Gulls Strong Late in Win over Ontario
San Diego used a four-goal third period to defeat the Ontario Reign 7-4 tonight at FivePoint Arena. The Gulls' 36 third-period goals lead the AHL to go along with the club's league leading 104 goals scored. San Diego has won nine of its last 11 games, averaging 4.8 goals per game and outscoring its opponents 53-34 over that span.
Chase De Leo became the fourth player in club history to reach 100 points with San Diego (41-61=102) with his fifth multi-point game of the season (2-2=4), joining Sam Carrick, Corey Tropp and Kalle Kossila as the only players to reach the century mark with the club. On the campaign, De Leo became the third Gull to eclipse the 20-point plateau and second to hit double digits in goals (11-11=22), his sixth consecutive season reaching each mark. His four-point night set a new career high, while his fourth game-winning goal moved him into a tie for the AHL lead.
Benoit-Olivier Groulx set a Gulls rookie record scoring his second shorthanded goal of the season, surpassing Sam Steel, Kiefer Sherwood, Antoine Morand and Bryce Kindopp's previous mark (1). Groulx also added a pair of assists to establish a career high three-point night (1-2=3) and extended his point streak into a career-high third game (2-3=5). Among AHL rookies Groulx ranks tied for fourth in goals (8) and scoring with 8-11=19 points.
Trevor Zegras recorded a career-high four-points (2-2=4) to earn his fourth multi-point effort in 12 games (2-2=4) this season. Zegras leads AHL rookies in points per game (1.25, min. 10 GP).
Andrew Poturalski contributed his eighth multi-point game (1-1=2) to maintain his league lead in assists (23) and points (7-23=30). Poturalski is the first in the AHL to cross the 30-point plateau this season.
Bryce Kindopp scored his fifth goal of the season at 4:09 of the third period.
Matt Lorito and Josh Mahura each earned an assist.
Lukas Dostal made 35 saves to earn his fourth consecutive victory and improve to 9-7-0 on the year. Among AHL rookie goaltenders, Dostal ranks second in wins, and sixth in goals against average (3.32) and save percentage (.909).
The Gulls will embark on a four-game road swing beginning Thursday, Apr. 15 (6 p.m.) against the Ontario Reign at Toyota Sports Performance Center.
On special teams
Our special teams were pretty dialed in tonight, especially the power play. We had a lot of good looks out there and I think we scored three goals on the power play, three big goals. When you get the power play going, it's always good. You give your team a little boost and you get the momentum for the next time going on the ice. On the [shorthanded] goal, to be honest I don't really remember the play. I just remember having the puck on my tape and just trying to put it on net. It went in so I was pretty happy.
On the power play
When we make crisp passes, it makes everything easier. It opens up lanes. When we have a good net front presence, I think [Chase De Leo] is doing a great job at it, it makes it easier for the flank guys to pick their spots. We're doing a great job right now.
On protecting a one-goal lead
Trevor Zegras did a great job on faceoffs. The coaches say when you're at the end of the period and don't want to give up a goal, you just don't want to lose the faceoff clean. I think he won one and lost the last one but it was a 50/50 battle. We'll take that any day. When we're locked in on draws and block shots, we had a lot of blocked shots today, it makes it easier for the goalie. When we're putting a lot of pressure as a unit it makes it very hard for the other team.
Chase De Leo
On playing with Trevor Zegras
He's a highly-skilled player with good vision. I think sometimes, in this league, you can get sucked down to a lower level of play. You've just got to find it within yourself to dig deep, push yourself and hold yourself to a higher standard, even though sometimes it's hard. Some games are sloppy and kind of just back-and-forth, but if you can find a way to hold your head up high, dig deep and tell yourself you don't belong, it helps you out. You can't get roped into the bad habits if games aren't going the way you want. Just sticking to what go him here, doing the right things and playing hard.
On learning to play in the AHL
It's a grind. It's tough, especially for a guy like that coming in, highly-skilled to where he's maybe not used to getting bumped as much. There are guys here fighting to feed their families in this league and have been in this league for a long time. For me, I just taught myself to match that desperation and surpass it as much as possible. I'm trying to help him out as much as possible.
On his strong play lately
It's a mindset. I've been in this league now for six years. I obviously didn't plan to be here that long, I don't think anyone plans to be in the American league longer than they have to be. It's out of my control. I just show up to the rink everyday with a good attitude, just work my ass off as much as possible and try to be a good example to others. You hope you'll get your opportunity, your chance and you'll make the most of it when that time comes. Everyone has got their own path to get there. I definitely haven't lost the faith. I hold myself accountable every day when I come to the rink. I want to be a leader for the young guys. I wish I had more NHL games under my belt, but I know if I keep doing the right things, it'll happen.
Head Coach Kevin Dineen
On special teams
We'll talk about the shorthanded goal, but I thought we did a fabulous job on the 5-on-3. Overall, I think our penalty skill was really solid against a team that moves the puck well. With Frk in their lineup, they've got a bomb out there and our guys showed a lot of bravery getting in front of that thing. Over the last month, I think our power play has been good and they got back on track tonight. Special teams were a big difference.
On Trevor Zegras
Starting with the drop of the puck, I thought his faceoffs are really taking a step in a positive direction. I saw a level of responsibility with his defensive zone play. Early on, we were kind of looking for matchups and as the game wore on we put him in more responsible situations, starting on faceoffs in his own zone. I thought he did a good job there and I think that's a good learning experience. When you do that, it doesn't take away from the offensive side of things.
On Chase De Leo
Chase has always played that way since I got here. He has a level of consistency to his game and he plays the game extremely hard. He's got an offensive skillset that he showed on the power play tonight. He's a guy you can play in a lot of situations. Strong game for Chase.
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