Firebirds Take First Ever Game with Gulls

November 27, 2022 - American Hockey League (AHL) - San Diego Gulls News Release

The San Diego Gulls lost their inaugural matchup with the American Hockey League's newest team, the Coachella Valley Firebirds, 4-1 tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego. The loss brings San Diego's overall record to 6-12-0-0 and 2-7-0-0 at home.

Hunter Drew started the scoring for the Gulls with a power-play goal at 7:53 of the first period, recording his second tally of the season.

Danny O'Regan earned his 11th assist of the season - and sixth on the man advantage - to tie for the team lead in both categories. Justin Kirkland also contributed an assist for helpers in back-to-back games (0-2=2) and 2-5=7 points in 10 games.

Lukas Dostal made 31 saves on 34 shots, registering an impressive 1.80 goals against average and a .939 save percentage through his last eight games.

The Gulls killed 5-of-6 Coachella Valley power-play opportunities tonight, posting a 90% success rate on the penalty kill over their last two games (9-for-10). At the conclusion of tonight's game, San Diego's penalty kill ranks third in the AHL's Pacific Division, while ranking fourth in the Western Conference and fifth among all teams with an 84.7% overall success rate (72-for-85).

The Gulls will face the Henderson Silver Knights for the second time this season tomorrow, Nov. 27 at The Dollar Loan Center (5 p.m. PST).


Gulls forward Bryce Kindopp

On the loss to the Coachella Valley Firebirds:

I feel like we had a good start to the game and then, I think, we just kind of got away from the way we're supposed to play. We didn't really get pucks in (and) pucks out, kind of play that simple game. We didn't have a lot of traffic around the net. The goalie had some easy looks. We also didn't shoot the puck enough. So yeah, just some things didn't work out and they put the puck in the back of our net.

On the adjustments for tomorrow:

Yeah, I think the good part is we play again tomorrow. You learn the things you did wrong. The things you did good, you take away from this game and you get right back into it tomorrow. So, it's kind of learn on your mistakes, try and get better and just get right back into it tomorrow.

On where the team saw success despite the loss:

I think our breakouts were pretty good. We were all five tight in. We've been working on that a lot. We didn't get running around too much; we held them to the outside. I thought our PK (penalty kill) did a really good job again tonight. So yeah, I think we just keep doing the little things and it'll all sort of come together for us.

On facing Henderson after winning the first meeting of the season:

I think a little bit, but they're a great team. Every team in our division and the league is really good. So, we can't take them lightly. Like I said before, we just have to learn from this game and be ready to go tomorrow.

Gulls head coach Roy Sommer

On the loss to Coachella Valley:

Well, hard time creating any offense. We're getting outshot two-to-one at one point. I liked the start. We scored first; we haven't done that in a while. So, that was a positive. But we played a really good hockey team and the goaltender kept us in again. Gave us an opportunity, 2-1, you know, middle of the third and we're just having a hard time scoring five-on-five. That's the biggest thing. Biggest thing is trying to create some five-on-five offense.

On the team's offensive struggles:

Well, I think the big thing is, you know, guys that are supposed to be scoring right now aren't scoring. I mean, we're getting the odd power-play goal, but we just go into these droughts. Hard to get any offense going when, you know, we dump it in and all of a sudden, we're chasing jerseys again. We're getting chances. I mean, you look at the last game, we out chanced them. Tonight, I can't say that. But you know, we better wake up pretty soon because we got some hard games coming up the future.

On the quick turnaround before facing Henderson tomorrow:

Well, you know what it is going to be a quick one. You know, we're down some players going into tomorrow's game. You know, we're playing a team that's kind of next to us and I think the biggest thing in Henderson is your starts.

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