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Gulls Bi-Weekly Report 11
By Thomas Harrington
The San Diego Gulls have been on fire lately, going 5-1-1 over the past two weeks. All but one game was played on home ice. They’ve managed to tie Henderson for sixth in the Pacific Division. If they can keep up this kind of play in the season’s final weeks, they should comfortably finish ahead of the Silver Knights in the standings.
The Gulls started out with four straight games against Henderson, arguably the biggest four game stretch of the season. San Diego came out flying in the first game, as Hunter Drew scored just 40 seconds in and Brayden Tracey made it 2-0 before the first was over. Early in the second Trevor Carrick made it 3-0 but the Silver Knights scored to make it a two-goal game again. Less than two minutes later Nikolas Brouillard restored the three-goal lead. In the third, Brouillard scored his second of the night just 45 seconds into the period, Drew also scored his second of the night, and San Diego won 6-1. The next game started out well for the Gulls again as Jacob Perreault scored his 10th of the season to make it 1-0 after 20 minutes. In the second, Greg Printz and Brouillard both scored to make it a three-goal game. In the final period, Henderson scored once and San Diego won 3-1.
The third game between the two teams was a road game for the Gulls, and it didn’t go as well for them. Henderson scored the lone goal of the first period, but San Diego came alive in the second as Alex Limoges, Carrick, and Bryce Kindopp all scored to make it 3-1. In the third, the Silver Knights scored twice to tie the game. The game went to overtime and then to a shootout. All three of San Diego’s shooters were stopped, and Henderson scored once to win the game 4-3. In the final game between these two teams, this one back in San Diego, the Silver Knights opened the scoring in the first. In the second Perreault scored twice to give the Gulls the lead. In the final period, neither team could find the back of the net until Henderson pulled their goaltender for the extra attack. With the net empty, Limoges scored to give the Gulls a 3-1 win.
After four straight games against Henderson, the Tucson Roadrunners came to town. Limoges opened the scoring in the first, but Tucson tied it up. The second period was a back and forth affair as Tucson took a 2-1 lead before Tracey scored. Tucson then took a 3-2 lead before Limoges tied it up again. In the final period, Limoges scored to complete the hat trick and San Diego won 4-3. This was the first hat trick of Limoges’ career. San Diego’s rivals, the Ontario Reign, were the next team to visit. Lucas Elvenes and Limoges scored in the first but Ontario got one back late in the period and trailed 2-1 after 20 minutes. In the second Drew scored late to restore the two-goal lead. In the final period, Kindopp scored his 10th of the season and Perreault finished things off with an empty net goal. San Diego won 5-1.
The Gulls finished things off against Stockton, the best team in the Pacific Division and arguably the best team in the AHL this season. This was also the craziest game San Diego played in over the past two weeks. The Heat took the lead late in the first, but Limoges tied it less than 40 seconds later. In the second, Stockton scored twice about a minute apart to take a 3-1 lead, but Axel Andersson scored to cut the lead in half. The Heat scored again before the period was over, and they led 4-2 going into the third. In the final period, Elvenes and Brent Gates, Jr. scored early to tie the game, but Stockton scored again to make it 5-4. With the game getting late, San Diego pulled their goalie, but the Heat scored into the empty net. However, the Gulls still didn’t give up. Limoges scored his 20th of the season to make it a one-goal game, but Stockton scored their second empty net goal of the night after that and won 7-5.
The Gulls will only play four games over the next two weeks. They’ll start out by hosting Iowa for a pair of games before traveling to Abbotsford for a pair of games. While the Gulls are unlikely to catch the Canucks, if they have any hope of it, they have to win both games in Abbotsford.
No player has been hotter than Limoges lately. However, he is not on an NHL contract and cannot be called up to the Ducks until he’s signed with Anaheim. Perreault, Tracey, and other young players have been putting up some points, but it seems like the Ducks would prefer to bring up veterans like Brendan Guhle and Vinni Lettieri down the stretch and let their young talent play together in San Diego. On the one hand, I’d really like Perreault, Tracey, and others to get NHL action. On the other hand, keeping them in the lineup for a playoff race can also do wonders for their development and potentially chemistry as well.
The Gulls are also getting some college reinforcements. The Ducks signed Josh Lopina to his entry-level contract and he could be in their lineup as early as this weekend. Henry Thrun is another NCAA player who could sign with Anaheim and join the Gulls as his season just ended. Anaheim also has a few prospects in the Frozen Four, and I think two of them, Blake McLaughlin and Jackson LaCombe, could sign with the Ducks when their season is over.
San Diego’s hot play of late has put them firmly in a playoff spot with a chance of not being the final member coming out of the Pacific Division. While not a perfect team, they have picked a great time to play their best hockey of the season. Hopefully it can continue through the end of the regular season and into the playoffs.
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April 1st, 2022