Gulls Start Second Half by Topping Powerful Tucson
The Gulls extended their win streak to four games after defeating the Pacific Division-leading Tucson Roadrunners 4-1 tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego. San Diego has picked up three straight wins on home ice and earned points in five of the last six games overall (4-1-0-1).
Tonight marked the start of the second half of the season for San Diego. The Gulls have had strong second halves of the regular season (Games 35-68) dating to 2015-16. San Diego is 82-43-10-2 all-time in the second half, leading the Western Conference and ranking tied for second in AHL points percentage dating to the 2015- 16 season (.642).
Josh Mahura recorded a goal and assist to mark his third multi-point game of the season (1-1=2), including his third goal at 7:52 of the third period. He has five points his last four games (2-3=5).
Chris Wideman scored his AHL defensemen-leading ninth goal of the season (power-play goal) at 11:58 of the second period. Wideman has picked up three points his last four games (1-2=3).
Max Comtois scored his first goal of the season 100 seconds later at 13:38 on the power play, his seventh point with San Diego this season (1-6=7).
Sam Carrick earned two assists to mark his seventh multi-point effort and points in seven of his last eight games (8-4=12).
Troy Terry earned an assist to extend his point/assist streaks to four games (1-5=6). He has picked up points in each of his four games with San Diego this season. Isac Lundestrom recorded his 10th point (2-8=10) with an assist.
Deven Sideroff scored his second goal at 10:23 of the third period. Jack Kopacka collected the lone assists, his 13th point (6-7=13).
Kevin Boyle stopped 34-of-35 shots in his fourth win of the season. In his last six appearances, Boyle is 4-1-1 with a 1.94 goals-against average and .945 save percentage.
San Diego will visit the Bakersfield Condors tomorrow at Mechanics Bank Arena (7 p.m., TV: FOX 5 San Diego).
San Diego Gulls
On the comeback
Nobody doubted us in the room the whole time. As soon as they scored on us, everybody was still up on the bench. We didn't have one guy put their head down and think about that. We thought about our next shift. I thought, as a team, we came together big time tonight.
On the team's past success in the second half of the season
It's cliche to say, but everybody comes together at this time of year. We've been together long enough that we all know each other so well that everybody wants to fight for the next guy beside them.
On his goal
It was kind of a puck battle in between me and Jack [Kopacka]. We both took a good whack at it and I put it in the net, and it feels good for me.
On success against Tucson
I'm going to say it again, the team is really coming together right now. They're a team we could possibly meet in the playoffs. That's what we said before the game and we stuck to our game plan. We knew we had to take it to them and show them what we're all about.
It obviously helps when the team is winning. Obviously, it helps every player wanting to play better. When the team's up, you yourself feel better as well. It just goes with the team's success and it's just trying to continually get better.
On scoring two power-play goals
Talk about confidence. Our power play has struggled this year, so to get a couple big ones tonight back-to-back to give us the lead into the third period is huge. It definitely felt good as a team and hopefully we can continue our success on the power play.
On setting the tone
They didn't have many shots in the first period, especially early. We controlled, we did a great job defensively and we limited their chances. To stop that big shot at the end of the first period, I got my feet wet and I had confidence in the game.
On defensive performance
They were incredible. If there was a point shot, they were boxing everybody out. It's my job to stop the first one and to try and control the rebound to make it easier for them. I have to give all the credit to the guys in front of me, they played a hell of a game tonight.
On recent success
I'm trying to come out and prove that I can play. I had a rough start, but I've gotten my confidence up in the past few games. I have to give credit to Stolarz, he's playing incredible also. We have a good thing going and we have to keep it up.
Head Coach Kevin Dineen
On the team's past success in the second half of the season
You look at our first half and we got off to that red-rotten start. I take a lot of responsibility for that. I just felt like our team wasn't playing the way we have to play. We've worked really hard over the last two months to keep on nipping and clawing at trying to get plus one to get over that .500 mark. That's been a real hurdle for us. We got up there, we sniffed around it a few times and fell back. A little milestone to start the second half. What was great about tonight, great contribution throughout the lineup.
On scoring two power-play goals
It's nice to see the power play go in. It's much maligned internally. There's frustration by the players, too. They want it to work. We want it to work. Nice to see that it was a difference-maker tonight.
On Kevin Boyle
Goaltending has really been a strong suit of ours, literally most of the year. Boyle made a heck of a statement with that game tonight that we are really a two-goalie tandem team.
On the four-game win streak
We're getting our composure and our comfort level in tight hockey games. These games are hard fought. I keep saying it, we play in a good league. If (Tucson) is a team that we have, our goal is set on right now that they're top in our division. They're a great measuring stick for us tonight. They're an impressive team, they play a fast game and I like the way we responded in that.
On Comtois and Lundestrom
What I really liked about those two is the way they really ingratiate themselves right in the lineup. There's no feeling out process. They've been here and they know how I do my business. They came in and played the kind of game that wasn't 'I got sent down, I'm working.' It was, 'I got sent down, I'm one of your teammates.' When we play as a team, you see it on the ice, you see it in the locker room. Winning is fun and they know it, and it's nice for them to come down here and be a part of our success tonight.
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