Gulls Reach Season't Halfway Mark with Third Straight Win
The Gulls won their third straight game following a 4-1 win over the Stockton Heat at Stockton Arena. San Diego has also picked up points in four of the last five games (3-1-0-1) after its second straight win over the Heat (also Dec. 21). Tonight marked the midway point of San Diego's schedule, finishing the first half of 2019-20 with a 15-15-2-2 mark.
San Diego negated all four Stockton power plays and has killed 25 of the last 26 penalties the last five games (96.2%). San Diego scored shorthanded in back-to-back games, marking the club's 12th shorthanded goal of the season, tied for the AHL lead with Providence. The Gulls have scored their 12 shorthanded goals over the last 28 contests, with the penalty kill nearly matching the opposition power play 12-15 in that span (93-of-108 success rate on the penalty kill, 86.1%). Overall, San Diego's penalty kill leads the AHL with a goal differential of -8 (20 power-play goals against, 12 shorthanded goals) and ranks fifth overall in PK% (85.0).
Kiefer Sherwood picked up his first career multi-goal game (2-0=2), scoring shorthanded at 9:09 of the first period and into an empty net (unassisted) at 19:23 of the third period. His eighth and ninth goals pushed his point total to 16 this season (9-7=16). Simon Benoit picked up the lone assist, his seventh of the season and second shorthanded.
Brent Gates Jr. scored for the second straight game at 9:14 of the second period, his third goal of the season.
Troy Terry extended his point/assist streaks to three games with an assist (1-4=5), picking up points in each of his three games with San Diego this season.
Alex Broadhurst netted his fifth goal (empty-net goal) at 19:59 of the third period to complete the scoring. Jani Hankapaa earned the lone assist, his third assist the last three games (0-3=3) and 12th of the season (1-11=12).
Anthony Stolarz picked up his 12th win of the season after stopping 36-of-37 shots. With the road win, Stolarz improved to improve to 5-2-0 with a 2.30 goals-against average and .930 save percentage his last seven road starts.
San Diego will return home to host the Tucson Roadrunners on Friday, Jan. 17 at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m.).
San Diego Gulls
On the win
It feels good. It was a big test for us and we played the right way and stuck to it. Just have to trust the process here so hopefully we can keep it rolling here this weekend.
On neutral-zone play
We've been trying to lock up other teams here, outnumber them in certain situations and bait them into some turnovers. It's a good transition and hopefully we keep outnumbering guys there.
On the penalty kill
Just keep it simple. Be hard on the clears and have good sticks. They're obviously very powerful and we probably gave them too many opportunities tonight, but it was a good test and we rose to the occasion.
On the shot differential
There was a couple of times that we got hemmed in there. For us, I think the big thing is winning the board battles and getting the puck north and making the other teams play a full 200-foot game. When we get it deep and have a good forecheck we can come up with the puck. Hopefully that's an adjustment we'll make here in the upcoming games.
Head Coach Kevin Dineen
On the win
We came in here, and I actually prepared by watching a lot of our past games against them, and there were some games that we just weren't playing good hockey, a bad stretch. We get the overtime win last time versus them at home, and we come here on the road and there's some good satisfaction to get a nice road win.
On the shorthanded goal
Our penalty kill has been so good this year, such a strong part of our game. We have to get a little more discipline so we're not on it as much, especially when you're playing such a respectful power play like we were tonight. When that's going, I think your whole game follows and it leads into defense. I think that follows. If we have one strong suit this year, it's certainly been our penalty kill.
That's something we've been discussing lately. To me, I think there are teams that will play a game that, to get into the analytics part of the game if you put a lot of shots to the net good things will follow. To me it's quality shots. When those shots are to the outside you're not going to make a huge issues about it. I think we need to cut down on the rush opportunities against and we have to make sure that we don't leave the puck in dangerous places in the middle of the ice.
On Anthony Stolarz
Once again our goaltender is another strong part of our game. I think (Stolarz) gives us not only those quality saves but he gives us a lot of confidence in net.
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