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Gulls Bi-Weekly Report 8
By Thomas Harrington
The San Diego Gulls played six games over the past two weeks, going 3-2-1. It was inevitable that the Gulls would slow down and not get a point in every game going forward. The good news is that despite losing a few games, San Diego still played well most nights, and if they can keep playing like this, they should find themselves in the Calder Cup Playoffs. Given the fact that they were at the bottom of the AHL not too long ago, this dramatic turnaround has been fantastic to watch.
San Diego Downs Iowa
San Diego started out by traveling to Iowa, riding an eight-game winning streak. There was no scoring in the first, but the Wild took a 1-0 lead in the second period. Trevor Murphy tied the game up before the middle frame was over. In the third, Iowa took the lead and it looked like the Gulls were going to lose in regulation, but Adam Cracknell scored with two seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime. In the extra session, Iowa scored to end San Diego’s winning streak, but Cracknell’s late goal did extend their point streak. Following that loss, the Gulls returned home to host Texas. In the final five minutes of the first, Corey Tropp and Cracknell both scored to give the Gulls a 2-0 lead. Texas scored a goal in the second, and that was the final goal of the game as San Diego won 2-1.
Point Streak Comes To End
All good things must come to an end, and this is especially true in sports. The Gulls hosted Bakersfield in the next game, and their 15 game point streak came to an end. There was no scoring in the first, but Bakersfield scored three in the second to make it 3-0. Jake Dotchin made it 3-1 late in the period. In the third, the Condors restored their three goal lead, but Cracknell was able to score and make it 4-2. Bakersfield scored again a few minutes later and finished things off with an empty net goal.
Gulls Win Two Out Of Three Remaining Games
Following that loss, San Diego traveled to Ontario to take on the Reign. Less than a minute into the game, Ontario took a 1-0 lead, but Dotchin responded before the period was over to make it 1-1. In the second, the Gulls started to take over the game, as Cracknell scored less than two minutes into the period. In the third, Chase De Leo scored less than a minute into the period, and Sam Steel made it 4-1 to finish off the game. The Gulls then traveled to San Antonio for probably their worst game of 2019. The Rampage scored once in the first, and then three times in the second to win 4-0.
The Gulls finished things off with a trip to Texas. Given the roster moves that Anaheim made heading into the All-Star break and the bye week, this was one of San Diego’s best rosters of the season. Tropp opened the scoring in the first and Ben Street made it 2-0. Jack Kopacka, playing in just his second game since returning from an injury suffered back in October, scored his second of the season to make it 3-0 in the second, but Texas scored to make it 3-1. In the third, Street scored his second of the night and the Gulls won 4-1.
The Gulls will play five games over the next two weeks. They’ll start out with three straight home games, hosting Ontario, Iowa, and then Ontario again. San Diego will then hit the road for a rematch with the Reign, before traveling on to Bakersfield.
Cracknell has been San Diego’s most dangerous player recently, and he was rewarded with a call-up to Anaheim for a game. It remains to be seen how long he stays with the Ducks, but if they actually do get healthy, I expect him back in San Diego. Murphy continues to be one of San Diego’s better blueliners; his acquisition earlier this season continues to pay off. With Kopacka finally healthy, it remains to be seen exactly how he’ll fit into the lineup long term. If he can keep scoring, he can expect a top-six role, and maybe a trip to Anaheim at some point.
Troy Terry and Max Jones were in Anaheim during most of this two week stint. Even without two of their most dangerous weapons, the Gulls still managed to have a solid two weeks, a good sign for them going forward. If they can keep playing like that without those two players, the playoffs should be within reach.
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January 31st, 2019