. "And I told the guys after the game the three things I’m most happy is the effort is there, everybody get good moment…nobody can leave the game saying they really struggled, and third their attitude was outstanding. Their buy in…we’re challenging them, I’m a challenging coach. I’m asking for a lot of details, but they embrace it and I really like the camaraderie and the guys pushing together. That was what I’m most happy about."
The rivalry picked up right where it left off, as the teams traded fists instead of goals through the first period-plus of regulation.
Hunter Drew and Dallas Gerads served as the undercard, dropping the gloves for a spirited bout at 12:55 of the opening period. Drew responded to a big hit from Gerads, and the two heavyweights swung away before retreating to their respective penalty boxes with matching five-minute fighting major penalties.
A heavyweight battle brought fans to their feet early in the second period, as Jacob Douty and Morgan Adams-Moisan came together at center ice for a scrap lasting almost 90 seconds. Adams-Moisan, signed by the Gulls earlier in the week, recorded 123 penalty minutes (PIM) in 37 games with the Fort Wayne Comets of the ECHL during the 2020-21 season.
The goals came soon after, with Perreault opening the scoring at 9:53 of the middle frame. The winger won a faceoff back to defenseman Nic Brouillard, then cut to the net to get his stick on Brouillard's floating wrist shot. His deft deflection went up and over Reign netminder John Lethemon for Perreault's first goal of the preseason.
Ontario struck back, scoring two straight goals to take a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Aidan Dudas tied the game at one with a power-play tally at the 12:04 mark of the period. With Brouillard in the box for holding, the Reign forward took a cross-ice feed from Brayden Burke and skated into the faceoff circle. His wrist shot zipped past the glove of Olle Eriksson Ek for the game-tying tally.
Jordan Spence put Ontario ahead, tipping a point shot from Johan Sodergran past Eriksson Ek with 57 seconds left in the second period.
Limoges provided the come-from-behind spark, evening the score at two at 6:20 of the final frame.
Perreault started the play, sending the puck off the boards in his own end. It slipped by the defenseman and to a wide-open Limoges, who moved in on Lethemon with speed. The former Penn State captain faked the forehand before deftly sliding a backhand shot through Lethemon's legs for the game-tying tally.
"It’s funny, I actually was taking my pregame nap and I was kinda dreaming, like, if I get a breakaway I want to do this today," Limoges said following the win. "So, you know I did it in development camp and it worked. So I thought I might as well try it here. And I thought that’s kind of the jump that we needed, the extra energy. And we scored right after that and kinda shut out the rest. It was fun. It was fun for it to work otherwise I would have looked terrible."
Rafferty scored his first goal of the preseason with a little luck, putting the Gulls ahead with the game-winning goal at 9:30 of the third period.
The defenseman - recently assigned to the Gulls - took a pass from Limoges and worked his way down from the point. He cut toward the net, sending a wrist shot off the post. The puck hit his skate, deflected off Spence and past Lethemon for the go-ahead goal.
Vinni Lettieri would seal the win, sending a shot into the empty net with 10 seconds remaining in overtime.
The same two teams will close the preseason on Monday, when the Gulls host their annual exhibition contest at Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. Admission and parking is free and open the public. You can reserve up to eight tickets today using the promo code GULLS.