Gates Plays Hero as Gulls Down Griffins
Grand Rapids native scores game-winning goalJan 25, 2020
Brent Gates Jr. scored his first game-winning goal late in the third period in his hometown as the Gulls defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-1 Saturday night at Van Andel Arena. Anthony Stolarz stopped 38-of-39 shots to win his 14th game of the season and improve to 4-0-1 his last five starts.
Isac Lundestrom recorded two assists for his second multi-assist effort of the season, Sam Carrick netted his team-leading 18th goal and defenseman Ryan Johnston scored his first goal as a Gull to enter the AHL’s All-Star break with points in seven of the last eight games (6-1-1-0).
Stolarz had a dominant first period, stopping all 14 of the Griffins shots as the teams were scoreless after 20 minutes of play.
The Gulls opened the scoring on their seventh shot of the game when Johnston potted his first goal with San Diego at 6:10 of the second period. Lundestrom sent a no-look pass to an uncovered Johnston, waiting backdoor for the pass and he calmly slid the puck under Griffins goaltender Calvin Pickard. Corey Tropp also earned an assist, his 250th career AHL point.
Grand Rapids nearly tied the game up midway through the second stanza after stealing the puck in the Gulls zone. Turgeon received the puck in the slot and attempted to go around Stolarz for a goal but lost the puck. Givani Smith found the rebound and with Stolarz out of position from the previous attempt, Scott Moldenhauer dove in front of the net to block his sure chance at a goal.
The Griffins eventually tied the game on the power play with 3:51 remaining in the middle period when Matt Puempel took a pass from Taro Hirose across the slot and fired a wrist shot through Stolarz.
The Gulls pulled ahead at the 13:53 mark of the third period when Grand Rapids native Gates Jr. scored his fourth goal of the season and third his last five games. Max Comtois and Lundestrom entered the offensive zone with a give-and-go before Comtois fired a pass to an awaiting Gates Jr. at the top of the crease as he redirected the puck past Pickard into the net.
In a last-ditch effort to tie the game, Grand Rapids pulled Pickard from the net for an extra attacker but Carrick took advantage of the opportunity and found the back of the empty net with 31 seconds left in regulation. His team-leading 18th. Carrick has scored 10 goals his last 12 games (10-5=15, +13) and 17 goals his last 21 games (16-7=23, +22).
San Diego will return to action following the AHL All-Star Break on Friday, Jan. 31 vs. the San Jose Barracuda at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m.).