Gulls Search For Win in StocktonFeb 28, 2020
The Gulls will look to bounce back from Wednesday’s setback tonight in Stockton against the Heat as they continue their seven-game road trip at Stockton Arena (7:00 p.m. PT, TV: AHLTV, Radio: San Diego Gulls Audio Network). The contest marks the opening of a weekend set in Northern California tonight against the Heat and tomorrow afternoon versus San Jose
San Diego (26-17-5-3, 59 pts.) opened the road trip with a 4-1 loss in Tucson, only the third regulation loss over the club’s last 20 games. Gulls captain Sam Carrick netted his team-leading 21st goal of the season while Simon Benoit recorded his 14th assist of the season to tie his career high.
“Right now, we’re scrambling for points and trying to solidify a playoff spot here,” said head coach Kevin Dineen following Wednesday’s game. “Every game is important, and you love measuring yourself against top teams. Certainly, Tucson’s one of them and we felt like we had a very winnable two points that we didn’t end up with.”
Despite the setback, San Diego’s penalty killing continues to thrive as they killed both Tucson power plays. Over the last seven games, San Diego has allowed one power-play goal the last 21 penalty kills (94.4%). This season, the Gulls rank seventh in the league on the penalty kill (162-for-191, 84.8%).
Carrick continues to lead San Diego in scoring (21-18=39), goals and plus/minus (+23). His goal two nights ago extended his point streak to four games (2-3=5) and pushed his total to 13-12=25 over his last 23 games. Alex Broadhurst has been making his presence known as of late as he has recorded points in six of his last eight games (3-4=7). Broadhurst enters tonight’s matchup with a three-game point streak in games against Stockton (2-1=3).
Anthony Stolarz and Kevin Boyle have combined their efforts to become one of the stronger goaltending tandems in the AHL. Stolarz owns a 20-12-5 record with a 2.67 goals against average (GAA) and a .922 save percentage (SV%) in 37 games, ranking tied for second among AHL leaders in wins and sixth in GAA. In his fourth year with the Gulls, Boyle has appeared in 16 games this season, posting a 6-6-2 mark with a 2.93 GAA and a .910 SV%.
The Gulls face off against the Heat for the ninth-of-12 meetings this season. All-time, San Diego owns an 18-21-4-3 record against Stockton, with a 7-12-2-2 mark on the road. San Diego carries a 3-4-1-0 record in the season series to date, including a current four-game point streak as they enter tonight’s matchup after dropping the first four matchups in regulation. Most recently, the Gulls posted a 3-2 comeback win Feb. 19 on home ice following a 3-2 overtime loss Feb. 17 in Stockton.
Stockton (29-14-4-3, 65 pts.) now sits fourth in the Western Conference, two points behind Tucson with two games in hand. The Heat are coming off a two-game set at Tucson where they earned three of a possible four points against the Pacific Division’s top team to improve to 5-4-1-0 their last 10 games.
The Heat have led the charts all season and their strong special teams play has helped with that. Stockton ranks second in the league on the power play, converting on 50-of-183 opportunities (27.3%). On the penalty kill, the Heat lead the league, allowing just 26 goals on 214 attempts (87.9%).
Byron Froese has been a big part in creating the club’s +31 goal differential, leading the team with 18 goals. The Winkler, Manitoba native ranks third among Stockton skaters in scoring1(8-20=38), having collected points in nine of his last 10 games (6-9=15). Luke Philp leads Stockton rookies in scoring, tallying 17-12=29 points to rank second among Heat skaters in goals.
Jon Gillies and Artyom Zagidulin have split time evenly in the crease, each starting appearing in 27 games this season. In his fifth season with the Heat, Gillies holds a 13-9-4 record with a 2.59 GAA and .910 SV%. In five games head-to-head with the Gulls, Gillies is 3-1-1 with a 1.98 GAA and .919 SV%. Zagidulin (16-5-3) has won the majority of his starts, but his numbers don’t jump off the page as the rookie has posted a 3.07 GAA and .898 SV%. He has posted a 2-1-0 record in three meetings against San Diego.