Gulls Go For Eight Straight Wins In Rivalry Matchup With ReignApr 6, 2021
The San Diego Gulls put their seven-game winning streak on the line Wednesday as they host the rival Ontario Reign at FivePoint Arena (7 p.m.; TV: AHL.TV; Radio: Gulls Audio Network).
The Gulls and Reign meet tonight for the sixth matchup of a ten-game season set. San Diego dominated the first half of the series, winning each of the first five matchups and outscoring Ontario 25-13 in those games.
“I think you can see the rivalry there,” said Gulls forward Jamie Devane. “Every time we play them, it’s a physical game and we play them a ton. It’s a fun, tough matchup. They’re fun games to be a part of.”
The Gulls are 38-19-3-2 all-time against the Reign and are without a loss against their Southern California rival in the last 430 days (Feb. 1, 2020). San Diego also has a nine-game point streak (7-0-2-0) against Ontario.
San Diego earned the 200th win in club history Sunday with a 6-4 defeat of Ontario. The Gulls scored at least six goals for the third consecutive game, expanding on their league lead (86) in the category.
“There are a lot of good players on this team,” explained Gulls forward Andrew Agozzino. “We’re a team with a lot of pride. When we’re playing the right way, it leads to our offensive game.”
The Gulls will welcome back a familiar face in rookie forward Trevor Zegras. The Anaheim Ducks assigned the rookie forward to San Diego Wednesday to provide him the opportunity to transition to the center position at the professional level.
Zegras was an offensive force for the Gulls early in the season, posting 4-5=9 points in eight AHL games. The Bedford, New York native kicked off his professional career with 2-3=5 points in his first two games, earning CCM/AHL Player of the Week honors.
“Anytime he’s with us, guys are excited to play with him,” said Agozzino. “He’s not only a great player but a fun personality to have around the locker room. He’s a pleasure to play with and watch. We’re excited to have him back and I’m sure he’ll pick up where he left off.”
Rookie netminders Lukas Dostal and Olle Eriksson Ek combined to post back-to-back wins over the weekend. San Diego’s young tandem is the only duo ranked among the top ten rookie netminders in goals against average and save percentage. Eriksson Ek, who ranks third in GAA and SV%, owns a five-game win streak. Dostal has won each of his first two starts since returning to San Diego’s lineup last week.
The Reign visit FivePoint Arena looking to bounce back after three straight losses. Ontario dropped a 5-4 overtime decision last night to the Bakersfield Condors and are just 5-4-1-0 in its last 10 games.
Ontario sits last in the Pacific Division by point percentage (.380).
Despite its struggles, the Reign possess a potent offense led by several of the Los Angeles Kings top prospects, including Arthur Kaliyev and Quinton Byfield. The duo co-led the Reign in scoring with 7-11=18 points each. The two are tied for third among AHL rookie skaters in points. Matt Luff, recently assigned by the Kings, has three points (2-1=3) in his first two contests.
While the team's offense remains hot, its goaltending continues to struggle. The Reign allowed 16 goals during its three-game skid and sits last in the American Hockey League in goals against per game (3.96).
“They’re a dangerous team. They like to play a high offensive game,” said Agozzino. “The more we open it up, the more it benefits them. If we can keep our game clean and structured defensively, that’s where we can generate our chances offensively and limit theirs.”