Gulls Grab Seventh Win Over Reign This SeasonApr 15, 2021
The San Diego Gulls continued their dominance over the rival Ontario Reign with a 2-1 overtime win tonight at Toyota Sports Performance Center in El Segundo, CA. San Diego swept both games of a home-and-home series and collected victories in seven of the eight meetings this season (7-1-0-0).
San Diego won 10 of its last 12 games, averaging 4.6 goals per game and outscoring its opponents 55-35 over that span.
Lukas Dostal stopped 37-of-38 shots to extend his win streak to five games, a stretch including three wins against the Reign. The rookie is 5-0-0-0 against Ontario this season, and currently ranks fourth in the American Hockey League in wins (10).
Coming off an AHL career-high four-point effort (2-2=4), Trevor Zegras picked up where he left last game by scoring the game’s first goal on a highlight-reel play.
Vinni Lettieri (1-1=2) and Josh Mahura (0-2=2) led the way offensively for San Diego. Trevor Zegras and Chase De Leo also found the scoresheet in the win.
Lettieri provided the game-winning, power-play marker with just 1:41 remaining in the extra session.
With the Gulls on a 4-on-3 advantage, De Leo dug a loose puck out from behind the net and fed Lettieri above the faceoff circle. The veteran wing skated across the top of the zone before darting toward the faceoff circle, sending a quick shot to the far post to beat J-F Berube for his ninth goal of the season.
“I was hitting Dels (Chase De Leo) down low at first because he was all alone and I thought he was going to have some more time with it and kind of explode on them,” Lettieri said. “From there, since we used the low play, I think rolling around might’ve been an option so I just rolled around to the net. The guys did great moving around and Dels held the net front very well and gave me the opportunity to shoot.”
Lettieri continues his strong season with San Diego. He’s collected 9-10=19 points in 12 games with the Gulls, including five points (2-3=5) in his last five games and has multi-point efforts in nine of those 12 contests.
De Leo recorded an assist to extend his assist streak to a career-tying five games (3-7=10) and his point streak to six games (4-7=11). Mahura picked up his second helper of the night on the play for his sixth point (2-4=6) over his last five appearances.
The two teams battled to a 1-1 tie after regulation.
Trevor Zegras opened the scoring with a highlight-reel tally in the first period.
Josh Mahura flipped the puck out of the Gulls zone to Lettieri, who made a no-look backhand pass to Zegras in stride, connecting perfectly on the feed. The Gulls rookie faked a shot before bringing the puck to his backhand and using the toe of the stick to flip it over Berube and into the back of the net.
“I took a look before the puck came to me,” Lettieri said. “I got lucky with it, missing all those guys’ sticks, but Z (Trevor Zegras) made an insane goal. I couldn’t believe it actually so it was pretty cool to see it. A lucky pass by me, but it was just skill what he did on the breakaway.”
The goal, scored at 11:19 of the opening frame, marked Zegras’ eighth goal of the season and sixth in his last six games with the Gulls. Zegras leads AHL rookies in points per game (1.23, min. 10 GP).
After stopping Ontario’s two shots in the first period, a season-low in first period shots allowed to an opponent by the Gulls, Dostal stood on his head for the following 20 minutes. The Reign put up 21 shots in the second period, tying the most the Gulls have faced in the middle period this season. Dostal turned them all away.
"We had a very simple game," head coach Kevin Dineen explained. "I thought our support was really good. We were moving the puck to people who were open and that makes for a simple game. We were establishing some offensive zone time. Some penalty issues started in the second period and we ended up wearing down a lot of the same players on defense were logging a lot of hard minutes out there."
The fatigue showed in the third period, when the Reign tied the score at one with 7:14 remaining in regulation. Marin Frk scored the game-tying tally on the power play, sending a wrist shot through traffic and past Dostal for his first goal of the season.
The marker came on Ontario's 31st shot of the game.
The Gulls continue their four-game road trip on Saturday, Apr. 17 against the Bakersfield Condors at Mechanics Bank Arena (8 p.m. PT; TV: AHL TV; RADIO: Gulls Audio Network).