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Gulls Biweekly Report 3
By Thomas Harrington
Since their hot start, the Gulls have been stumbling, going 2-5-0 over the last two weeks, and have lost their last four games. Both of San Diego’s wins came in overtime.
The Gulls are struggling for a number of reasons, but the three biggest are injuries to their lineup, some of their best players called up to Anaheim, and their goaltending isn’t playing at the elite level it was early in the season.
Gulls Edge Reign In Overtime
The Gulls started things off by traveling to Ontario to take on their rivals. The Reign struck early, but Benoit-Olivier Groulx tied the game up shortly after. In the second, Chase De Leo gave San Diego the early lead, but Ontario tied it before the period was over. In the third, Andrew Agozzino and Sam Carrick both scored less than three minutes into the period, but the Reign scored a few minutes later, and tied the game with less than 30 seconds to go in regulation. In overtime, De Leo scored his second of the game to give the Gulls the win.
Gulls Win One Of Three Against The Barracuda
San Diego then returned home to face San Jose for a pair of games. The first game didn’t go so well. The Barracuda took the lead halfway through the first, but Agozzino tied it less than 20 seconds later. After that, San Jose took over; they made it 3-1 before the first was over, and then scored once in the second and third to win 5-1.
The next night, the Gulls were looking for revenge, and Olle Eriksson Ek made his AHL debut. Hunter Drew scored his first of the season in the first, but San Jose tied it before the period was over. In the second, the teams traded goals, as Groulx made it 2-1, but the Barracuda made it 2-2. Neither team scored in the third, and the game went to overtime. In the extra frame, Agozzino scored to give the Gulls the 3-2 win. Eriksson Ek made 39 saves while getting the win in his AHL debut.
The Gulls then traveled to San Jose to face the Barracuda again. San Jose took a 1-0 lead just 11 seconds into the contest, and made it 3-0 before the second was five minutes old. Kodie Curran made it 3-1 late in the middle period, and Carrick made it 3-2 early in the third. San Jose shut the door the rest of the way, and scored an empty net goal to get a 4-2 win.
Gulls Come Up Short Against The Condors
The Gulls then played against the Condors in Bakersfield, and they took the lead just over two minutes into the second period. Drew tied the game less than 20 seconds later, but Bakersfield made it 2-1 before the first was over. Bakersfield scored in the third and skated off with a 3-1 win.
Gulls Drop Two At Home
San Diego returned home for the final two games. They first faced Tucson, who took the early lead, but Andrew Poturalski tied it before the opening period was over. The Roadrunners then scored twice in the second, and once more in the third to win 4-1. The Gulls had a total of 17 shots in the game, 11 of those coming in the final frame.
In the final game, San Diego hosted Henderson for the first time. The Silver Knights took the early lead, but Poturalski tied it up 20 seconds later. Henderson scored early in the second and third periods to take a 3-1 lead, and Carrick made it 3-2 late, but the Gulls weren’t able to score again. San Diego had 50 shots in this game, a good response to their effort in the prior game.
The Gulls will only play five games over the next two weeks. They’ll start out with a pair of games in Tucson, and then travel to Ontario. San Diego will then return home for a pair of games, first against Bakersfield and then against Tucson.
The Gulls are struggling, and many of their best players (Trevor Zegras, Vinni Lettieri, and Josh Mahura) are in Anaheim. However, Carrick and Agozzino are two players who have been playing well for the Gulls over the last two weeks. If the Ducks do need any more reinforcements to their forward ranks, those two are likely to get the call. Groulx has also been impressive, and not just on the offensive side of the rink. I don’t expect him to, but there’s a chance he could make his NHL debut this season, especially if the Ducks decide to sell veteran talent as the trade deadline approaches.
The Gulls now have a .500 record and are in the middle of the Pacific. If they want to finish near the top of the division and make the Calder Cup Playoffs, they’re going to need to turn their season around right now. Their goaltending and defense have to be better, and their offense needs to continue to be dangerous most nights.
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March 19th, 2021