San Diego Gulls goaltender Jhonas Enroth. Courtesy of the team
San Diego Gulls goaltender Jhonas Enroth. Courtesy of the team

Spencer Abbott scored twice and Jhonas Enroth made 30 saves as the San Diego Gulls defeated Tucson, 4-1 Saturday evening, their second victory over the host Roadrunners in two nights.

Two rookies who recently joined the Gulls contributed to the victory. Escondido native Austin Ortega had a point in his professional debut and Mitch Hults had his first two assists in his second career game.

Abbott put a wrist shot past goaltender Adin Hill to increase the Gulls lead to 3-1 with nine minutes, six seconds left in the second period. Abbott scored the game’s final goal with 4:57 remaining.

The goals were Abbott’s second and third in his 12 games with the Gulls since being loaned to them March 1 by their NHL parent team, the Anaheim Ducks, the same day they acquired him in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Gulls opened the scoring 15:55 into the first period on Nic Kerdiles’ seventh goal of the season, off assists by Ortega and Kalle Kossila.

Ondrej Kase deflected in a shot by Jeff Schultz 1:09 into the second period to give the Gulls a 2-0 lead before a crowd at the Tucson Convention Center Arena announced at 6,022.

Conor Garland scored the lone goal for the Roadrunners (26-30-7-0) 3:03 into the second period.

The Gulls killed all five of Tucson’s power-play opportunities, including a 1:44 two-man advantage late in the third period. The Gulls were scoreless on their three power-play opportunities.

Enroth has a 12-2-0-0 record, 1.43 goals against average and 0.945 save percentage since being loaned to the Gulls by Ducks on Jan. 10, the same day they acquired him from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a seventh-round choice in the 2018 draft.

Enroth did not play between Feb. 19 and Thursday when he was a backup goaltender for the Ducks when former Gull John Gibson was sidelined with a lower-body injury.

Hill (14-14-6-0) made 16 saves in both the first and second periods and five in the third.

The Gulls announced the signings of Ortega, a right wing who played at Nebraska-Omaha, and Hults, a center who played at Lake Superior State, to amateur tryout agreements on March 20, shortly after the completion of their college careers.

Hults assisted on Kase’s goal and Abbott’s second.

The Gulls completed the season series with the Roadrunners with a 10-1-0- 1 record, including a 6-0-0-0 mark at the Tucson Convention Center Arena. The Gulls defeated Tucson,  the Phoenix Coyotes American Hockey League affiliate, 8- 2, Friday at Tucson, scoring six goals in the first period, their most in their two seasons in the AHL.

Despite the victory, the Gulls (40-17-3-2) remained four points behind the San Jose Barracuda (41-14-2-5) in the race for first place in the Pacific Division. The Barracuda, the San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate, defeated the Manitoba Moose, 6-3, Saturday. The Gulls and San Jose both have six games remaining in the regular season, but do not play each other.

The Gulls will conclude their three-game road trip Wednesday in Stockton. Their next game at Valley View Casino Center will be Friday against the Ontario Reign, the Los Angeles Kings AHL affiliate.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.