Chase De Leo's Overtime Goal Sinks Ontario ReignMar 3, 2021
The San Diego Gulls picked up their first road win of the season tonight, defeating the Ontario Reign 5-4 in overtime at Toyota Sports Performance Center. The team’s rebound effort came after three consecutive losses on the road to the Henderson Silver Knights.
“It’s never fun to lose at all, but three in a row – that’s not Gulls hockey,” said Chase De Leo. “It’s important for us to go through that adversity. It usually happens at one point whether it’s early on or down the stretch here. It’s important for the young guys to go through that and learn it’s not always going to be rainbows and butterflies. There are ups and downs. It’s just learning and making sure it doesn’t happen again. I thought we had a good response here tonight.”
Andrew Poturalski played a large role in the response. The Buffalo, NY native, who missed the majority of 2019-20 due to injury, picked up three primary assists tonight. Poturalski now leads the Gulls in scoring (2-9=11) and co-leads the AHL in helpers alongside Jeremy Davies of the Chicago Wolves.
Tonight also marks his second three-assist performance over his last five games (1-7=8), which ties his career high.
Ontario started the game by securing the first goal 2:15 into the contest as Cameron Gaunce picked up his first goal of the season on a tough bounce for the Gulls.
San Diego would respond, ending the first period tied at one.
Poturalski collected an Ontario clearing attempt at his blue line, feeding rookie Benoit-Olivier Groulx as he hustled down the wing. Groulx’s shot from just above the circle beat Troy Grosenick five-hole to give the rookie center his third point (2-1=3) in the last four games.
Entering the second period, the Gulls line of Sam Carrick, De Leo and Jacob Perreault combined to score a tic-tac-toe goal 4:35 into the middle frame. Carrick stopped the puck from exiting the offensive zone, passed it to Perreault who gave it to De Leo in the slot for another five-hole goal as San Diego took its first lead of the game.
Rasmus Kupari pulled Ontario even with his second goal of the season at 11:23 of the middle frame. The second-year pro converted on a feed from rookie Arthur Kaliyev, snapping a shot from the low slot past Anthony Stolarz.
An Ontario bench minor that carried over into the third period - and a delay of game minor jus 52 seconds into the final frame - gave San Diego 42 seconds of a two-man advantage. The Gulls didn’t waste the opportunity, capitalizing with back-to-back power play goals separated by just 1:23.
The first of the two goals came on a feed across the slot from Poturalski to Agozzino, who potted his third power-play goal of the season 1:14 into the third frame.
“It’s a five-on-three,” said head coach Kevin Dineen. “You should generate a lot of chances. We had a couple good chances early and they didn’t go in. They stayed with it. And whatever the length of it is you should end up creating some opportunities. First starting with the puck, we win the faceoffs and then you’re running plays from there. It worked out well for us. We were in a place that we’re drawing some penalties because of our pressure and it shows on the scoreboard.”
Carrick added the second goal on the extended man advantage on a low-feed from Poturalski, deflection the puck from the slot past Ontario netminder Grosenick. Carrick has back-to-back multi-point efforts (1-3=4).
Vinni Lettieri picked up the secondary assist on each of the two power-play scores to mark his fourth multi-point performance in his six games with San Diego this season.
Tyler Madden cut the deficit in half, pulling Ontario within one just before the six-minute mark of the final period. The rookie collected his first professional goal on a rebound off Stolarz.
Ontario tied the game with just 20 seconds remaining on the clock as Akil Thomas scored a late goal.
The teams traded scoring chances in overtime, but it was De Leo who ended the game with another goal between Grosenick’s pads with 38 seconds remaining in the extra period. Trevor Carrick took a slap shot at the net and De Leo cleaned up the rebound to give the Gulls their first road victory of the season.
“I just tried to get lost and be a little rat behind the play,” said De Leo on his goal. “It’s nice when a goalie gives up a rebound and you’re there to put it in. I definitely lit up when I saw the one-timer crank up and I was just hoping for a bounce. It worked out. I was hopping there were some fans here to bring a little more excitement in the celebration, but we’ll take it.”
Nikolas Brouillard recorded his first career AHL point (assist) on the game-winning overtime goal.
De Leo co-leads the club with five goals and ranks second in points (5-5=10) despite missing three Gulls games during his time on the Ducks taxi squad. He also extended his point streak to three games (3-2=5) with his two goals.
The Gulls will return home to host the San Jose Barracuda on Friday, Mar. 5 (7 p.m.) and Saturday, Mar. 6 (7:30 p.m.) at FivePoint Arena.