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Gulls Drop 7-4 Decision in Game 1

May 5, 2022 - American Hockey League (AHL) - San Diego Gulls News Release

The San Diego Gulls dropped a 7-4 decision in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series to the Ontario Reign tonight at Toyota Arena and trail the best-of-three series 1-0.

Josh Lopina scored his first career Calder Cup Playoff goal 11 seconds into the start of the game, marking the fastest goal scored from start a playoff game in Gulls AHL history (previous: 0:46, Chase De Leo; May 13, 2019 vs. Bakersfield).

Olen Zellweger made his AHL debut at 18 years, 7 months and 24 days, becoming the youngest player to appear in a game (regular season or postseason) for the Gulls (previous: Mason McTavish; 18 years, 8 months, 29 days) and earned his first professional point (assist) to become the youngest player in club history to register a point (previous: Mason McTavish; 18 years, 8 months, 29 days).

Hunter Drew and Alex Limoges each registered their first career multi-point Calder Cup Playoff games (1-1=2), scoring their first Calder Cup Playoff goals and collecting assists in their Calder Cup Playoffs debuts.

Trevor Carrick scored his fifth career postseason goal at 3:18 of the third period.

Drew Helleson recorded a pair of assists (0-2=2) in his Calder Cup Playoffs debut to tie the Gulls rookie record for assists in a playoff game (last: Jamie Drysdale, Trevor Zegras; Game 1 of First Round, May 21, 2021 @ BAK).

Nikolas Brouillard, Blake McLaughlin and Jacob Perreault each earned their first career Calder Cup Playoff points (assist) in their Calder Cup Playoff debuts.

The best-of-three First Round series will continue with Game 2 tomorrow evening at Toyota Arena (7 p.m.).


San Diego Gulls

Head Coach Joel Bouchard

On the turning point in the first period:

I thought we were prepared. We came out exactly like we did. I think a couple of plays and they score and then we got affected by it. It took us a little while and then I thought we settled in, we were one goal away. Then, we give their power play some momentum- like some chances and they got some momentum. I don't think it was our best overall. That being said, we have a lot of guys that just came with us, like first game for a lot of guys with us and some guys coming back from the NHL . So, I think we can be tighter, which will help us a little bit on both sides of the ice. I think the game got away from us a little bit and then we came back with a goal and it kind of got away from us a little bit again.

On the importance of special teams and discipline in this game:

We were down by a goal, we missed a couple of really good opportunities on the power play and then we give a goal on the power play and we give two goals on the PK (penalty kill) so it's right there, that's the game. I don't think five-on-five we were terrible. I think they've got some good shooters and you know, they find some holes. Again, I don't think it was our best overall. Now, it's time to refuel, rest. Cannot learn from it, it's the first playoff game for this group together. We've got Zellweger jumping in, we've got Benoit jumping it, Trevor Carrick hasn't played for a couple of weeks, Hunter Drew is coming back from the NHL. We had really one practice together as a group, so let's use tonight as a bit of, I wouldn't say a practice, but a learning experience to see if we can come tomorrow with a more sound performance.

On tomorrow's game being a must win situation:

Well, we don't need to win five games, we need to win one. The focus is about tomorrow. I just think (it needs) to be better at a few areas. Just bring it up a little bit in like we did at the beginning and then I think we, I wouldn't even say we let up after the first period. I don't think it was a bad period just like they don't need much and we didn't frustrate them enough for me, but they're a good team. You've got to give them credit because they're good and let's see what we can bring tomorrow.

Trevor Carrick

On the Gulls start:

Yeah, I think, obviously, getting that first goal right off the bat the guys are feeling good. It was nice to have that momentum right off the bat. Guys were just feeling good right now. I don't know. It kind of just fell apart after that, after they got their first goal. It's a veteran team there. We knew that they weren't going to sit back and they were going to push. That's exactly what they did. Us being a younger team, we kinda got down a little bit and sat back and we can't do that against a high-flying team like that. They're kind of a run-and-gun team and they're going to keep going. So, we have to push back and get it back in their zone and we were kinda unable to do that.

On slowing down Ontario:

We want to play in their end and, like I said, they're a high flying team and I think that's how we're going to shut them down. They want to play in the o-zone. If we can be in their o-zone as much as we can then we're looking good. We just have to get on our forecheck better. Keep the puck behind their net and in their end and I think we'll be okay.

On stopping Ontario's power play:

I think that's kinda been the story against them all year, the special teams. Their special teams have just been outplaying ours. You know, when you give up a shorthanded goal, I think two shorthanded goals, and then give up a couple on the power play, when it comes to playoffs that's what it can come down to sometimes, the special teams. We have to find a way to shut them down and on their PP (power play), you got a very skilled PP. A couple big shots and a pretty good playmaker in Tynan. If we can find a way to shut them down and then find a way to get our PP going we'll be okay. Playoffs, that's what it comes down to sometimes.

On preparing for an elimination game:

These best two-out-of-three series are kinda tough. It's the first time I've been in one of these. You know, when your back's against the wall like it is tomorrow down one, you just kinda have to forget about tonight and take all the good things out of tonight and catty it on to tomorrow. We got a young group and that's an experienced team over there. We just have to do our best to focus on the next shift and the next game and one shift at a time and I think we'll be okay.

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