Gulls Get Tricked In Halloween Eve Loss To Tucson RoadrunnersOct 30, 2021
By Paige Burnell/SanDiegoGulls.com
The San Diego Gulls certainly knocked on the Tucson Roadrunners’ door on Saturday for treats, but ended up getting tricked in a 6-4 loss that was as back and forth as it was hard fought.
“I think we just kind of got away from what we were doing last night a little bit,” Brendan Guhle said. “We kind of found it there in the second and most of the third so if we just stick with that and keep working like we were last night, then we’re going to be in good shape.”
Hudson Fasching led Tucson with a five-point (3-2=5) performance, recording Tucson's second hat trick of the season. Jan Jenik (1-1=2) and Ben McCartney (1-1=2) chipped in multi-point games while Cameron Hebig scored in the win.
Goaltender Josef Korenar stopped 26 shots to record his first win as a Roadrunner.
Danny O’Regan (1-1=2) and Jacob Perreault (0-2=2) each collected multi-point efforts in the loss. Mason McTavish, Hunter Drew and Brendan Guhle also scored for San Diego, who scored nine goals over the two-game series.
Olle Eriksson Ek lost his third straight game, making 21 saves in the loss.
An early penalty helped turn a quiet start into a Roadrunners offensive outburst.
“That was a tough one to start the game,” Assistant Coach Daniel Jacob said. “It’s a fine line between competing and getting in the box. The PK there didn’t get the job done and it’s disappointing, but you still want them to compete, to be emotional. Like I said, it’s a fine line. You need to walk that line fairly well.”
Fasching beat Eriksson Ek at 8:25 of the first period, tipping home a point shot for a power-play tally. Less than four minutes later, he repeated the performance, streaking down the wing and sending a shot over the shoulder of San Diego's goaltender for his second tally of the game.
Still without a shot, the Gulls unsuccessfully tried to weather the storm as Tyson Empey put the puck into the slot and Cameron Hebig sniped another goal past Eriksson Ek to give the Roadrunners a 3-0 lead with 5:51 left in the period.
“We did battle, but we need a start,” Jacob said. “You cannot trail three nothing early in the game and we play catching up hockey for most of the game. We had some good moments, but costly mistakes. But again, you know that the other team’s gonna come out hard. You need to match that intensity. You need to make sure you manage the puck well. And that’s something that’s definitely missed starting the game. So there is positives, but we definitely need to work on our starts.”
However, the first period ended with a glimmer of hope for the Gulls as Brendan Guhle wedged the puck through traffic in front of the net for his first goal and point of the season. Morgan Adams-Moisan got his first assist of the season while Brayden Tracey earned his second assist in two games for the first point streak of his career.
“I think we were just hesitating a little bit and not being confident with getting the puck in deep and just maybe thinking a little too much,” Guhle said. “As the game went on and we kind of got down a little bit, we realized that we had to go back to what worked and we did it. That showed good maturity from us.”
This flicker of offense turned into an inferno for the Gulls in the second period, as they converted on the power play for the fifth game in a row, scoring on both ends of a 5-on-3 advantage.
McTavish struck first, scoring his first American Hockey League goal at 3:16 of the period. Perreault froze the penalty killers with a fake shot before sending a pass to O’Regan. The Gulls center slid the puck to McTavish, who put the puck in the top corner past Korenar.
O'Regan and Perreault both extended their point streaks to two games.
At 18 years and nine months, McTavish is now the youngest Gull to score a goal.
Still a man up, the Gulls took full advantage and O’Regan patiently waited to put a well-placed shot in the back of the net, getting his first goal as a Gull and evening the score at three just 33 seconds later.
Perreault notched an assist for his second point of the night and his fourth point in two games (1-3=4). Brogan Rafferty also provided a helper and now has four points in his last five games (1-3=4), all of which have come on the power play.
The Gulls power play now ranks first in the AHL at a 38.9% success rate (7/18).
“You know we had some good moments in the O-zone, “ Jacob said. “We wanted to bring pucks at the net. We wanted to have traffic. We wanted to make sure we caused havoc in front of the net. The bounces didn’t come our way, but it’s something we’re definitely working on.”
The game would not remain tied for long, as the Roadrunners responded with a goal from McCartney 6:47 left in the middle frame.
Fasching picked up an assist, but he wasn’t done yet as he beat Eriksson Ek again for his third goal and fifth point of the night with 1:32 left in the second period. Jenik and Hudson Elynuik both earned assists on the play.
“We had a good game plan,” Jacob said. “We just need to apply it. We don’t take anything for granted. It’s a tough league to play in. Two-in-two, you know they’re gonna come out hard fighting. You need to match that intensity like I said before and go toe-to-toe.”
Determined not to leave any goals unanswered, Drew scored with a bullet of shot to make the score 5-4, putting the Gulls within one goal of tying up the game to cap off the second period.
Jack Badini earned the sole assist of the goal and is now on a two-game point streak for the first time in his AHL career.
Jenik gave the Roadrunners an insurance goal half way through the final period. Despite a chance on the power play and pulling Eriksson Ek for an extra attacker for over two minutes, the Gulls were unable to earn their second win against Tucson.
The Gulls and Roadrunners are now 1-1-0-0 this season and see each other another six times before the season’s end.
It’s good, you know. We’ve been growing a lot, “ Jacob said. “That’s the message we said to the boys. Look in a week back, we’re better. It’s adversity. It’s good for us and we need to keep growing as a team. And that’s what we’re going to be doing this week at practice.”
The Gulls will be back in action at the Pechanga Arena next Friday, Nov. 5 to face the Bakersfield Condors on Heroes Night (7 p.m. PT; TV: AHL TV; RADIO: Gulls Audio Network).