Gulls Wreck Ontario, 6-1
The Gulls defeated the Ontario Reign 6-2 at Toyota Arena tonight to improve to 6-1-0-0 their last seven games. The Gulls improved to 29-18-1-2 vs. the Reign all-time, including a 15-8-0-2 mark at Toyota Arena.
San Diego has scored 36 goals the last six games (6.0 goals-per game) with the 46 goals this season tied for the most scored through the club's first 13 games (also 2018-19). The Gulls have also scored four power-play goals the last two games (4-of-14, 28.8%).
San Diego scored shorthanded for the third straight game, their sixth of the season and sixth in as many games. The Gulls co-lead the AHL in shorthanded goals this season (also Cleveland) and have outscored the opposition power play 6-4 in that span (21-25 on the penalty kill).
Anthony Stolarz won his sixth straight game to set a new career high after making 23 saves. His sixth straight win surpassed his previous mark of five set from Mar. 10-26, 2017 with Lehigh Valley. Stolarz also earned his third career assist (last: Mar. 24, 2018 at Providence). Stolarz's assist marked the seventh goaltender assist in Gulls history (last: Kevin Boyle, Apr. 12, 2019 at Tucson).
Sam Carrick tied a career high with a goal in his fifth straight game (shorthanded goal) matching his previous mark set from Dec. 15-27, 2018 (6-2=8). His five-game goal streak (7-1=8) gives him 12 points his last nine games (8-4=12) to lead San Diego in scoring (8-5=13). He also recorded a season-high +3 rating. Carrick leads San Diego all-time with six shorthanded goals.
Chris Wideman recorded his second straight three-point game with two goals and assist (2-1=3). Wideman scored two power-play goals at 2:23 of the second period and 11:37 of the third frame. He now has 12 points his last nine games (6-6=12). He co-leads AHL defensemen in goals and ranks tied for fourth in points, while leading San Diego blueliners in scoring, goals and assists.
Justin Kloos recorded two assists to now lead San Diego with eight this season. He has recorded back-to-back multi-point games (2-2=4) to mark nine points his last six games (2-7=9).
Kiefer Sherwood opened the scoring at 2:54 of the first period to mark his fifth goal and push his point streak to three games (2-2=4). He has picked up 3-5=8 points his last seven games.
Simon Benoit netted his second goal at 14:10 of the second period and added an assist to mark his first career multi-point effort (1-1=2). Benoit has three points in as many games (1-2=3). Hunter Drew picked up his first professional assist on the goal, his second point. Chase De Leo earned an assist on the Benoit goal, the 100th of his AHL career (67-100=167). He also has three points the last two games (1-2=3).
Blake Pietila netted his third goal at 3:54 of the third period to mark seven points his last seven games (3-4=7). Alex Broadhurst extended his point streak to four games with an assist (2-2=4). Daniel Sprong also added an assist, his second in as many games (0-2=2).
Isac Lundestrom picked up his third assist the last two contests (0-3=3). Jani Hakanpaa recorded the fifth assist his last six games (0-5=5).
San Diego Gulls
On the recent offensive production
Coming into the year, I think that's what we though our strong suit was going to be. The offense, playing with the puck and possession. Unfortunately, the first couple of games, we just couldn't click and this is the team that we all thought we were going to be. We're not surprised by it. We're definitely encouraged and excited to build on it and be ready for the next game.
On San Diego's third-period success
(We have) good strength and conditioning coaches, good coaches, the way we prepare in practice and good leadership. Our captain Sam Carrick is leading by example every night. Our rookies are stepping up and are following the guys that are veterans and have been there before. This is the team that we thought we were going to be and there's no surprises in the locker room.
On his three-point game
The last couple of nights, our power play has been clicking and there are obviously a lot of good players out there. For me, I've enjoyed being a part of this team and this group. The guys have been awesome and it's a pleasure coming to the rink every day. You can't say that about every season so I'm definitely enjoying it and it's a good night tonight.
On his goal
There was some rumble in the corner with (Sam Carrick) and I was going to protect my captain, and then I just saw (Chase De Leo) with the puck open on the point. I opened myself to see what would happen and he gave it to (Hunter Drew) and (Drew) gave it to me, and I shot and scored.
On winning six of the last seven
I think we just adjusted with ourselves and with the new coach, new teammates and we figured out the new game plan. We have a really good group, and everyone is tight and likes each other. I think that's our strength.
On the team's six shorthanded goals the last six games
It's always better to play hockey when you're having fun. You're less stressed, you're making plays, and right now everybody is happy so we play good.
On his career-high six-game win streak
It's more than just me right now. I think guys are buying into the system. You look into the game tonight, I think I had four shots through the first 29 minutes. As a goalie, when you have that and a two-goal lead, you can't help but smile and feel good about yourself. They came on in the second half there, but I just tried to weather the storm as best as I could and the guys did a fantastic job tonight keeping their chances to the outside and cleaning up and rebounds, I gave up.
On facing few shots early on
You just to stay engaged and play the puck as much as possible. You just try to talk to the defensemen, stay engaged, let them know when there's a guy on or in the slot. When you do that, you stay sharp mentally.
On his assist
I'm a big puck handler so I like to play the puck and sometimes it doesn't go my way, but more times than not it's on our guys stick, making a good play. I think it's something that, as a goalie, is a huge asset. The guys do a great of communicating to me back there so it makes my job a lot easier.
Head Coach Kevin Dineen
On the recent offensive production
If you looked at it from the beginning of the year, I think the goals are starting to (even up), because they just weren't going in for us. We have some high-skilled players and they're showing their wares right now. I think it's a confidence thing as much as anything. We're playing a confident game and we believe that we can score. We're playing the right way and good results are following.
On message to the team during the second intermission
Well, for one, when your goalie plays as well as he has for us as Stolarz has done for us over the last three weeks, you play for your goalie. That's part of the sales pitch. You play for each other. It's a team and these guys are playing for each other. I think that resonates pretty strongly with them. When we play the correct way, we feel like we can play with anybody. On an individual basis, I think we've seen some real growth in our players. Guys are really starting to understand their roles within the team. It adds up at the end of the night and good things are happening for us.
On Anthony Stolarz
It gives me calm. When you have a goalie that plays big, is able to move the puck and makes it easier on your defensemen, as far as taking on Ontario as a team that comes in extremely hard on the forecheck. When you have someone that moves the puck like he does, he makes it easier on his teammates. For a big guy, he moves really well and when you do that, you don't look overly spectacular, but he's always in front of the net and I think our team really feeds off that.
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