San Diego Gulls Bi-Weekly Report 2

Photo: Hayne Palmour IV / San Diego Union-Tribune

By Thomas Harrington

The San Diego Gulls played five games over the last two weeks and went 2-2-1; the Gulls are now 4-3-1 this season. The Gulls offense continues to produce impressive results as San Diego scored 17 goals over the last five games. Overall, San Diego has scored 12 powerplay goals this season, tops in the AHL.

San Diego started out the last two weeks with three straight games against the Stockton Heat, the first two in Stockton. The Heat opened the scoring in the first game with two goals in the first period. Kalle Kossila cut the lead in half in the second period, but Stockton made it 3-1 before the second was over. Kossila scored a goal early in the third, but the Heat scored their fourth goal into the empty net to seal the win. Kevin Boyle faced 19 shots and made 16 saves. In the third period, Leland Irving came into the game for his first action with the Gulls. He faced 14 shots and stopped them all. The two teams met again the next night, and Stockton picked up their second straight win over San Diego. The two teams traded goals twice in the first period, with Spencer Abbott getting both for the Gulls. With the game tied at 2-2 at the start of the second, Stockton scored two unanswered goals to open the middle frame. Jacob Larsson scored his first career AHL goal to the cut the lead to 4-3 before the second was over, but the Heat scored twice more in the third to make it 6-3. Unfortunately, Larsson suffered an injury in this game and hasn’t played in a game since. Irving was in net for the entire game and stopped 34 of 39 shots.

After falling behind early in the two previous games against Stockton, the first period of their third straight game was scoreless. The Gulls finally opened the scoring early in the second as Giovanni Fiore got on the board. Mitch Hults scored two goals less than two minutes apart midway through the second period to give San Diego a 3-0 lead. A couple of minutes later, Stockton got on the board to cut the lead to two. Late in the second, Nicolas Kerdiles suffered an upper-body injury and he hasn’t played since. In the third, the Gulls were seemingly deflated by the loss of Kerdiles. Stockton kept the pressure on and eventually tied the game up at three. The game went to a shootout where Kevin Roy, Julius Nattinen, and Fiore all scored to give the Gulls the 4-3 win. Despite not scoring a point in regulation, this was Nattinen’s best game of the season, which led to him getting the chance in the shootout. This was also San Diego’s first game this season without Kossila, as he was in Anaheim, something that could happen often this season.

After three straight games against Stockton, the Gulls traveled to Texas to take on the Stars. Nattinen scored his first career AHL goal a minute and a half into the contest, and Alex Dostie made it 2-0 just over 11 minutes into the game. The Stars came back and tied it up before the first was over. In the second, Hults put the Gulls back on top, but Texas tied it again. In the third, Jordan Samuels-Thomas scored his first of the season, but the Stars tied the game up one more time. In overtime, Texas scored the game-winning goal and defeated San Diego 5-4. After that heartbreaking loss, the Gulls traveled to San Antonio to take on the Rampage. Nattinen scored another early goal, this one less than a minute into the opening period. San Antonio tied things up, but San Diego took it over from there. Roy and Sam Carrick made it 3-1, and then Deven Sideroff scored his first career AHL goal to make it 4-1 before the first was over. In the second period, Andy Welinski scored his second of the season to make it 5-1. San Antonio scored twice in the third to make the game a little closer, but the Gulls skated away with the 5-3 win. Irving was in net and picked up his first win with his new team.

The Gulls will play five more games over the next two weeks. They’ll start with a two-game series against their rivals the Ontario Reign. Expect two physical games that weekend. The Gulls will then host the Stars and seek to avenge the previous overtime loss. San Diego will wrap up the next two weeks up by hosting Stockton, and then Ontario again.

San Diego’s leading scorers are Roy and Abbott, who both have eight points in eight games, followed by Welinski who has seven points. Kossila has six points, but he’s also missed three games because of his time in Anaheim. Fiore also has six points and has scored one point in every game with San Diego except for one.

Similar to Anaheim, the Gulls are dealing with some injuries of their own. Kerdiles, Larsson, and Corey Tropp have all missed recent games with injuries. Hopefully, all are back soon, but Kerdiles’ injury is the one that is the most concerning because of his injury history over the last couple of seasons.

With Ryan Getzlaf out for at least a week, Kossila has already been recalled to fill his place. It’s clear that going forward, Kossila will likely be the first choice to be called up from San Diego, especially while Kerdiles is out. With Kerdiles out, the next most likely candidates are Fiore, Roy, or maybe even Hults, who is tied for the team lead with four goals. If the Ducks decide to call up a veteran player, Carrick is the most likely candidate, especially while Tropp is out. Defensively, Steve Oleksy is the top candidate since he was recently recalled but didn’t see any game action. Both Welinski and Marcus Pettersson have been impressive early in the season and either could get a chance as well. When Larsson gets healthy, he could be an option too, but it remains to be seen how he bounces back from his latest injury.

The Gulls are still figuring things out but continue to be dangerous offensively. Injuries in San Diego and Anaheim will have a huge impact on the Gulls this year. With so many key Anaheim players out to start the season, San Diego really needs to stay healthy in order to ice a strong roster. They have enough offensive depth to absorb some losses, but their defense isn’t as deep and can’t afford to lose as many players. With a .563 winning percentage, the Gulls find themselves in the middle of the Pacific Division and will need to improve their defensive play if they want to move up the standings.

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November 3rd, 2017

Filed under: Ducks News Tagged: Bi-weekly report, ducksnpucks, san diego gulls


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