Golod, Poturalski Power Gulls Past ReignMar 24, 2021
The San Diego Gulls improved to 3-0 against the Ontario Reign this season, defeating their Southern California rival 5-3 tonight at Toyota Sports Performance Center. With the win, San Diego extended its point streak against Ontario to seven games (5-0-2-0).
Maxim Golod scored the game-winner early in the third period, marking his first career AHL goal, as part of his second career multi-point game. Andrew Poturalski (1-2=2) and Sam Carrick (1-1=2) also recorded multi-point efforts to lead the Gulls offensively.
"It was kind of a weird shift all around," Golod said about his game-winning tally. "I was net front earlier in the shift and didn’t really take any crosschecks and was like, ‘What’s going on?' Usually, it’s a tough area to get to and you take a few crosschecks getting there. I don’t even know where the defenseman went, but I was all alone. I had more time than I’ve ever had and I just put it in. It was definitely a good feeling putting it in."
Goaltender Olle Eriksson Ek, making back-to-back starts for the first time this season, stopped 14-of-17 shots for his third win of the season. He leads all Gulls netminders in goals-against average (2.53)
San Diego’s offense got off to a quick start, scoring a pair of sharp angle goals to chase Reign starting netminder Matthew Villalta from the game.
Charlie Sampair opened the scoring with his first goal as a Gull. Skating his his third game with San Diego, Sampair grabbed a loose puck at center ice and raced down left wing, firing a low shot that snuck through Villalta and barely over the goal line, giving San Diego the lead 7:33 into the game.
Four minutes later, Poturalski won a puck battle along the left wing wall and buried a wrist shot just inside the post, doubling the Gulls lead at the 10:30 mark of the opening period.
Golod earned his third career AHL assist with the primary helper on Poturalski’s tally.
"Same thing as last game – just the energy we had in warmups and before the game," Golod explained when asked about the team's strong start. "It seemed like we [couldn’t] lose. All the boys were buzzing right before the game. When all four line are going and our momentum is rolling, it’s hard to beat us."
Ontario fought its way back in the second period. After a Gulls neutral zone turnover, Jacob Doty turned up ice for a 2-on-1 and beat Olle Eriksson Ek with a wrist shot over the shoulder 3:22 into the middle frame.
Midway through the period, Carrick restored the two-goal advantage with his team-leading ninth goal of the season. Carrick took a pass from Poturalski at center ice and danced around Mark Alt before snapping a wrist shot past new Reign netminder Jean-Francois Berube.
The Reign again tied the score with a pair of goals 44 seconds apart. Second-overall pick Quinton Byfield notched the first, snapping a shot past Eriksson Ek from inside the slot for his sixth career AHL goal. Alt scored the second as his wrist shot snuck through traffic to pull the Reign even with 5:12 left in the middle frame.
Golod broke the deadlock with his first career AHL goal 1:13 into the final period. Sam Carrick directed a shot towards the net and Golod pounced on the rebound, sliding it past an outstretched Berube to give San Diego a 4-3 lead.
"There wasn't any panic," Golod said. "We felt the game was in our control and our momentum didn't waver in the room between periods. We knew what the task at hand was so we just went out in the third and continued to work, got pucks to the net and good things happened."
With an assist on the game-winning goal, Carrick notched his 300th career AHL point.
Antoine Morand potted an empty net goal with one second remaining in regulation to seal the victory for San Diego. Poturalski earned an assist on the score and has 13 points (3-10=13) in his last 10 games and leads the AHL in helpers (16). He's also second in the league in points (5-16=21).
With the win, San Diego improved to 36-19-3-2 all-time against Ontario, including an 18-9-0-2 mark on the road.
The Gulls return home to host a weekend back-to-back against Bakersfield on Friday, Mar. 26 (7 p.m.) and Tucson on Saturday, Mar. 27 (7 p.m.) at FivePoint Arena.