Roadrunners Ruin The Holiday Fun

Cotton Sends The Teddy Bears Flying, Gulls Lose 9-4 To Roadrunners

Dec 17, 2022

By Brett Pickler/

The San Diego Gulls winless streak extends to 11 games with a 9-4 loss to the Tucson Roadrunners at Pechanga Arena San Diego on Winter Wonderland Night, featuring Teddy Bear Toss.

From the start of the game, the Roadrunners took control. They registered three goals in the opening four minutes of the first period. Center Laurent Dauphin started the scoring at the 3:14 mark, picking up a loose puck behind the net and quickly sliding the puck short side on a wrap around. Ten seconds later, left wing Michael Carcone flew down the middle of the ice and scored on a partial breakaway. Center Adam Cracknell intercepted a pass in the slot and scored in one fluid motion at 3:59. Goaltender Garrett Metcalf relieved Daniel Mannella following the play.

San Diego called a timeout to break up the Tucson attack. This break reset the team, and they drew a penalty on the following shift. The Gulls used this power play to set up in the offensive zone and begin their offensive attack. Left wing David Cotton waited around the crease looking for a rebound. He got his chance when center Benoit-Olivier Groulx ripped a one-timer. Cotton converted the rebound to send the teddy bears flying. Center Justin Kirkland registered an assist on the goal, giving him a three-game point streak.

However, Tucson quickly took back control of the game. Carcone made it 4-1 when he flew out of the defensive zone and converted on a breakaway. The Roadrunners added two more goals before the end of the period. Their fifth goal came on the power play when right wing Nathan Smith fired a loose puck into the back of the net from the slot. Dauphin registered his second goal of the game after right wing Jean-Sebastien Dea won a battle in the corner and found him backdoor.

Trailing 6-1 entering the second period, San Diego needed a big period if they were to comeback. They quickly set up in the Tucson zone and began their attack. Then, 39 seconds into the period, center Danny O’Regan found the back of the net. He redirected a shot from defenseman Nikolas Brouillard and buried his own rebound. Brouillard extended his point streak to four games on this play, giving him 0-7=7 points during this stretch.

The Gulls continued to push the pace in the second period. Jacob Perreault and Brayden Tracey combined for multiple odd-man rushes throughout the middle frame. Their explosive playstyle helped reignite the Gulls offensively. At the 13:20 mark of the period, Kirkland picked up a pass off the wall and attacked the net. As he attacked the net, he was slashed and granted a penalty shot. He drifted wide to the left boards, slowly making his way toward the net. At the bottom of the circle, he pulled the puck in and wristed a shot low glove making the game 6-3.

This gave the Gulls life and they continued to pressure the Roadrunners. They controlled the flow of play, and the puck hardly left the Tucson zone. The Gull added another goal when center Hunter Drew received the puck at the point. He walked in and hammered a shot from the top of the circle, overpowering the goalie making it a 6-4 game. San Diego drew a penalty at the end of the period giving them a power play to start the third period.

"It was a lot of resiliency shown from our group," Kirkland said. "Unfortunately, you spot a team a five goal lead most nights in this league, that's pretty hard to come back from, but I was really proud of the guys. There's no quit in that group. So that was a positive sign that we took from it. We had our chances, put up 46 shots, whatever it was. It easily could have gone either way, but unfortunately that first period was what really hurt."

San Diego went right to work in the third period. With the help of the power play, they set up their attack in the offensive zone. They created multiple backdoor chances but could not hit the net. Following the man advantage, Tucson made their way down the ice and converted on an odd man rush to extend their lead to three goals. The Roadrunners added two more goals for a final score of 9-4. Carcone picked up an assist on the eighth goal giving him 2-2=4 points on the night.

"The guys are frustrated, but the one thing we saw tonight, there was no quit," Kirkland said. "There hasn't been quit in this group."

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