PREVIEW: Gulls, Reign Close Regular Season Tonight


April 16, 2022

By Paige Burnell/SanDiegoGulls.com

The San Diego Gulls return home tonight to close out their 12-game season series against the Ontario Reign at Pechanga Arena in San Diego (7 p.m. PT; TV: AHL TV; RADIO: Gulls Audio Network).

The Gulls lost 3-0 to the Reign last night at Toyota Arena, marking their second straight loss to Ontario and fourth in a row. Despite their string of setbacks, the Gulls remain two points out of a 2022 Calder Cup playoff spot, and the team knows how close they are to reaching the playoffs.

“Yeah, it’s hard”, center of the Gulls Danny O’Regan mentioned. “We’re going to learn from the loss and move forward quickly. No reason to waste energy because of the loss. I mean, we’re learning valuable things that will help us in the run for the playoffs. You know , it’s just a bunch of little things. I don’t think we get too worried and just tighten up a few things and we’ll be fine.

One lesson the Gulls learned against the Reign is the importance of scoring the first goal. The team that scored first has won nine of the previous 11 games in the season series.

San Diego knows that getting the first count in the game is up to the team that capitalizes on their first scoring opportunities, no matter how ugly.

“I think it’s just a slowdown,” O’Regan said. “I think don’t think about it too much, try to aim for the puck, just hit it hard and smash the net. Try to get a second chance. There are definitely times when us, me and some guys, (looking for) that extra pass maybe instead of just beating them on the net. So let’s get back to shooting pucks and smashing the net and getting a little gritty.

The Reign opened the scoring in each of their last two wins over the Gulls, with both goals coming from a deadly Ontario power play that converted on 3 of 7 chances in their last two games and leads the American Hockey League at 26.9%. success rate.

“I think we have to keep improving and like I said, they’re a hell of a team,” the head coach said. Joel Bouchard mentioned. “They’re really good, they’re really good on the power play and we’ve played with them. Let’s play, we’ve beaten them a few times this year and I think we’ve held on and I can’t coach the scoreboard, like I said. If I do this, it’s not fair to the players. Could we have been better? Oh yes. Are we going to work (from here)? Oh yes, of course, but let’s see how we let’s go.”

Limiting movement to the penalty box is key to the Gulls’ success, especially since it will help dampen the effectiveness of Martin Frk and TJ Tynan, who lead both Ontario’s power play and their success offense against the Gulls.

“It’s a good team and they take advantage of their chances,” said Bouchard. “I think we’re holding on, we’re growing, we’re learning. They’re a great team, don’t get me wrong. They’ve got the top scorer in the league, they’ve got really good players, they’ve done a good job, but I think our guys are doing well. We’re working hard, we’re here. Keep learning and growing.

Frk scored his 38th goal of the season last night for 4-1=5 points in his last two games and a team-leading nine goals against the Gulls this season. He enters tonight at the top of the league with 15 power play goals.

Tynan leads the AHL with 91 points after going 0-4=4 assists in his last two games against the Gulls, earning half of his assists on the power play. He also leads the reign against the Gulls with 2-17=19 points against San Diego this season.

“Yeah, I mean they have a really good power play,” O’Regan said. “They have a lot of good players and they move the puck well. So it’s obviously easier if we take zero or a few penalties rather than four or five. It’s part of the game. I think our numerical inferiority is enough. “

The Gulls allowed just one power-play goal last night, keeping Frk and Tynan at bay on the power play. Key to this effort tonight is the play of goalkeepers, Lukas Dostal and Olle Eriksson Ek.

Dostal put in an incredible effort against the Reign last night, stopping 26 of 28 shots while Eriksson Ek picked up wins in each of his last two games against the Reign (5-1 on March 26 and 4-0 on March 12). March). ).

“We have Dos (Lukas Dostal) or Olle (Eriksson Ek) between the posts,” O’Regan said. “It’s never something that we dread or try not to take penalties or anything. We know they have a great unit and (are) a great attacking team, but that’s nothing to fear or something like that.”

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