Gulls Falter At The Finish Line

Gulls Earn Point In Back-And-Forth Overtime Loss

Mar 29, 2023

By AJ Manderichio/

The San Diego Gulls fell 6-5 to the Tucson Roadrunners tonight in overtime at Pechanga Arena San Diego.

"I mean, I thought it was entertaining for the fans, I would think," Gulls head coach Roy Sommer said. "A lot of goes back and forth. Entertaining for the fans, not so entertaining for the coaches standing behind both benches. But you know, I mean, hey, we battled back. We got down a goal and no one threw the towel in. And, you know, we had our opportunities in overtime. We had two breakaways we didn't convert on and that was the game. I thought our goaltending was outstanding. He made some, you know, kept us in there and made some big stops."

Steven Kampfer scored the game-winning overtime goal in the third period, pulling the Roadrunners into a tie with the Bakersfield Condors for sixth place in the Pacific Division. Michael Carcone, Adam Cracknell and Jan Jenik also recorded 1-2=3 points for Tucson.

Glenn Gawdin led the San Diego offense, recording 1-2=3 points in the loss. Chase Priskie and Jacob Perreault recorded multi-point games for the Gulls, while Dylan Sikura, Pavol Regenda and Benoit-Olivier Groulx found the back of the net for San Diego, who saw its losing streak reach six games.

"Yeah, I think we kind of got away from our style a little bit," Priskie said. "We got into that run and gun, and that's just not how we play. So, it's nice to come out with one point but at the end of the day, we just need a little more discipline from our team for 60 minutes and you probably come out with a better outcome."

The two teams came out swinging early in the first, trading goals and big plays in an entertaining start.

Regenda found the back of the net 14 seconds into the first, scoring on San Diego’s first shot of the game.

The forward started the play on the forecheck, stepping in front of Josh Doan to separate the rookie from the puck. He transferred the puck from his stick to his skate and slapped a low shot on net, beating Tucson netminder Tyson Parks for his 13th goal of the season.

The tally marks the second-fastest goal from the start of the game in the Gulls’ American Hockey League history, trailing only Justin Kloos. The former Gull scored eight seconds into the game on Dec. 27, 2019 at Ontario.

Alexander held the lead seconds later, stoning Carcone on a breakaway bid. The AHL’s leading scorer found open space behind the defense, staring down Alexander in a 1-on-1 chance. He tried to beat San Diego’s netminder to the glove side, but Alexander stood tall, snatching the wrist shot to deny the chance.

Feeding off the momentum, Groulx’s power-play tally at 3:17 of the period doubled the lead.

Perreault held the puck along the side boards, finding Brent Gates Jr. with a cross-ice feed. The center briefly held the puck before finding a cutting Groulx, who deflected the pass by Parks and into the back of the net.

Tucson absorbed the punches and answered back, with Cracknell and Carcone (PPG) tying the game with two goals in 34 seconds.

Gawdin landed the next blow, putting the Gulls back on top with under 10 minutes left in the first.

The play began with another forced turnover in the offensive zone, as Priskie stripped the Roadrunners as they looked to exit their own end. He found Gawdin down low, who held the puck long enough to catch Tucson defenseman Devante Stephens sliding on the ice. Gawdin used the prone blueliner, snapping the puck off his shins and past Parks for his 14th goal of the season.

Alexander opened the second period with a stellar save, turning aside an open Ryan McGregor within the first minute of the second stanza.

A turnover in the defensive zone gave Tucson a high-danger scoring chance, with Carcone feeding Gregor as he came down the slot. Alexander slid across the crease with the right pad, turning aside the in-tight shot.

Priskie restored San Diego’s two-goal lead with a power-play tally at 4:52 of the middle frame.

The Gulls power play showed off its skill, with the team connecting on four quick passes before finding the back of the net. Sikura started the puck movement low in the zone, finding Gawdin at the faceoff dot. He touched the puck to Chase De Leo, who stationed himself below the goal line. San Diego’s captain made a one-touch pass of his own, sending the puck across the crease to a wide-open Priskie. The defenseman did the rest, sliding the puck past the pad of Parks for his ninth goal of the season.

The Gulls went 2-for-4 on the man advantage tonight, registering six power-play goals over their last six games and operating at a 22.2% success rate (6-for-27) over the span.

"Oh, they've been working on it," Sommer said of the team's power play. "You know, Sparresy (Gulls assistant coach Kris Sparre), he's done a great job as far as you know, keeping it together, keeping everything positive and, you know, the guys are attentive in the meetings and, you know, it's a great group of guys out there. I mean, I think the biggest thing was when we got (Dylan) Sikura, it kind of opened up everything. You know, he's a guy, a puck possession guy that sees the ice real well, makes that second play which you need on a PP."

Stephens atoned for his mistake later in the frame, beating Alexander over the shoulder with 5:20 left in the period, cutting San Diego’s lead to one.

Tucson tied the game with 2:46 left in the period on Jan Jenik’s power-play goal.

Alexander once again answered the bell in the third period, stopping a 2-on-0 chance early in the final frame to keep the game tied at four.

With the Gulls pushing for the game-winning goal, Tucson forced a quick turnover and sent the puck ahead to Jan Jenik, who moved in with Carcone on his wing. The duo tried to beat Alexander with a cross-ice pass, but the San Diego netminder ranged across his crease, gloving Carcone’s bid for the highlight-reel save.

"I mean, we see it every day in practice, so it's no surprise for us, but very confident with him in net knowing that he's kind of calming for our group," Priskie said of Alexander, who finished with 40 saves. "So, he just needs to continue to play the same way he is."

Tucson pulled ahead at 7:57 of the third on Theisen’s power-play tally, their third man-advantage score of the game.

Sikura responded for the Gulls, pulling them even at five with 9:51 remaining in regulation.

The forward originally started the play, sending a centering pass off a defenseman in front. Nikolas Brouillard collected the bouncing puck at the point and found Sikura in the faceoff dot. This time, he decided to shoot the puck, beating Parks for his 17th goal of the season.

The teams ended regulation tied, forcing a fourth consecutive overtime contest between the two division rivals. Kampfer secured the extra point for Tucson, beating Alexander at 3:13 of the extra session.

San Diego returns to the ice for a weekend series in Iowa, starting with a 4 p.m. puck drop on Saturday, Apr. 1.

Back to All