Gulls and Eagles meet in final game of regular season

March 5, 2022

By Paige Burnell/SanDiegoGulls.com

The San Diego Gulls are looking to end their time in Colorado on a high as they face the Eagles for the sixth and final time in the regular season tonight at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, CO (6:05 p.m. PT; TV: AHL TV; RADIO: Gulls Audio Network).

The Gulls lost to the Eagles 7-4 last night and now hold an overall record of 13-10-1-0 against the club, including a 5-5-1-0 record on the road. After a Gulls power play goal to start the game, this Birds battle quickly turned in favor of the Eagles as Colorado held a 6-1 lead at 10:44 of the second period.

However, the Gulls made a valiant comeback attempt with back-to-back shorthanded goals and their second power-play goal of the game.

“It was an emotional game on Wednesday, and I think we got off to a good start, you know?” Gulls Assistant Coach Daniel Jacob noted. “First shifts we were fine, then we dug ourselves a hole and fought back. You can’t give them that much so soon because it’s going to be tough to come back.”

Boyfriend Robinson got San Diego back on track as the veteran, returning to the Anaheim Ducks roster, responded to Colorado’s six goals with his first shorthanded goal and third goal of the season in the second period . Bryce Kindopp responded less than a minute later with his own shorthanded tally as the Gulls would strike shorthanded twice for the first time since a 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 31, 2020.

“I think we were desperate,” Jacob said. “We needed goals. Guys, they put pressure on them and we had a few breaks, but, again, that’s the big picture. You have to be solid five against five to have a good pp, good pk. We’ll have to bounce back and be better at five-on-five.”

The Eagles outscored the Gulls 4-0 at even strength, a key advantage for their eventual victory. A more focused effort when 5v5 should help San Diego keep Kiefer Sherwood (1-2=3), Dylan Sikura (2-0=2), Mikhail Maltsev (0-2=2), Keaton Middleton and Rob Hamilton ( 0-2=2) to repeat their multipoint efforts.

The Gulls’ power play continues to produce, going 7-for-14 (50%) over the past four games. He knocked twice last night, with Danny O’Regan and Jacob Perreault save man advantage scores. O’Regan comes in tonight leading San Diego in power-play goals (7) and points (7-7=14) and is riding a six-game point streak.

“I think we’ve simplified things,” the Gulls center said Vinni Lettieri noted. “We’re doing well in training. The coaches have done a lot of work with us in training which has been really good at getting reps but both units have just collectively done a great job and hold each other. mutually responsible and we scored some goals.”

Colorado also scored twice on the power play, with Sherwood and Jacob MacDonald both taking advantage of the power play. Sherwood ranks second in the American Hockey League with 11 power-play goals while teammate Jordan Gross, who got the assist on Sherwood’s tally, is tied for third among AHL defensemen with 16 power play assists.

“You know the execution is going to have to be better, move our feet, finish our stroke, be physical and slow them down.” Jacob said

Offense is a bright spot for the Gulls, as last night marked the team’s 10th consecutive game with three or more goals. The multipoint performances of Perreault (1-1=2), Lettieri (0-2=2) and Nicolas Brouillard (0-2=2).

Brouillard extended his assists streak to three games (0-4=4) with his assists and tonight leads the team in assists (19) and points (8-19=27).

San Diego, which enters tonight with wins in five of its last eight games (5-3-0-0), wants to make sure it finishes the regular-season series with its best effort.

“Just bring it,” Lettieri said. “I mean, we just got three in a row, which is a good step in the right direction for us. Learn a bit and we’ll be ready to play.”

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