Gulls Dismantle Rival Reign For Fifth Straight WinMar 31, 2021
The 2020-21 version of the Southern California rivalry is a decidedly one-sided affair.
Six different Gulls recorded multi-point efforts – led by Sam Carrick’s three-point night – as San Diego dismantled the Ontario Reign, 7-2, tonight at FivePoint Arena. The Gulls improved to 4-0-0-0 against Ontario this season and now own an eight-game point streak against the Reign (6-0-2-0) dating to last season. The team also extended its win streak to five games.
“I think confidence builds confidence,” Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen said. “We’ve been playing well and we picked up some bodies from Anaheim. They’re very engaged in how we’re playing. At the end of it, I liked our game overall.”
Gulls netminder Lukas Dostal, who rejoined the team from the Anaheim Ducks taxi squad, came up with the game's first highlight. Arthur Kaliyev earned a breakaway opportunity, but Dostal made an incredible glove save to keep the game scoreless.
It would mark one of the 34 saves the rookie netminder made in the win, snapping a personal seven-game winless streak.
“We gave up some quality scoring chances, one right off the opening faceoff. I thought he was really solid for us,” Dineen explained. “That was a good rebound game for us. He’s had a chance to go up to Anaheim and practice with NHL shooters. It was good to see him get a win. He had a little challenging stretch before he left us. It was a well-deserved win for him.”
San Diego received its first opportunity on the power play midway through the first period when Quinton Byfield was whistled for a hooking minor.
The Gulls power-play unit capitalized just over a minute into the man advantage when Vinni Lettieri fired a shot past Ontario goalie Matthew Villalta from the top of the faceoff circle. Lettieri’s goal at 9:05 of the first marked his 10th point (6-4=10) over seven games played this season. Lettieri also extended his AHL point streak to four games (4-2=6).
Shortly after, Jamie Devane and Jacob Doty dropped the gloves in an intense and lengthy fight that lasted nearly a full minute.
The tussle ignited Ontario, who responded with back-to-back goals from Rasmus Kupari and Aidan Dudas to conclude the first frame with a 2-1 lead.
It was all gas, no breaks for San Diego from the second period on as the Gulls got off to a quick start and didn’t let up. Chase De Leo picked up the first goal of the middle frame as rookie Alex Limoges took a loose puck from behind the net and found the La Mirada, CA native for a one-timer from the slot to tie the score at two.
De Leo’s goal marked his eighth of the season and his second over his last three games. With the lone helper on the play, Limoges recorded an assist in three straight games to begin his American Hockey League career (0-4=4).
With Ontario rookie Alex Turcotte in the penalty box for holding, Carrick hammered home a rebound for a power-play goal at the 9:09 mark of the middle frame.
The Gulls extended their lead with a goal by Andrew Agozzino almost four minutes after Carrick’s marker.
Nikolas Brouillard sprung the Gulls on a 2-on-1 rush, feeding a streaking Brendan Guhle with a pass at the red line. The defenseman chipped a pass to Agozzino, who burst past the Reign defense and tucked a shot high over the glove of Villalta.
Agozzino extended his AHL point streak to four games (2-2=4). The veteran center has nine points (6-3=9) in his last 10 games with the Gulls.
The third period followed the same script, with San Diego filling the net en route to tying a season high in goals.
Bryce Kindopp pushed San Diego’s advantage to three with his first career shorthanded goal 2:09 into the third frame.
Guhle found the rookie center at Ontario's blue line, and Kindopp did the rest, splitting the defense before firing a snap shot past Villalta for his third goal of the season.
Guhle recorded his first multi-point game of the season (0-2=2). The defenseman has five assists in the last five games.
Carrick put the game out of reach, converting on a nifty backhand move to give the Gulls a 6-2 lead with 6:32 to play in regulation.
Kindopp capped the scoring as the rookie winger was the recipient of a perfect backdoor pass from Mahura, deflecting it past Villalta for San Diego's seventh and final goal.
San Diego leads the AHL in home wins (11), home points (22) and goals (73).
“It sucks not having fans in the building for sure, but every guy is playing for each other,” Carrick said. “We’re out there battling for each other as a team and pushing each other. There are scouts in the building and that kind of stuff too that is a motivation. Anytime we can be a winning team, I think it’s going to help everybody on our roster be successful in the future.”