Gulls Push Late To Force Shootout, Drop Regular Season Finale In Tucson

Apr 29, 2022

By Paige Burnell / SanDiegoGulls.com

The San Diego Gulls ended their regular season with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Tucson Roadrunners tonight at the Tucson Convention Center Arena.

Gulls rookie forward Josh Lopina tied the game with only 6.8 second remaining with his first career American Hockey League goal and Lukas Dostal put up an impressive performance, stopping 34-of-36 shots.

The Gulls and Roadrunners went scoreless through the first 20 minutes of tonight’s action. Dostal stopped all nine shots he faced in the initial frame, with an impressive sequence of four saves near the eight-minute mark.

The Gulls took the first penalty of the game near the onset of the second period, but the penalty kill prevailed against the AHL’s sixth-best power play (20.7% success rate). It would be the first of four successful kills for the Gulls, who will enter the First Round of the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs having killed 10-of-11 power-play opportunities in its last four games.

The momentum didn’t carry over for the Gulls, as Tucson’s Terry Broadhurst opened the scoring for the Roadrunners with his 11th goal of the season at 6:27 of the second period.

Ben McCartney won a battle on the boards and skated the puck across the blueline, passing to Cole Hults at the bottom of the left faceoff circle. The defenseman found Broadhurst as he dropped into the slot and beat Dostal, earning goals in back-to-back games.

The second period reverted into a low-scoring defensive battle until Hudson Fasching doubled the Roadrunners lead to 2-0 with 1:26 remaining.

Oliver Chau cradled the puck around the back of the Gulls net and waited for Fasching as he carved out a lane in the slot and sniped the puck past Dostal. Fasching leads Tucson with 6-4 = 10 points against the Gulls this season and has 3-4 = 7 points in his last seven games.

Chau picked up his fourth assist of the season (0-4 = 4) on the play, earning two of his helpers against the Gulls.

The Gulls recorded only four shots in the second period, matching a season-low for the team in the middle frame.

However, the team found new life in the final frame with late surge of offense, beginning with their first power-play opportunity of the game and ending with Lopina’s first professional goal.

Bryce Kindopp capitalized on the man advantage with his 12th goal of the season, cutting the Roadrunners lead to 2-1 at with just over 10 minutes remaining.

Greg Pateryn and Danny O’Regan volleyed the puck in the top right corner of the offensive zone. Pateryn then fired the puck at the net through traffic and Kindopp caught sight of it, tipping the puck in past Tucson goaltender Ivan Prosvetov.

A late power play didn’t help the Roadrunners, as theyonce again couldn’t beat the Gulls’ air-tight penalty kill. San Diego flipped momentum with the kill, pulling Dostal for the extra attacker.

Lucas Elvenes missed an opportunity for a rebound at the front of the net, but he scooped up the puck and took it behind Prosvetov. He found O’Regan, who snapped the puck across the ice to Lopina. The former UMass forward sent his shot past Prosvetov – and the game into overtime – with his milestone marker.

O’Regan assisted on both San Diego goals (0-2 = 2) for his eighth multi-point effort of the season. He led Gulls players against Tucson this season with 3-8 = 11 points through the team’s eight-game season series.

In an overtime rarity, both teams earned power-play chances – with Tucson’s coming early and San Diego’s near the middle of the extra session. Both teams generated high-quality scoring chances, but neither could find the back of the net, forcing the regular season finale into the shootout.

Prosvetov’s excellent play continued as he left the Gulls scoreless in the shootout. Colin Theisen scored to earn the first shootout tally of his career. Broadhurst, who scored Tucson’s first goal of the game, sealed the deal with the second shootout tally.

The Gulls are set to start their First Round series with the Ontario Reign on Wednesday, May 4 at 7 pm at Toyota Arena.

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button