Special Teams Doom Gulls
The San Diego Gulls fell 5-3 to the Colorado Eagles tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego.
Alex Limoges opened the scoring on the power play at 17:13 of the first period, marking his fourth goal in his last six games (4-0=4) and fourth power-play goal on the season. Kodie Curran added the primary assist on the play to extend his point streak into a season-high third game (1-2=3), while also giving him 1-5=6 points in his last six games.
Nikolas Brouillard scored his fifth goal of the campaign and is now tied for seventh in goal scoring among AHL defenseman scoring leaders. Brouillard leads San Diego blueliners in goals, assists and points with 5-12=17 points.
Trevor Carrick registered his second multi-point effort (1-1=2) in his last four games and has collected 3-2=5 points during that span.
Lucas Elvenes, Brent Gates Jr., Benoit-Olivier Groulx and Brogan Rafferty each earned assists. Elvenes has collected 2-7=9 points in seven games since joining San Diego. Gates Jr. has registered 1-2=3 points over his last four games. Groulx's assist gives him points in back-to-back games (1-1=2) for a third time this season.
Olle Eriksson Ek stopped 35-of-39 shots in the setback.
The Gulls will travel to Iowa to take on the Iowa Wild for a back-to-back set of games Jan. 28-29, marking San Diego's first games against a non-Pacific Division opponent since Feb. 15, 2020 (5-2 Win @ Iowa).
San Diego Gulls
Head Coach Joel Bouchard
On what he liked about the Gulls' comeback in the third period:
The first and third was actually quite good. The second was the problem and the reality is we played a really good team tonight. We played a team that is on a roll and is very fast. Took a couple penalties, which I don't think you can judge the players. Sometimes, (they) are working hard and take penalties and then we had some mishaps. It was a good teaching day. You play a good team and you've gotta make sure you're on task. Like I said, I thought the first was decently good and the third, you're right, we bounced back. We had a good talk between periods. Kind of a failing in the second. We've still got some young and guys that are moving around, but obviously, not the result we wanted. That being said, it's a big week for us. We're on the road tomorrow and its professional hockey. Going to have to learn and move on.
On the performance of the special teams:
Well, obviously not good enough, right? I think we bypassed a few shots on the power play. I know guys are trying to look and this is the thing- the shot clock didn't bother me sometimes. We'd like to look at it and we had some looks. We tried to make a pass, which the way we executed it is a bit of a scoring chance that was like "Prime A" as we call it. So, offensively, I wasn't too happy about the execution. I'm not gonna lie to you and then the pk (penalty kill) obviously gives three goals and I'm not blaming the goalie on it, but a couple of miscues there. This is what happens, you play a good team and it's good teaching, right? You get to the playoffs and some of those guys are getting into the NHL at one point. You can't miss on the game plan and I think they knew as the game went on that we couldn't make those mistakes, but we've just gotta, you know, the oven was hot and we had to touch it to burn ourselves, and you look at the end there with that fourth goal - it hurts. We got back there and it would've been a three-three game if we didn't give that one. So, you're right , the special teams wasn't optimum tonight, but it's everybody. It's just not stuff we told them and it didn't work out that night, tonight, but at one point we're going to have to park it pretty soon and go on the road tomorrow.
On the team's discipline:
It is a tough one. As a coach, my team has always been pretty disciplined, to be honest. They've always been teams that were like fewest penalty minutes and it's not happening here. We have a lot of moving parts and guys that, I feel sometimes, I wouldn't say they're selfish penalty killers. I wouldn't say they're selfish, penalty away from the play where the guy just feel like, 'you know what, I'm against you.' I saw those a little bit at the beginning of the year, we addressed them. Now, they're more that game is taking it to us sometimes and we have reaction and lack of experience when to maybe let the guy go because he's not going to score and fight that guy off because he's going to score. So, that could be a penalty once in awhile here, and then, you're right- I cannot really be mad at Bo (Benoit-Olivier) Groulx at the beginning of the second. He's actually got the guys lined up pretty good. It just so happens so you're like okay, we can live with it, but then you give a goal. So, it's one here and there that has to go away. On the flip side, we're getting our power play too and we're getting our chances too, So, it's not like its tilted that way. We're drawing penalties, but I do agree that I'd like to take a couple of them a game because there's a lot of things I'm working with the guys. Still, there's been some progression since we came back from the break on a lot of things. Obviously, I'd like to be better on everything, but I think the guys would like it too.
On Olle Eriksson Ek:
Well, not an easy situation, right? He and Rafferty came in and battled. It's a pretty long day and they got up pretty early this morning San Diego time and traveled down here. I thought they handled that very well, they were professional. It's going to be a tough week when you travel like this. We go back on the road early so let's make sure they relax. The attitude, although it wasn't a great game in some times- like I said, I think the first and the third were decently good against a very good team. Colorado is a good team, they're 8-1-1=0 last ten. The attitude was better, we're maturing, we're handling adversity a little bit better. It's not the result we want, but I've gotta be transparent, there's guys that are playing a lot of minutes, there's guys that are overused, there's guys coming back from COVID. They're not excuses, they're just facts and I've gotta take that so I don't get emotional. I've got to stay with the process.
On preparing for the third period:
We just felt we needed to set up for our next road trip for the games Friday and Saturday. We wanted to feel good for that coming off that game. So, we just had nothing to lose and we already down and we just said we just had to push one last time so we do thing right and leave this game on the right foot.
On team discipline:
Yeah, It's a very fine line I think. They had a really good power play, it hurt us a lot. I won't lie. But sometimes you are trying to play hard, you are trying to make the right play and you trying to be psychical. The game is just not giving you right bounces. I think that is kind of what happened today. We had a couple penalties where you always debate and that it did not go on our side and definitely hurt us for sure.
On his goal:
Yeah, I mean, I saw Elvy (Lukas Elvenes) going out. I thought I could be backdoor by myself. There was guy a little bit behind so he had to pass it on my backhand, as soon as I got the puck I didn't have good look on backhand. So I decided just to turn that The guy that was covering me fell. It gave me time, and I was looking backdoor to make pass and I had so much time so I just took the middle and ripped one far side in the top. It gave us a little push and we almost got back into the game because of that.
On turning around and heading on the road tomorrow:
Yeah, I mean it is quick turnaround. We have been out for a week now with the Abbotsford game. We just got back on Monday. Now we play today. We are going back on the road tomorrow. We just need to eat to get enough food in and the sleep in very important.
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