Gulls Topple Stockton, 3-2
The Gulls won their third straight on home ice with a 3-2 victory over the Stockton Heat tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego. The Gulls have earned points in 10 of their last 11 games (7-1-3-0), 15 of their last 17 contests (12-2-3-0) and 19 of their last 24 overall (14-5-4-1). The Gulls are also 4-0-1-0 the last five games on home ice.
Anthony Stolarz stopped 40-of-42 shots in his 19th win of the season, marking the third occasion with at least 40 saves. Stolarz is 9-1-2 his last 12 starts with a 2.30 goals-against average and .936 save percentage, stopping 30-or-more shots in 11 straight appearances. He has also won five straight home games, posting a 2.56 GAA and .929 SV%.
Kiefer Sherwood recorded his third career multi-goal game with his 15th and 16th goals at 6:53 of the first period and 13:21 of the second frame. Sherwood has recorded nine goals his last 14 games (9-0=9).
Max Comtois scored for the third straight game at 13:46 of the second period, a new career high for consecutive games with goals (3-1=4). Comtois has recorded 12 points his last 15 games (4-8=12).
Alex Broadhurst extended his point streak to three games with an assist (1-2=3) and has 1-3=4 points his last five games.
Blake Pietila collected his 11th assist on the goal to push his point total to nine the 10 games (3-6=9).
Simon Benoit earned an assist to match a single-season high with his 16th point of the season (4-12=16), equaling the 2-14=16 points recorded in his rookie campaign in 2018-19.
Sam Carrick picked up his team-leading 35th point with an assist (19-16=35) to now have 11-10=21 points his last 20 games and 19-15=34 points his last 33 contests. Josh Mahura tallied his 11th assist and 14th point. Ryan Johnston also earned an assist, his fifth of the season.
Following tonight's game, San Diego will visit the Bakersfield Condors on Friday, Feb. 21 at Mechanics Bank Arena before concluding a weekend back-to-back vs. the San Jose Barracuda Saturday, Feb. 22 at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m. PT).
San Diego Gulls
On the game
A big thing we talked about after the first game was not being cute at the blue lines and getting pucks deep. I think we were shooting ourselves in the foot a couple times and just too many turnovers; I think we did a better job of that tonight. We have to tip our cap to Stolarz, he kept us in it the whole night, especially in the last two minutes, he was standing on his head the whole game. We were happy for him to get a big win against those guys, and that was a huge two points for us. We're really happy with the results.
On Anthony Stolarz
He's phenomenal. We're very fortunate we have two really great goaltenders in net. Every time both of them come in, whether it's one or the other, they battle for us, and they give it their all. The least we could do is do the same, and sell out and block shots and do all we can to keep the puck out of our own net.
On his success with Max Comtois
I don't know. I think it's that we've been playing together for three games now, we got a little chemistry going. Any time you get a little chemistry going, the coaches kept us together for the last two games and obviously we get two goals out of that. We're getting into a rhythm with a line and you play with the same guys for a few games, you get used to each other and I think things are just going well for us.
On his two goals
Try to use my speed. My linemates, no matter who they have been, have put me up in a good position. When you play the right way, you tend to get rewarded. I'm just trying to compete and have that shooter's mentality.
On the difference tonight compared to Monday at Stockton
We simplified it. We let our forecheck go to work. They're a good team on the rush, so we tracked hard against it. A couple things we have to clean up, but I like the way we played as far as simplifying things going forward.
On Anthony Stolarz
He just gets it done. He competes his tail off and the same thing goes with (Kevin) Boyle. They've both been great and makes the team feel a lot more confident, but hopefully we can win the shots against and make their lives a little easier.
On intensity of games down the stretch
This is why you play the game, to be in these playoff races. To dig down and test ourselves is a good challenge for our group. I like the way we are playing, but we still have to take the next step here this weekend.
Head Coach Kevin Dineen
On the win
Overall, we just stayed with it. Tonight, I won't say we were protecting the lead, but we found a way to get ahead and for the most part, we kept playing the same way. In Stockton, we battled back hard and [overtimes] are getting to be a little unpredictable, but that's an area that we have to keep improving on. A nice hard working home win is a nice way to hit the road again. We're right in the middle of one of our toughest schedules of the year. I like the brand of hockey that we're playing. We're not practicing a lot, but we're going out, we're working hard and we're finding ways to have success.
On Max Comtois
I think we like the words simple and direct. He had a little too much cute to his game, trying to make pretty plays, instead of using your sides and your abrasiveness, going to the net hard. He's got a wonderful shot, and I think it's something he can use more. When you have success, meaning that the puck starts going in for you, I think you get a little jacked up and you start shooting more. It's good to see that working for him.
On Anthony Stolarz
He makes things simple. For a big guy, he moves well and is always squared to the puck. He takes away angles. I think he had about a two-and-a-half minute shift to finish the game and our guys played very solid in there, but Stolarz definitely came up big in that moment.
On the final shift of the game
When you're tired like that, you just simplify and give to the middle. You protect the middle of the ice and we did a good job of that. We didn't give those high-quality shots. You know you're going to get some opportunities, but when they're from the outside we have tremendous confidence in our goaltending to make that save.
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