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Gulls Biweekly Report 8
By Thomas Harrington
San Diego went 4-1-1 over the past week and had a three-game winning streak. After a rough start to the season, the Gulls have been playing much better since 2024 began. It’s taken some time, but it feels like the team and head coach are finally getting on the same page. While it’s not surprising it took a while to happen, it’s unfortunate that it took so long, as it means they’ll likely miss the Calder Cup Playoffs again.
Gulls Edge Canucks
The Gulls started out by hosting the Abbotsford Canucks. Neither team scored in the first, and Abbotsford opened the scoring in the second. A couple of minutes later, Pavol Regenda tied the game, playing in his sixth game after missing several with an injury. Neither team scored again in the second period, the third period, or overtime, and the game went to a shootout. Ben King and Nikita Nesterenko scored for the Gulls, while Calle Clang stopped two of three shots, and San Diego won 2-1.
Gulls Beat Wild Twice
The Gulls then traveled to Iowa for a pair of games. Regenda scored twice in the first period, but the Wild responded with a pair of their own. Neither team scored in the second, but Jaxsen Wiebe put the Gulls back on top early in the third. Andrew Agozzino then restored the two-goal lead before Iowa responded with a goal of their own. Nesterenko and Nathan Gaucher both scored into the empty net and the Gulls won 6-3.
In the second game against Iowa, San Diego came out firing in the first period, as Nesterenko, Regenda, and Sasha Pastujov all scored to make it 3-0. That was Pastujov’s first career AHL goal. In the second, Pastujov scored his second goal of the evening, but Iowa responded with two goals of their own. To finish the period, Pastujov scored again to complete the hat trick. In the third, Nesterenko scored again, but Iowa then scored two more times. Nesterenko finished the game with an empty net goal, giving himself a hat trick, and the Gulls won 7-4.
Gulls Lose To Admirals In Overtime
The Gulls then traveled to Milwaukee to face the Admirals. Milwaukee scored the only goal of the first period, but Pastujov tied the game early in the second, giving him four goals in five periods of hockey. The Admirals tied the game, but Judd Caulfield and Regenda both scored to put the Gulls back on top. Milwaukee scored the only goal of the third, and then they scored in overtime to win 4-3.
Roadrunners Beat Gulls Late
The Gulls then returned home to host Tucson. The Roadrunners opened the scoring early in the first, but Wiebe tied the game in the second. Tucson scored the only goal of the third and won 2-1. This was Olen Zellweger’s first game back in San Diego after playing in four games with the Ducks, and he recorded an assist on Wiebe’s goal.
Gulls Take Down Eagles
The Colorado Eagles then visited San Diego. Chase De Leo scored early in the first and Agozzino scored late in the first to give the Gulls a 2-0 lead. Colorado scored the only goal of the second period, and neither team scored in the third, giving San Diego a 2-1 victory.
With the AHL All-Star Game played on February 5th, the Gulls will only play in four games over the next two weeks. They’ll start out on the road, playing two games in Calgary against the Wranglers. The Gulls will then return home to host San Jose and Henderson.
With how well he was playing with the Ducks, it’s not a question of if but when Zellweger will be called back up to Anaheim. It’s possible he could finish the rest of the year with the Ducks. At forward, both Regenda and Nesterenko have been playing well. If the Ducks do trade some veterans before the upcoming trade deadline, I’d expect to see at least one of, if not both, in an Anaheim uniform before the season is over. Also, if Pastujov can really heat up, he has an outside chance of making his NHL debut this year.
Two weeks ago, the Gulls had just climbed out of the Pacific Division’s basement. They are still in ninth, but actually now have a bit of a lead over the San Jose Barracuda. The playoffs are still unlikely, but if they can keep playing like this, they have an outside shot at making them.
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February 8th, 2023