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Gulls Biweekly Report 1

Photo: San Diego Gulls

By Thomas Harrington

Welcome to the first San Diego Gulls biweekly report of the season. In every biweekly report, you can expect to find a recap of all the games the Gulls played, a quick preview of their upcoming games, and who might make their way up to Anaheim-based on their play. As the season progresses, I’ll also start giving updates on the playoff picture, but it’s a little too early to go into that right now.

San Diego is off to a horrible start this season. The Gulls have rarely had fast starts to the season–they lost the first two games in a row last year–but San Diego has dropped their first four games of the season, two of them by four goals. The Gulls need to quickly turn their season around, or they will be out of the Calder Cup Playoff race when the season has barely begun.

Gulls Have Rough Road Trip To Start The Season

The Gulls’ season began in Bakersfield where they took on the Condors in the season opener. In the first period, Bakersfield scored twice about two minutes apart. In the second, the Gulls responded with Kiefer Sherwood scoring San Diego’s first goal of the season. Neither team scored again in the second or the third, and Bakersfield skated off with a 2-1 win. The Gulls followed that game up with a trip to San Jose to take on the Barracuda. It was a game that started poorly and didn’t get better. It took a while, but San Jose scored to take a 1-0 lead over 15 minutes into the first. From there, the floodgates were opened as the Barracuda scored two more times before the period was over to make it 3-0 after 20 minutes. In the second, San Jose scored to make it 4-0. Hunter Drew scored his first career pro goal in the third to make it 4-1, but San Jose responded less than a minute later to make it 5-1, which was the final score in this one.

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The Gulls concluded their season-opening three-game road trip in Stockton against the Heat. For the first time this season, San Diego took the lead as Sherwood scored just over three minutes into the contest. However, four minutes later Stockton tied the game and that’s how the first ended. In the second, Stockton scored the lone goal to take a 2-1 lead. The third period was full of goals from both teams. The Heat got things started, with two goals in the middle of the frame to make it 4-1. Jack Kopacka and Andrew Poturalski both scored a minute apart to make it a 4-3 game, but it wasn’t enough. San Diego pulled the goalie, but Stockton scored into the empty net and won 5-3.

San Diego Drops Home Opener

The Gulls finally got to play their home season opener and Stockton was their opponent in this one. It took a while, but Stockton got on the board in the first to make it 1-0. In the second, things started to fall apart for the Gulls. Stockton scored again to make it 2-0 and then scored a third goal with less than two minutes left in the period. That third goal was a real backbreaker for San Diego, not only was it just before the period was over, but the Gulls had just killed off a Stockton powerplay. In the third, the Heat scored twice early on to make it 5-0. Daniel Sprong scored for San Diego to make it 5-1, and that goal seemed to give the team some life, but it was too little too late.

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Over the next two weeks, the Gulls will play four games. They’ll start off by hosting their rivals the Ontario Reign, and then travel to Ontario the next night for a rematch. The Gulls will then return home to host Colorado for a pair of games. 

Four games into the season and no one is really standing out for San Diego. If a forward is recalled to Anaheim, expect it to be Isac Lundestrom, since he’s already been in Anaheim and sent back down. Sherwood would be the other option. He played a ton for Anaheim last season and he’s the early goal and point leader for San Diego. If a defenseman is called up, Josh Mahura is the favorite, but Simon Benoit has been playing a ton for San Diego and could get a chance as well.

Final Thoughts

The Gulls don’t need to go 4-0 over the next four games to get their season back on track, but they do need to put up a couple of wins. If they lose three of the four games or all four of them, changes could be coming to the roster very quickly. Given the amount of turnover San Diego had on defense, it’s not surprising to see them struggle defensively early on in the season, but this team should have enough offensive firepower to stay in games. With only six goals in four games, they aren’t showing off that offensive potential. For San Diego to get their season back on track, their offense needs to start scoring, and the defense needs to limit chances for the opposition.

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October 21st, 2019

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