Streaking Gulls, Wild Face Off in IowaFeb 14, 2020
When the Gulls and Iowa Wild meet tonight, something will have to give at Wells Fargo Arena as the team’s open a weekend back-to-back matchup (5 p.m. PT, TV: AHLTV, Radio: San Diego Gulls Audio Network). San Diego (22-16-4-2, 50 pts.) is riding a season-high seven-game point streak (5-0-2-0) and three straight wins while Iowa has a club record seven straight wins and points in 10 straight games (9-0-1-0), one shy of a club best.
The Wild (31-14-3-3, 68 pts.) will conclude a franchise-long nine-game homestand this weekend where they currently have a franchise-best nine straight wins already. Conversely, tonight begins a three-game road trip for the Gulls and a stretch of 11 road contest over the next 13 games overall for San Diego.
This will mark the first meeting between the clubs at Wells Fargo Arena this season as they close out the season series over the weekend. The Gulls are 6-1-1-0 all-time against the Wild, earning points in seven of their eight previous matchups.
This season, the teams split the first two contests in San Diego with a 4-3 Gulls overtime win Jan. 10 that came after a 3-2 Iowa win Jan. 8. The Gulls are 2-0-1-0 in their three previous matchups at Wells Fargo Arena, with wins Dec. 9, 2017 (4-3) and Jan. 16, 2017 (3-1), and a 3-2 OT loss Jan. 14, 2019.
The weekend set against Iowa will mark the seventh and eighth contests against Central Division opponents this season, the final two games outside of the Pacific Division with the final 22 games of the schedule seeing strictly divisional matchups.
San Diego has earned points in four of the six games to date this season against Central opponents (2-2-1-1), including three straight contests (2-0-1-0). All-time, the Gulls have posted a 28-10-5-1 record (.705%) against the Central Division, earning points in 34 of 44 games, the highest points percentage among Pacific Division clubs against Central opponents.
Tonight will see two of the league’s top forwards face off in Gulls center Sam Carrick and Wild pivot Gerald Mayhew. Carrick co-leads the AHL with a +24 rating and is riding a six-game point streak (2-5=7). He is just one of just two AHL players to have three separate point streaks of six games or more this season; the other to accomplish that feat is Mayhew.
Mayhew leads the AHL with 36 goals and has 22 his last 20 games. His 56 points (36-20=56) are second among AHL leaders to only his teammate Sam Anas. Carrick, who missed last Sunday’s 4-2 win over Bakersfield due to illness, has also put up points of late with 10-10=20 points his last 16 games and 17-12=29 points his last 25 contests.
Standing at 5-8, 157-pound Anas leads the AHL in scoring (17-41=58) and assists while he is also riding a six-game point streak (4-9=13). Last weekend, Anas recorded two goals and three assists (2-3=5) as a part of a career-high five-point performance. Potomac, Maryland native also leads the AHL in assists and has eight games with three points or more.
The two forwards have undoubtedly helped guide Iowa to a club record seven straight wins where they have posted two shutouts and have outscored opposing teams 27-11. Although Iowa has been great offensively, their ability to keep pucks out of the net is what has really helped the team have success.
The matchup between the pipes tonight will be one to monitor as each team’s primary netminder has been dominant of late. Iowa’s Kaapo Kahkonen leads the AHL with 20 wins, posting a 20-5-2 record with four shutouts, a 2.24 goals against average (GAA) and .920 save percentage (SV%). The Finish goaltender has wins in five consecutive games, including two shutouts, and has a 14-3-2 record his last 19 appearances.
Gulls netminder Anthony Stolarz continues to be among of the league’s best as well, ranking just behind Kahkonen with 18 wins, tied for second among league leaders. Stolarz has won five straight games as well, posting a 2.20 GAA and .943 SV% during the streak. He is also 8-0-1 his last nine starts with a 2.42 GAA and .933 SV%, stopping 30-or-more shots in eight straight appearances. On the road, Stolarz owns an 8-2-1 record in his last 11 games with a 2.37 GAA and .934 SV%.
Tonight one streak will end. Tune in at 5 p.m. PT to see which club continues its momentum.