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San Diego Gulls Bi-Weekly Report 1
By Thomas Harrington
Welcome to the first San Diego Gulls biweekly report of the season. Every two weeks, I’ll check in and see how the Gulls are doing. I’ll go over each individual game and what the next two weeks hold. I’ll also take a look at how well Anaheim’s prospects are doing and list players who I think could be called up to the NHL based on their play. This will only be limited to players who are also under contract with Anaheim, so even though Rocco Grimaldi has been impressive with the Gulls, he won’t be on that list. As the year progresses, I’ll eventually take a look at the playoff race as well, but for now it’s a little too early for that.
The Gulls are off to a middling start, with a 3-4-0 record through seven games. They’ve had a couple of really great games, but also a couple of really bad ones. Still, with an overhauled roster and a new coaching staff, the Gulls’ start is about what I expected.
San Diego Earn Split Against Grand Rapids
San Diego started the season on the road with a pair of games against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Hunter Drew scored San Diego’s first goal of the season in the first period, and Benoit-Olivier Groulx made it 2-0 early in the second. Grand Rapids made it 2-1, but Chase De Leo and Justin Kirkland scored two quick goals to make it a 4-1 lead. The Griffins scored one more time before the second was over. In the third, San Diego scored two more goals, as De Leo scored his second of the game and Nikolas Brouillard scored late to give them a 6-2 victory. Lukas Dostal made 25 saves in the win.
The next night, Grand Rapids was looking for revenge. The game was a high scoring affair. The Griffins scored twice in the opening two minutes, but Glen Gawdin made it 2-1 a couple minutes later. Grand Rapids then scored two more times, but Brayden Tracey made it 4-2 late in the first. In the second, Grand Rapids restored their three goal lead but Brouillard cut it back to two less than a minute later. The Griffins then scored two goals a minute apart, before Gawdin scored his second of the game to make it 7-4 after two. In the third, Olli Juolevi scored his first goal with San Diego, but Grand Rapids scored into the empty net and won 8-5.
Reign Drop Gulls Twice
The Gulls then had their home opener against Ontario. Through two periods, neither team scored, but the Reign finally got the first goal early in the third and then made it 2-0 halfway through the period. This was Grimaldi’s second game with the Gulls, and he was the best player on the ice. He fired 11 shots on goal and finally scored San Diego’s lone goal of the game to make it 2-1 late in the third, but that was the only offense San Diego was able to muster. The Gulls played a very strong game, launching 45 shots on net, but Pheonix Copley was fantastic in net for Ontario and won the game for them. The next night the Gulls traveled to Ontario, and Tracey made it 1-0 early in the game, but the Reign tied the game before the first was over. Things fell apart in the second, as Ontario scored three unanswered goals. They added one more in the third and won 5-1.
Gulls Edge Eagles
The Gulls returned home to face Colorado. Grimaldi and Brouillard scored in the first to make it 2-0, but the Eagles scored twice in the second to tie the game. In the third, Josh Lopina scored his first of the season, but Colorado tied the game again soon after. Jacob Perreault scored the game winner with about six minutes left in regulation and the Gulls won 4-3.
Gulls Earn Split Against Canucks
The Gulls then traveled to Abbotsford for a pair of games, a location that has not been kind to San Diego. Things fell apart quickly in the first game, as the Canucks scored a goal less than two minutes into the game and had a 4-0 lead after the first. Axel Andersson scored his first of the season to make it 4-1, but Abbotsford responded with a goal of their own. Austin Strand scored his first as a Gull to make it 5-2 before the second was over. Early in the third Tracey made it 5-3, but the Canucks scored two more goals and won 7-3. Dostal was pulled in this game after the first period.
The next night, San Diego was looking for revenge. Abbotsford took another early lead, scoring less than four minutes into the game, but 12 seconds later Gawdin tied the game. In the second, the Canucks scored the only goal to take a 2-1 lead. In the third, Grimaldi scored a great goal on the powerplay and the game went to overtime. Overtime was an exciting affair, but neither team scored, and the game went to a shootout. The first three shooters on each team were stopped, but Danny O’Regan scored in the fourth round of the shootout, giving the Gulls a 3-2 win. Dostal made 41 saves and stopped all four shooters in the shootout.
The Gulls will play six games over the next two weeks. They’ll start out on the road, traveling to Bakersfield to face the Condors, before coming home to play Milwaukee for a pair of games. They’ll then travel to Henderson to face the Silver Knights before returning home to host Bakersfield, and they’ll finish things up with a trip to Ontario.
Offensively, the Gulls are currently being led by Grimaldi and Brouillard, two players who are not signed to contracts with Anaheim. O’Regan leads the team with eight assists, while Gawdin and Tracey have six points each. While none of those three have been amazing, I think they are on the short list of forwards to make their way to Anaheim right now if anyone is called up. The defense hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire, but if a defenseman were to be called up, I think Strand is the most likely candidate. Honestly, the player who I think deserves to be called up the most right now is Dostal. He had two really bad games against Abbotsford and Grand Rapids, but has looked very good in his other starts, especially in San Diego’s most recent win against the Canucks.
The Gulls aren’t off to a great start, but I’m not surprised to see them struggle early in the season. As the players adapt to each other and the new coaching staff, I’m hoping to see their play improve.
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November 1st, 2022