The San Diego Gulls returned home after a two game winning streak on the road to face the Texas Stars, in the hopes of keeping the momentum rolling in their direction. Unfortunately, no amount of rallying goals could bring the Gulls to victory Wednesday night.
The first period saw the Stars come out with the shots and scoring advantage, dominating play through the entire period with the Gulls getting into penalty trouble and giving up a power play goal. The Stars managed a two-goal period sending the Gulls into the locker room with a look of a defeated team.
Whatever was said to the team in the locker room seemed to spark something as they came out in the second with a second wind that saw forward Chris Mueller find the back of the net and light not only the bench but the crowd on fire. A quick answering goal by the Stars did not seem to slow the Gulls down as Ondrej Kase buried on, putting the team back within one. However, with only two minutes left in the period, the Stars managed to find the net again, putting their fourth goal by Gulls goalie Matt Hackett.
The Gulls rallied again at the start of the third managing to hold off the Stars scoring chances and finally finding the back of the net with a goal by Andrew O’Brien, once again putting them within one. A sloppy play by the Gulls in the offensive zone, however, send Stars forward Curtis McKenzie on a breakaway beating Hackett with ease and putting, a larger gap between the teams.
The Gulls were given a golden opportunity near the end of the third when the Stars found themselves down two players, but Stars goaltender Maxime Legace stood on his holding off the Gulls chances. With two minutes left, the Gulls pulled their goalie, a decision that put them by three after Brett Ritchie put the puck in the empty net, sealing the fate of the Gulls home return.
“We equaled their firepower, but couldn’t get it past the post, or their goalie,” head coach Dallas Eakins said after the game. “Three of their goals tonight were absolute gifts.”
Overall, Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins said he was happy with the team’s effort and thought he discussed sticking to their game and “focusing on their habits” during and the first intermission, but believes that when he goes back and watches this game that “boy we played a pretty good game except we gave them three gifts, and that’s what cost us.”
Gulls line combinations:
Michael Sgarbossa – Chris Mueller – Ondrej Kase
Antoine Laganiere – Matt Bailey – Stefen Noesen
Joseph Cramarossa – Zac Larraza – Matt Berry
Andrew O’Brien – Kyle Bonis – Brian McGrattan
Joe Piskula – Korbinian Holzer
Shane O’Brien – Shea Theodore
Jaycob Megna – Brandon Montour