Gulls Land In Stockton for Pivotal Divisional MatchupFeb 17, 2020
The Gulls look to close a three-game road trip with a win today against the Stockton Heat at Stockton Arena (1 p.m. PT, TV: AHLTV, Radio: San Diego Gulls Audio Network). San Diego will aim to continue their winning ways as they enter the matchup with points in eight of their last nine games (6-1-2-0), as well as 13 of their last 15 (11-2-2-0).
The Gulls began their three-game road trip with a back-to-back set in Iowa. After an early whistle that negated a tying goal for San Diego, the Gulls fell 3-0 in the first game. In the second matchup, San Diego was determined to make up for the setback, snapping Iowa’s eight-game win streak and 10-game home win streak with a 5-2 win. Chris Wideman tied a season high with three assists (also Nov. 13 vs. San Jose; 0-3=3), marking his fourth multi-point game and third multi-assist effort. Simon Benoit tallied his fourth goal and added an assist to mark his second career multi-point game (1-1=2).
“It was an important game,” said Gulls defenseman Simon Benoit following the 5-2 win. "We’re still fighting for a playoff spot so every game is important, and these two points are getting us on the right track.”
The Gulls enjoyed some big wins in front of America’s finest fans in San Diego, but the Gulls have had success away from home as well. San Diego recorded points in six of its last seven road games (5-1-1-0) and own a 10-5-1-0 record the last 16 road games. The Gulls will try to continue that trend as 9 of their next 11 games will be played on the road, including an upcoming club record seven-game road trip from Feb. 26 - Mar. 11, spanning 15 days and 2,534 miles.
With the weekend set against Iowa in the rear view mirror, the Gulls will now only face Pacific Division opponents for the rest of the 2019-20 regular season. The first of the remaining Pacific Division schedule begins as San Diego and Stockton play the seventh a 12-game season series. Tonight’s contest marks the fifth meeting at Stockton Arena.
San Diego picked up their first two wins against Stockton this season in their last two contests on Dec. 21 (4-3 shootout win) and Jan. 15 (4-1 regulation win). The Gulls own an all-time mark of 17-21-3-3 vs. the Heat, including a 7-1-1-2 record at Stockton. Jack Kopacka (3-2=5) and Kiefer Sherwood (3-2=5) pace San Diego in scoring (3-2=5) and goals vs. Stockton this season. In his last meeting against the Heat on Jan. 15, Sherwood picked up his first career multi-goal game (2-0=2), scoring shorthanded and adding an empty-net goal.
Stockton remains one of the top teams, not only in the Pacific Division, but in all of the AHL. With a 27-13-3-3 record, their .652 point percentage ranks sixth in the league and second within the division. The Heat have been dominant at putting the puck in the opposition’s net, ranking second in the league in goals per game, scoring 171 over 46 games (3.72). In addition, their power-play unit ranks second in the AHL (45-172, 26.2%) and leads the league when at home (22-82, 26.8).
Centers Alan Quine and Glenn Gawdin lead the Heat in scoring and rank among the top scorers in the league. Quine leads the Heat in scoring (13-31=44) and assists through 35 games this season. The Belleville, Ontario native is currently riding a nine-game point streak (5-8=13) and ranks tied for ninth in the AHL in points. Gawdin ranks just behind him (15-27=42) and has earned 3-3=6 points over six games against the Gulls this season.
Netminders Jon Gillies and Artyom Zagidulin shared the net in a near 50-50 split this season. Gillies commanded the net, starting in four of six games in February. Gillies owns a 12-9-3 record with one shutout, a 2.64 goals-against average and .907 save percentage (SV%). The Russian-born Zagidulin posted two shutouts in January with his 15 wins leading the club through his first 25 appearances (15-4-3).