Gulls Seek Fourth Straight WinJan 17, 2020
The Gulls begin a back-to-back set tonight when they host the league leading Tucson Roadrunners at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m. PT, TV: AHLTV, Radio: San Diego Gulls Audio Network). San Diego enters tonight riding a three-game win streak, outscoring opposing teams 14-5 over that span. The Gulls also have earned standings points in four of the last five overall (3-1-0-1).
The Gulls concluded the first half of their 2019-20 schedule with a 4-1 win Wednesday in Stockton over the Heat . Kiefer Sherwood picked up his first career multi-goal game (2-0=2), scoring one shorthanded goal and the other on an empty net to seal the game. In addition to scoring a goal on the penalty kill, the Gulls stopped all four of the Heat’s chances on the man advantage.
“It feels good,” said right wing Kiefer Sherwood following his two-goal performance against the Heat. “It was a big test for us, and we played the right way and stuck to it. Just have to trust the process here so hopefully we can keep it rolling here this weekend.”
The Gulls will look to continue the trend of a strong second half of the regular season (Games 35-68) dating to 2015-16. San Diego is 81-43-10-2 all-time in the second half, leading the Western Conference and ranking third in AHL win percentage dating to the 2015- 16 season (.640) during the four-year span. The Gulls have earned points in 93 of the 136 games to date (68%).
Shorthanded success has been an exciting narrative for San Diego this season, especially as of late. The club has killed 25 of the last 26 penalties over a span of the last five games (96.2%) and now rank fifth among AHL clubs in PK% (85.0). With shorthanded goals in back-to-back games, the Gulls have 12 on the season, co-leading the AHL with Providence.
“Our penalty kill has been so good this year, such a strong part of our game,” said head coach Kevin Dineen. “We have to get a little more discipline so we’re not on it as much. When that’s going, I think your whole game follows and it leads into defense. I think that follows. If we have one strong suit this year, it’s certainly been our penalty kill.”
The roster was replenished yesterday, with the Anaheim Duck reassigning left wing Max Comtois and center Isac Lundestrom to San Diego. Comtois has appeared in eight games with the Gulls this season, earning six assists (0-6=6), while Lundestrom has recorded 2-7=9 points in 21 AHL games.
The two will join Sam Carrick, Brendan Guhle, Josh Mahura and Troy Terry as players on tonight’s roster to dress for the Ducks this season. Last season, the Gulls had more players dress for a game with their NHL affiliate than any other AHL club.
Since being assigned to the Gulls following a fractured leg, right wing Terry has put up points/assists in all three games (1-4=5)
Goaltender Anthony Stolarz picked up his 12th win of the season Wednesday after stopping 36-of-37 shots to improve to 5-2-0 with a 2.30 goals-against average (GAA) and .930 save percentage (SV%) his last seven road starts.
The Gulls and Roadrunners meet for the third contest of an eight-game season series tonight and one of two matchups over the next five days (also Tuesday, Jan. 21 in San Diego). San Diego opened the season series with a 6-2 win Nov. 30 but Tucson evened the season series Dec. 31 at Tucson Arena (7-4). San Diego has earned points in four of the last five games against the Roadrunners dating to last season (3-1-1-0). The Gulls are 18-13-2-1 vs. the Roadrunners all-time, including 8-6-1-1 at home.
Tucson has sat atop the Pacific Division for most of the season while also having a back-and-forth battle for the league’s No. 1 spot with Milwaukee for the better part of December and January. To date, the Roadrunners have gone undefeated against multiple Western Conference clubs this season, including Bakersfield (1-0), Iowa (4-0), Ontario (5-0), Stockton (4-0) and Texas (2-0).
Playing in his first season with Tucson, center Andy Miele has been a consistent point scorer sitting fourth in scoring among the Roadrunners, recording 11-20=31 points in 35 appearances and ranking second in assists. The Detroit, Mich. native snapped a five-game scoreless streak with a three-point effort vs. Colorado Jan. 11 (2-1=3).
Left wing Michael Bunting was held scoreless Jan. 11 for the first time in 10 games, but his nine-game point streak (2-13=15) matching a Roadrunners franchise record set previously by Mike Sislo in January 2018 (3-7=10). Bunting currently co-leads the AHL with 31 assists, while he (5-31=36) and teammate Lane Pederson (16-18=34) are among the leaders in league scoring, ranking eighth and tied for 12th in points respectively.
It has been somewhat of a goaltending carousel for Tucson as seven different netminders have played in a game for the Roadrunners this season. After Ivan Prosvetov was recalled by the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 11, Tucson was left with Brandon Halverson and Tyler Parks in net. The two have a combined four games played this season, allowing nine goals on 74 totals shots (.878 SV%).