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Home Ice Brings San Diego Win, Series Lead

May 23, 2019 - American Hockey League (AHL) - San Diego Gulls News Release

San Diego took a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference Finals following a 3-2 win over the Chicago Wolves at Pechanga Arena San Diego. Tonight's win marked the third straight on home ice for San Diego, the longest current home win streak in the playoffs.

San Diego improved to 9-4 this postseason and have not lost in regulation in 11 straight playoff contests (8-3; all three losses in overtime). San Diego also leads the postseason in goals (52), home goals (25) and co-leads in goals-per game (4.0).

Kevin Boyle improved to 3-0 in the playoffs after stopping 21-of-23 shots. Boyle has allowed three goals over the three games, posting a 1.07 goals-against average and .958 save percentage in the three consecutive wins.

Trevor Murphy scored his first goal of the playoffs (GWG) at 11:44 of the second period and added an assist to mark the fourth career multi-point game in his postseason career (last: Game 5 of the Pacific Division Finals on May 11, 2018 with Tucson at Texas; 0-2=2).

Corey Tropp recorded his fourth goal of the playoffs at 4:56 of the first period. Ben Street added his eighth assist of the season on the goal. Murphy added the secondary assist.

Sam Steel scored his first career shorthanded goal (unassisted), his sixth goal of the playoffs and second in as many games to co-lead San Diego in goals this postseason. Steel has points in all three games to begin the series (2-1=3), and now co-leads all rookies in playoff goals and points (6-7-13). He also ranks tied for third in goals and scoring among all Calder Cup Playoffs leaders.

The Western Conference Finals will continue with Game 4 on Friday, May 24 (7 p.m., FOX 5 San Diego) and Game 5 on Saturday, May 25 (7 p.m.).


San Diego Gulls

Corey Tropp

On the game

I think it was just two evenly matched teams going toe-to-toe. They're a great team and every game has been a one-goal game. We had an overtime loss, the second game in Chicago was a little tighter than the score might have shown. It's just a lot of fun. Two teams competing, going toe-to-toe. It's a pretty good show for the fans. It's playoff hockey.

On the physical play

That's to be expected this time of year. You're fighting for your lives. You're fighting to continue your season. Every guy is going to bring their best game, that competitive game. That fire, competitiveness, you're going to see the best of everyone right now.

On Chicago's late goal

Obviously you don't want to put yourself in that position. There's going to be a lot of momentum swings throughout playoffs. It's not going to be easy. Mistakes like that are going to happen, it's about how you respond. I thought we had a good response. We were able to keep them away from the net there in the last three minutes of the game.

Trevor Murphy

On the response after allowing the first goal

I think our whole game plan is to play quick and transition the puck as fast as possible. All year we've been really good at recovering after goals against, but that was obviously huge. It got the fans into it and we roll from there.

On the fans

They do a great job. We definitely feel it on the bench and it doesn't go unnoticed. You guys all saw that tonight.

On his goal

I was just closing the zone, having a good gap and luckily it just popped out. The puck was on its edge actually and I just took a slap shot and put it on net and it found its way in.

Head Coach Dallas Eakins

On the win

It's better than being down 2-1, that's for sure. Coming into our home ice, obviously we're very comfortable here. Our fans are excellent. I thought they were a big part of our game tonight. Being back home and getting some rest, I'm not sure how rested we were going into Chicago. I think that Bakersfield series had taken a lot out of us. Night one, I thought we were good. I thought we were just running on adrenaline. Night two, I thought there was a big fall off. So it's nice to get back, get in our beds, get some proper rest, get back on our own time zone that our bodies are used to and I thought that paid off tonight.

On the penalty kill

We're humbled and fortunate to be where we're at. That's a very good hockey team over there. These games are extremely tight. I think the difference in the game tonight was our penalty killers came up big, not only killing off some crucial power plays, they had four power plays to our two tonight, and they chipped in with a goal and it was a big one when it was 1-1 there. For me, that was the difference tonight. Five-on-five, pretty even game.

On Andy Welinski's match penalty

I don't love it, obviously. Andy Welinski doesn't play a game like that. Andy is just going over, he's got his elbow down, he's just going to finish his check like he normally would. I was just trying to figure out who called the penalty because no one put up their arm and then there was a big huddle and suddenly we were down. Losing Andy in the game that early is a big blow to us because he's a big part of our offense back there. He's a big part of our power play. That being said, when you see player laying there like that, he's been hit and you know he's hurt, you hold your breath. It doesn't matter what team he's on. I was glad to see he came back in the game. He played lots in the third. That's always a good feeling, even when it's the other team. We don't want to see anyone hurt.

On Kevin Boyle

Quietly, Kevin went about his business excellent tonight. He's calm, he's quiet in the net. He looks to not be getting rattled by the traffic. Chicago is a smart team. I know their coach well. I'm sure the game plan is to take the contact right to the edge, without taking a penalty. He was getting bumped a lot down there tonight. I thought he handled that well. We have the greatest confidence in Kevin and Jeff Glass. They're both a big part of us being here today. It's not lost on our staff, management or players how well both of these guys have done.

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American Hockey League Stories from May 23, 2019

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.