Gulls Open Preseason Slate Against Rival ReignJan 16, 2021
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
After 311 days, the San Diego Gulls are finally back.
The team opens its six-game preseason schedule today as they open a back-to-back series with the rival Ontario Reign at 1 p.m. PT. San Diego will host Ontario at FivePoint Arena at Great Park Ice, the team’s home for the 2020-21 season.
An audio stream of the game is available on the Gulls Audio Network. Click here to listen to the action.
The first matchup between the Southern California rivals features some of the organization’s top prospects. Trevor Zegras, Anaheim’s ninth overall selection in the 2019 Draft, headlines a roster stacked with 10 of the organization’s prospects. Zegras made waves at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championships, helping Team USA capture a gold medal for the fifth time in team history. The Bedford, NY native earned MVP honors with a tournament-leading 18 points and 11 assists. He tied the all-time Team USA World Junior Championship record for both points and assists (7-20=27). Both marks were held by Jordan Schroeder, who did so over three tournaments and 19 games (Zegras completed his second tournament and 12th career game).
Joining Zegras are three other first round selections from the 2019 and 2020 NHL Drafts. The trio includes Jamie Drysdale, Anaheim’s sixth overall selection in this year’s draft. The defenseman helped Team Canada grab a silver medal at the World Junior Championships.
Several veterans fill out San Diego’s roster, including the return of captain Sam Carrick. The team’s leader in almost every offensive category in the 2019-20 season, Carrick is ready to see another team’s sweater and play against the rival Reign.
“It is exciting,” he said following yesterday’s practice. “It’s been a long time coming. Obviously, we wish we had our fans with us. It’ll be nice to play a game against another opponent and have some normality in our lives again.”
Ontario enters the preseason boasting a roster filled with several top prospects of the Los Angeles Kings organization. Headlining their group is Rasmus Kupari, the team’s first-round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft. He leads a group of 12 Los Angeles prospects which includes Akil Thomas (2nd round, 2018 NHL Draft) and Samuel Fagemo (2nd round, 2019 NHL Draft).
The Reign also return familiar veterans, including captain Brett Sutter and enforcers Boko Imama and Jacob Doty.
Today’s preseason game is closed to the public.
The two teams will play the second and final preseason game of this series tomorrow at Toyota Sports Complex in El Segundo, CA.