In a night celebrating hockey legend and the NHL’s first black hockey player, Willie O’Ree, the San Diego Gulls did not disappoint fans when the team faced off against the Bakersfield Condors in what would be a high-scoring matchup ultimately decided by a shootout and brought the team to a 2 – 0 record on their inaugural season.
It was only 23 seconds into the first period when 2014 first round pick Nick Ritchie found the net tallying his third goal in only two games and setting off a scoring frenzy.
Penalty killing remains to be an issue for the Gulls who gave up two goals tonight while on the penalty kill, forcing the Gulls to come back from a two-goal deficit twice. However, only two games into the season, head coach Dallas Eakins said he is not worried.
“I’m not concerned yet,” said Eakins. “We didn’t have a real training camp with these guys, we had a little time in Anaheim, but we haven’t had a lot of games. If, after 10 or so games, we see a problem we can address it.”
Despite giving up five goals, Eakins did praise goaltender John Gibson’s performance saying that team “hung him out to dry a few times,” but that “he was there when we needed him.”
Ritchie continued to be impressive throughout the game, generating scoring chances and making a solid case for a call-up when the Anaheim Ducks are in need. It was veteran Harry Zolnierczyk who scored late in the second period that tied the game at five and completing the second comeback of the night.
The Gulls failed to convert on a power play chance in the overtime period sending the game into a shootout. Gulls forward Ondrej Kase scored for the Gulls and Gibson shut the door with three huge saves to give San Diego the victory.
— AHL (@TheAHL) October 17, 2015
Tonight’s Gulls line combinations:
Nick Ritchie – Michael Sgarbossa – Max Friberg
Harry Zolnierczyk – Chris Mueller – Ondrej Kase
Antoine Laganiere – Matt Bailey – Stefan Noesen
Nicolas Kerdiles – Joseph Cramarossa – Brian McGrattan
Jaycob Megna – Shea Theodore
Joe Piskula – Brandon Montour
Korbinian Holzer – Shane O’Brien