Gulls Come-From-Behind To Cage RoadrunnersMar 21, 2021
The San Diego Gulls overcame a two-goal deficit to earn a 4-2 comeback win over the Tucson Roadrunners tonight at Tucson Convention Center Arena. With the win, San Diego snapped a five-game losing streak.
Sam Carrick scored twice while Josh Mahura (1-1=2), Andrew Poturalski (0-2=2), and Benoit-Olivier Groulx (1-1=2) also recorded multi-point performances to lead San Diego offensively. Olle Eriksson Ek stopped 27-of-29 shots to earn his second career AHL win.
"We weren’t overly thrilled with our overall game yesterday, especially the way we came out going in after the first," defenseman Josh Mahura said. "It’s tough to come back from that and we definitely wanted a better start tonight. I think we just wouldn’t take no for an answer. We battled back and that was obviously a good comeback in the third for us so it’s a nice win."
After a scoreless first period, Michael Bunting broke the deadlock for Tucson with a pair of power-play goals early in the middle frame.
The first tally came as Barrett Hayton fired a shot from above the top of the left face-off circle and the puck deflected right to Bunting in front of the net for the game’s opening goal at the 3:17 mark of the second period.
Just over six minutes later, the Roadrunners converted on the power-play again. With Hunter Drew serving a goaltender interference penalty, the Gulls nearly converted an odd-man rush to tie the score. The bid was unsuccessful though, giving Bunting and former Gull Kevin Roy a 2-on-1 the other way. Roy sent up Bunting for the backdoor goal, doubling Tucson’s lead with 10:06 left in the second period.
Just before the end of the middle frame, the Carrick brothers teamed up to bring the Gulls back within a goal. After several quality scoring chances were turned aside by Prosvetov, Trevor Carrick threw a long shot on net and Sam worked his way to the rebound, sliding a forehand shot by the Tucson netminder with 1:11 to play in the second.
Poturalski collected his 200th career point with an assist on the goal. Poturalski ranks second in the AHL in assists (14) and fourth in scoring (4-14=18).
Early in the third period, San Diego’s captain followed the same formula to even the score. As the Gulls won an offensive zone face-off, Poturalski set up Simon Benoit for a point shot. Prosvetov denied Benoit’s initial bid, but Carrick again got to the rebound, pushing it over the line for the game-tying goal just 3:22 into the final period.
Tucson nearly reclaimed the lead moments later, but Eriksson Ek made a lunging save on Hayton and Gulls defenseman Jeremy Roy dove in just in time to clear the puck off the goal line.
The Gulls took their first lead of the night by again capitalizing off an offensive zone faceoff. Groulx won the draw cleanly back to Mahura, who wasted no time hammering a slap shot past Prosvetov, putting the Gulls ahead 3-2 with 12:26 remaining in the third period.
"We won the draw and it kind of just went right to me," Mahura explained. "There wasn’t much thought process on what to do from then on. I just kind of blasted it and lucky enough, it went in."
"Obviously he had that rocket for the game-winner," head coach Kevin Dineen said. "When he’s shooting the puck like that he’s a very effective guy. We can play him against other team’s top lines. He can run the power play from up top. He gives us a guy who really can control things out there. When he plays like tonight, no surprise that we end up on the right side of the scoreboard."
Groulx put the finishing touches on San Diego’s win with an insurance goal late in the third period. With San Diego holding possession in the offensive end looking to kill time off the clock, Groulx deflected Brendan Guhle’s shot just under the crossbar, giving the Gulls a two-goal lead with 2:22 to play in regulation.
"We’ve talked about establishing a level of consistency within our game," Dineen said. "That’s shift to shift, period to period, and game to game. I felt like right from the beginning our game had some balance to it. I thought we had a high compete level and we sustained it throughout the game. Good effort by our guys."
San Diego concludes its road trip Wednesday with a visit to the rival Ontario Reign at Toyota Sports Performance Center.