Gulls Can’t Dim Stars, Fall Just Short In 6-5 OT LossNov 29, 2023
By Morgan Korovec/SanDiegoGulls.com
The San Diego Gulls lit up the arena tonight in a tightly contested match with the Texas Stars, but ultimately dropped the game 6-5 in overtime on Wednesday night.
"For me, I think the story of the game is the comeback," head coach Matt McIlvane said. "For our guys to be down three, not the start that you want, for sure, especially against a great team like Texas, and then being able to be able to find a way to keep fighting. Being able to learn a lesson that we can score in bunches, put in five on the board today. That's a big deal. We're happy to be able to fly back. Wish that we had that extra point."
Chase De Leo scored his first goal of the season and earned two assists (1-2=3). He now has 55-87=142 points as a Gull, passing Kalle Kossila (51-90=141) for the third-most points in Gulls American Hockey League history. He has 1-3=4 points across his first two games this season.
"I think anytime you get recognition is huge and a lot of work," De Leo said. "A lot of time goes into this. You know, my family sacrificed everything. It’s not easy coming from California and making it to this level, so I owe everything to them and obviously, my main goal is to get back to winning playoff hockey and doing whatever I can to get the team back there."
Texas put it in the net from afar at 8:09 in the first, with the first goal of the night scored by Derrick Pouliot. Minutes later, Logan Stankoven scored to stretch the Texas lead to two.
With just over three minutes left in the first, Kyle McDonald of the Stars secured their third goal of the opening frame.
Ben King jumped in on the action and got the Gulls on the board in the second with a smooth shot that found the back of the net at 6:12, earning his fifth goal and tenth point of this season.
The Gulls cut the lead down with a goal by Josh Lopina on the power play at 14:48, his fifth goal of the season. Lopina also picked up an assist on the night, marking his first AHL multi-point game.
Less than a minute later, Curtis McKenzie of the Stars wasted no time in stretching the lead to 4-2 with his first goal of this season.
Moments after, San Diego snapped back as King netted his second goal of the game at 17:34, giving him his first professional multi-goal game.
Minutes later, the Stars snatched back the lead with another goal by Pouliot at 12:06.
Nikita Nesterenko set the ice on fire tonight, finding the equalizer in the game at 14:03 in the third, giving him his third goal. Nesterenko also earned two primary assists on the night (0-2=2), marking his first multi-assist game of his AHL career.
The tightly contested 5-5 battle was sent into sudden death and while the Gulls poured their hearts out on the ice, it wasn’t quite enough to dim the Stars, who broke free with a 6-5 victory at 1:36 in overtime.
Drew Helleson earned two assists, his first multi-assist effort of the season. Jacob Perreault and Trevor Carrick also tallied assists on the night.
"I thought we had a lot of guys who played well today," McIlvane said. "Credit to all those guys you just mentioned on their individual stuff, but I thought our team game was pretty strong. When you play a team like Texas, defending the rush becomes a big deal. They scored goals on the rush that don't need to happen, really from our side, but I think that there's been a lot of guys putting in a lot of work and it's nice to see some progress."
The Gulls now embark on a five-game road trip to ring in the new month of December. Their travel will begin with back-to-back matchups against the Chicago Wolves at Allstate Arena on Saturday, Dec. 2 (5 p.m. PST) and Sunday, Dec. 3 (1 p.m.PST), wrapping up their four-game series together this season.