Offense Shines In Wild Win

Gulls Tie Franchise Record In Wild Win Against Roadrunners

Apr 9, 2021

The San Diego Gulls offense exploded in record-setting fashion as they raced past the Tucson Roadrunners 8-6 tonight at Tucson Convention Center Arena. The Gulls matched their club record for goals scored in a road game (8, last: Feb. 16, 2019 @ SJ) and continue to lead the American Hockey League in goals (96). San Diego tallied six or more goals in four of their last five games and average six goals per game over that span.

“I thought our rush game was good, our D were involved in the offense,” said Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen. “We put pucks towards the net and added bodies there. That’s an effective way for us to play, when we do that, it tends to lead to positive things.”

The seven combined goals in first period started with a Tucson penalty that gave San Diego its first look on the power play. After a faceoff win, Josh Mahura fed Vinni Lettieri for a one-timer that Andrew Agozzino deflected in front of the net for the game’s opening goal just 2:23 in.

The man-advantage tally moved Agozzino into a tie for second in the AHL with five power-play markers.

Tucson answered the call with a goal of their own under 90 seconds later as Michael Carcone capitalized on a rebound for the tying goal.

Brendan Guhle took back the lead for San Diego when Jacob Perreault gave him a centering pass at the blue line. With a defender in front of him, Guhle wound up for a wrist shot and fired it past Roadrunner netminder Connor LaCouvee at the 8:29 mark of the opening period.

Fresh out of the penalty box, Matt Lorito took a loose rebound and buried it in the back of the Tucson net at 11:02 of first frame. Benoit-Olivier Groulx started the play from the Gulls zone, bringing the puck all the way down the ice on an odd-man rush before throwing the initial shot on net. 

LaCouvee was pulled for Chris Nell following the goal.

Benoit-Olivier Groulx collected a pair of assists for his fourth multi-point game (0-2=2) of the season and moved into a tie for sixth in AHL rookie scoring with 16 points.

Carcone potted his second of the night 1:09 after Lorito’s marker with a one-timer on the power play, cutting the San Diego's lead to 3-2.

The Gulls struck again with two scores to conclude San Diego’s five-goal first-period effort. Trevor Zegras capitalized for the fourth goal of the period after an odd bounce left several Tucson players thinking they tied the game. Instead, Poturalski brought the puck down the ice, sliding a pass from his knees to Zegras in the slot. The rookie center tipped it past Nell in front to extend San Diego’s lead.

Guhle picked up his second goal of the night 1:26 later on another odd-man rush ending with tip in front of the net. His second tally marked a new career high in goals in a single game for Guhle. Nikolas Brouillard picked up the lone assist on the play.

“When you’re defense, we talk about it, you want them to defend first,” added Dineen on Guhle’s performance. “From there, with the way Brendan can skate, he is going to be involved in the rush. He’s got a good shot and he’s broken a lot of sticks lately and tonight, he seemed to be real comfortable involving himself in the play and it paid off for us.”

The Gulls continued their offensive attack in the second period.

Tucson started the scoring, with defenseman Kyle Capobianco blasting a power-play goal from the point just 50 seconds into the middle frame.

San Diego would respond once again, with Agozzino recording his second goal of the game off a 3-on-2 rush 2:18 into the period.

Perreault found the veteran center with a cross ice pass, and LaCouvee made the initial save. The Tucson netminder couldn't corral the rebound, and Agozzino roofed the shot into the top of the net for his ninth goal of the season.

Agozzino recorded his first multi-goal game (2-1=3) as a member of the Gulls and picked up his ninth point over his last seven games (4-5=9). 

The same line combined for another goal at 11:14 of the period. Lettieri picked up his eighth goal of the season, banking a pass off the pad of LaCouvee as he looked to set up Agozzino for a chance at the hat trick.

Perreault, who earned his third helper on the goal, tied the Gulls rookie record for most assists in a game, set on three previous occasions (last: Sam Steel, Mar. 13, 2019 @ BAK (1-3=4). The rookie forward has multi-point games in three of his last four games (2-5=7).

San Diego led 7-3 after 40 minutes of action

Brouillard and Tucson’s Jan Jenik threw the gloves down and engaged in a heated fight early in the final frame, leading to more momentum for the visitors.

Lorito took that energy and became the third Gull to pick up his second score of the night 4:15 into the third period. The goal came on a big rebound from an initial shot by Guhle as the defenseman picked up his third point of the night (2-1=3), matching a career high.

Tucson refused to go quietly, scoring three goals in just over 12 minutes to bring the game within one.

Carcone completed a career night with his third and fourth goals of the night, while Cameron Hebig picked up his first of the season.

“I think tonight we got a little too ahead of ourselves,” said Guhle on letting Tucson back into the game. “We got to keep the same game. We got to keep getting pucks in deep at the red line. Stay out of the box. We gave them every opportunity to come back, so that’s on us. We can’t get into that habit of we get up big on teams and everyone’s going to try more plays than they normally do or not keeping it simple. If we keep playing our game and playing it hard and getting pucks in deep, then we should be to hold those leads a lot stronger.”

Faced with a five-minute major penalty for the remainder of regulation - and down 6-on-3 after another late minor - Dostal shut the door to snuff out the Tucson's comeback bid. He stopped 46-of-52 shots to earn his first career win against the Roadrunners.

The two teams will finish the back-to-back series tomorrow at 7 p.m. PT.

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