Gulls Score AHL-Best 23rd Win
The San Diego Gulls extended their point streak into a fifth game (4-0-1-0) by defeating the Tucson Roadrunners 5-3 tonight at FivePoint Arena. The Gulls have picked up standings points in 15 of their last 18 games (14-3-1-0) and eight of their last nine home games (7-1-1-0). San Diego leads the AHL in wins (23), home wins (15), points (47), and goals (131).
Bryce Kindopp netted a pair of goals and added an assist to set a new career high with 2-1=3 points on the night. Kindopp recorded his second shorthanded goal of the season at 5:24 of the second period, moving him into a tie for second most among AHL rookies.
Benoit-Olivier Groulx established a new career high with a three-assist game (0-3=3) and moved into a tie for fourth in AHL rookie scoring with 10-14=24 points, while ranking tied for fifth in goals and tied for fourth in assists. Groulx's assist on Bryce Kindopp's shorthanded goal marked his fourth shorthanded point of the season (2-2=4) to lead the AHL.
Vinni Lettieri scored his 13th goal of the season to extend his goal-scoring streak into a fourth game (4-1=5), one game shy of his career high. Lettieri has recorded a point in 14 of 18 games played this season and is tied for fourth on the team in scoring with 13-11=24 points.
Alex Limoges scored a goal for a second consecutive game and added an assist for his third multi-point game (1-1=2) of the season. Limoges has recorded points in four of his last five games (4-3=7).
Hunter Drew tallied his fifth goal of the campaign at 6:45 of the third period giving him points in consecutive games (1-1=2).
Andrew Agozzino extended his point streak into a fourth game (3-3=6) with the primary assist on Lettieri's goal.
Chase De Leo continued his assist streak into a fourth game (0-4=4). De Leo has recorded a point in 11 of his last 12 games (5-11=16).
Josh Mahura earned an assist for a second consecutive game.
Lukas Dostal made 25 saves to continue his Gulls rookie record win streak into an eighth game. During his streak Dostal has recorded a .922 save percentage and a 2.73 goals against average. Among AHL rookie netminders Dostal ranks first in saves (643), second in wins (12), fourth in save percentage (.917) and seventh in goals against average (2.95).
The Gulls will close out their season series with the Tucson Roadrunners tomorrow, May 1 (7 p.m.) at FivePoint Arena.
On his goal
They just turned it over on the wall and Bo (Benoit-Olivier Groulx) won a battle there. I knew their flank guy behind me was kind of sneaking back door so the bench was yelling and I had a sense right away that it was two-on-one. Bo made a really nice pass and it was easy with the pass he made to put it in the net.
On the line of Kindopp, Groulx and Limoges
They're two really good players and it's been really easy for me to adapt at this level - I think [it has been] for them too. We like to work the puck in the corners and play kind of a simple, hard game. They're both really skilled guys with the puck so I think, for me personally, it's just go to the net, let them to a lot of the work and I think they could say the same. They're definitely two really easy players to play with.
On adapting to the AHL
It's been pretty nice. I've been fortunate enough to play with really good line mates every night so they make it really easy for me to adapt. I've been getting a lot of opportunities. Obviously, it's a huge jump, but when you have a really good team, guys are always in the right spots and you have good coaches, nothing makes it easier.
On chemistry with Alex Limoges and Bryce Kindopp
It's working very well because we're all on the same page. We know what to expect from each other. We ready off each other very well. We know Alex is a very good playmaker and Bryce is a workhorse. They know what to expect from me. We're having fun right now. We knew how to play against those guys. We've had success against those guys. We just wanted to come out, have a good game and put a lot of pressure on their defense.
On his role
I think my role is get the puck out and control it as often as I can. Offensively, I think they know I can make plays and I can shoot the puck. I'm mostly reliable for them defensively but they're both really good defensively, too.
On shorthanded scoring
You've got to be lucky, honestly. Sometimes you get a good bounce for you. I think on that one, the puck bounced over the defenseman's stick so I was fortunate enough to have a lot of speed and Bryce had a lot of speed too. It was an easy 2-on-1. Every time we get those opportunities, we have to capitalize on them.
Head Coach Kevin Dineen
On Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Alex Limoges and Bryce Kindopp
They play the game the right way. They get pucks deep. They make quality decisions through the neutral zone and there's a skillset there that gets going when you get some confidence. Solid effort by that line.
On the game
I thought we had so many self-inflicted wounds in the first period. We kept turning the puck over in unnecessary areas. That's a part of our game that we had cleaned up. We had a really good week of practice. We were all enthused and excited about the game. Even after they scored the first goal, I like the tempo and pace of our game. The next thing you know, it's not just the first turnover, it's when you pile on and continue to do it. That was certainly the case. It took us a little breather between the first and second to get our game in order.
On scoring from defense
That's a priority for us. We're a more effective team when our defense is dynamic, get up and are looking for layers. An important part is though, we don't want them always to be the net drivers and the guy leading the rush. We'd like them to be in that second layer. There were some times tonight where I think our decision-making was a little skewed on the rush.
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