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Gulls Bi-Weekly Report 12
By Thomas Harrington
The Gulls played four games over the past two weeks and had a record of 1-2-1. The good news is that the regular season ends at the end of April and as long as nothing drastic happens, they should qualify for the playoffs with the final spot in the Pacific Division. If they play well enough down the stretch, they have a chance of passing Henderson and claiming sixth in the division, but I think that’s as high as they will go.
San Diego Split Two Games Against Iowa
The Gulls started out with a pair of games at home against Iowa. The first game was Josh Lopina’s first game with San Diego after leaving UMass and signing his entry-level deal with the Ducks. Brendan Guhle opened the scoring in this game, and Lopina picked up his first assist on that goal. Neither team scored in the second and the third period was mostly scoreless. But with the goaltender pulled, Iowa tied the game late, sending it to overtime. Less than a minute into the extra session, the Wild scored to win 2-1.
The next night, the Gulls were looking for revenge. Iowa scored the only goal of the first period, but Bryce Kindopp, Buddy Robinson, and Lucas Elvenes all scored in the second to make it 3-1. In the third, Brent Gates, Jr. gave the Gulls a three-goal lead, but the Wild scored twice to make it 4-3. Iowa pulled their goalie and Danny O’Regan scored into the empty net to give the Gulls the 5-3 win.
Gulls Drop Two Games To The Canucks
San Diego then traveled to Abbotsford for a pair of games. If the Gulls had any hope of climbing to fifth in the Pacific, these were the two games they needed to win. Unfortunately the Canucks were the better team in this series. They scored just over a minute into the first game, and had a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes. In the second each team scored twice, as O’Regan and Nathan Larose scored for the Gulls, but Abbotsford maintained that three-goal lead after 40 minutes. That was Larose’s first career AHL goal. Alex Limoges continued his hot play, scoring just over a minute into the third, but the Canucks scored a shorthanded goal a few minutes later and won 6-3.
In the final game, the Canucks scored 45 seconds into the first period, but Hunter Drew tied the game in the second. Abbotsford retook the lead, but Drew scored again and it was 2-2 after two periods. In the third, the Canucks scored twice less than a minute apart, and then scored into the empty net to win 5-2.
The Gulls have nine games left in the regular season. They’ll start out by hosting the Reign, then travel to Ontario to face them again, and then return home to host the Reign for the final time in the regular season. San Diego will then travel to Henderson to face the Silver Knights before coming home for the final three home games of the regular season, where they will host Abbotsford, Tucson, and Stockton. The Gulls will then travel to Tucson for a pair of games to end the regular season.
Limoges continues to be one of San Diego’s hotter players, but Drew has been a revelation since moving to forward this season. His 16 goals are second on the team and his 36 points are tied for third. It looks like it won’t happen this year, but I’m hoping he gets a game or two with the Ducks next season.
San Diego continues to get college reinforcements as Blake McLaughlin has signed his entry-level deal with the Ducks and is joining the Gulls on an ATO. It remains to be seen if any more of Anaheim’s college prospects decide to sign with Anaheim and leave the NCAA. The longer it goes without them signing, the more likely it is they stay in college for another year. I still think that there’s a chance either Jackson LaCombe or Henry Thrun decide to turn pro, but going back for another season of college hockey will likely still be beneficial for their development.
The Gulls have stumbled a bit over the past couple weeks but have a solid hold on the Pacific’s final playoff spot. They’ve got a chance to move up to the sixth spot, but will need to play much better in the season’s final weeks. Regardless of where they finish, the Calder Cup Playoffs are fast approaching and it will hopefully be an exciting time to be a San Diego Gulls fan!
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April 12th, 2022