Season Ends In Heartbreaking OT Loss

Gulls Season Ends In Heartbreaking Game 2 Overtime Loss

May 5, 2022

By Paige Burnell/

It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.

The San Diego Gulls season ended tonight as they lost the second game in their best-of-three First Round series against the Ontario Reign 3-2 in overtime. 

The Gulls put forth a valiant effort that not only erased a 2-0 deficit with goals from Greg Printz and Brent Gates Jr., but also stalled the Reign’s scoring for over 40 minutes of play with the unceasing efforts of San Diego netminder Lukas Dostal.  

"Obviously, not the result you want, but a lot of young teams or a team that (doesn’t) have enough or the chemistry between the coaches and the players is not exactly optimum, then they would bail out and call it a day and they didn’t," Gulls head coach Joel Bouchard said. "They definitely didn’t do that. The guys were outstanding, they fought until the end, they did what we told them to even being down 2-0 so this is a lot of guys grow a lot tonight. I think that playoff was a good experience for a lot of our players and I think tonight we really gave ourselves a chance."

Dostal stopped 22 consecutive shots after allowing two goals in the first period for a total of 26 saves, but that wasn’t enough to stop the Reign from winning  the series with an overtime power-play goal from T.J. Tynan. 

"I’m proud of the guys," Dostal said. "We were losing two nothing right at the beginning, so the guys just bounced back. we just tried our best to stay in the series and it’s what I think we did. As a young group it’s always…you might feel a little down maybe, but I was so proud of the guys that they actually didn’t. That they were still working the same way and they just trust the process the whole game. Yeah, we just headed to overtime, you know, and there whatever can happen."

The Reign struck first with a goal from Akil Thomas at 4:09 of the first period.  

Defenseman Thomas Hickey rushed up the ice, drawing the attention of the Gulls as he charged the net. The blueliner then dished the puck backwards to a wide-open Thomas in the slot who beat Dostal on the far side. 

The tally marks Thomas’ third goal against the Gulls in the series (3-0=3), while Austin Wagner earned his second point (1-1=2) in as many games.

Ontario wasted no time in doubling their lead with a goal from Christian Wolanin just 1:15 later. 

Ontario cemented themselves in the Gulls zone, circulating the puck as they attempted to find an open lane. Martin Frk received the puck and snapped it to Wolanin as he wound up at the blueline and beat Dostal from the point. 

Wolanin finished the First Round series with 1-2=3 points in the two games. 

The Gulls would shut down Ontario from there, keeping the deficit at two with a strong penalty kill late in the first frame. 

The special teams battle, a focus heading into this series, swung in San Diego’s favor in the second period.

"The guys they did a hell of a job in front of me (to) make it much easier for me," Dostal said. "Obviously, when sometimes (shots get through) obviously I need to make those saves. I think the whole series we did a hell of a job on our PK. You could obviously see they were a little bit frustrated, because in the regular season that was their main thing, you know? They were scoring almost every game from the power play. So we kind of keep them away and we gave ourself a chance that way."

San Diego slowly built up momentum in the first half of the second frame, using it to sour the Reign’s power play with a shorthanded goal from Printz.  

Printz started the play in his own end, scooping up a loose puck and hitting Danny O’ Regan with a pass near the Ontario blue line. The veteran center raced in on net, beating Wolanin for the scoring chance. He couldn’t bury his shot, but Printz slid into the zone and cashed in on the loose puck, cutting the Reign’s lead in half.. 

The tally marks Printz’s first career Calder Cup Playoffs goal and O’Regan’s first point of the postseason. 

The penalty kill continued to find success, as San Diego eliminated two more man-advantage chances in one of its best periods of the series.

"Well, I think we did a good job on the power play in the second because after a few, one wasn’t good and then the pk (penalty kill) did well in both games of the series," Bouchard said. "Even if we gave a few goals yesterday, I still think we did well. They’re a good power play and our guys did their job. It just happened that tonight we were a little short there."

Gates Jr. capitalized on the momentum, scoring a power-play goal with just 5.8 seconds left in the period to tie the game at two. 

Urgency drove Nikolas Brouillard as the period neared its end, leading the defenseman to quickly feed Lucas Elvenes at the top of the faceoff circle. The center faked a shot and sent the puck over to Gates Jr., who ripped the puck past Villalta to even the game and tally his first professional postseason goal. 

Brouillard collected his second helper of the series (0-2=2) to establish his first career postseason streak and Elvenes earned his first Calder Cup Playoffs assist (0-1=1) on the play. 

The Gulls held on through a storm of Reign scoring chances in the final frame, with Dostal making a multitude of excellent saves on the way to stopping all 13 of Ontario’s third-period shots to send the game into overtime. 

Overtime didn’t last long, as the Reign earned a power play just 2:30 into the extra period. Tynan converted, sending his shot past a screened Dostal to give Ontario the series win.

"Well it’s never, it’s not a good feeling because it’s the last time that we’re going to be together as a group so I always want to let them know that although we push them and we want them to do well and we require them to do certain things and play a certain way, we’re always going to be there for them as a coaching staff," Bouchard said. "Everybody that I coach knows that I’m demanding and I ask things to go a certain way, but I’ll be there 24/7 and they know that and I wanted to make sure (they know) I’m proud of them because like I said, being down 2-0 it’s easy to bail out or look for a way out and we didn’t. We settled down so nice in the game after so it just showed that everything we did this year and being in the playoff race and coming on top and after doing this tonight against a good team, I’m proud of the guys."

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