The Gulls have dropped 5 straight, are last in the Pacific Division, and have one of the worst records in the young season at 2-5-1-0. The losing streak kicked off on October 26th when the Gulls came out flat against a hot Stockton Heat team, only to then travel to Manitoba and lose two back to back games against the Moose though putting their hearts into each game: the first going to OT and a chance to push the second game into OT, only to come up short by a great play by the Manitoba defensemen in the crease. The Gulls then ventured to Stockton in hopes to turn things around but their woes continued, with the weakest offensive effort we have seen from the team, which isn’t surprising considering we have already been forced to tap into the PTO system and have pulled up several from Utah. In Saturday’s contest, the Gulls lacked all 4 starting centers, making it tougher on draws and line chemistry all around.
By the numbers, things haven’t been pretty in our 5 game stint. The Gulls have been outshot in a majority of the 5 games lost, perhaps surprising considering how many shots the team had put together in the start of the season. Brandon Montour continues to outshoot everyone, leading the league with 53 through 8 games, while Corey Tropp leads in points with 10 accounting towards his name. The defense is trying to blend together and yet things seem to only be getting worse as more goals are finding their way past our goaltenders, causing frustration in the crease. Our penalty kill is second to last in the league at a horrendous 65% (bettered from the 55% we had going into the road trip), but in combo with the second highest PIM a game at just over 20… disaster strikes: 14 power play goals against. The goalies can only do so much regardless of being “hung out to dry” on the power play. Tokarski has a 4.68 GAA while Hackett boasts a 4.94 average. To note, Kevin Boyle made his first AHL start in the 3-2 OT loss in Manitoba boasting a 2.93 GAA. In total, we have the most goals allowed per game at 4.63 and yet only a goal differential of -12. We are now 0-3-1-0 away from “The Nest,” with Stockton tying the record for the most goals ever allowed by the Gulls with 7 last night. In that contest we were missing 8 players including Etem, Morley, MacKinnon, Sorensen, Kossila, and Kerdiles due to injury, with Cramarossa, Sgarbossa, and Kase up with the Ducks.
Craig Elsten said it best: “through thick and thin, stick with the team, being an AHL fan involves realizing that on any given night, a team can be vastly different from its full capability”. The hot Manitoba Moose riding a 4 game winning streak now trek to California where they will open up their trip against the struggling Gulls on a 5 game losing streak this coming Friday and Saturday for our second annual Salute to Hero’s games! Tickets available and military can get free tickets to Saturday’s game, contact the Gulls front office for more information!