The San Diego Gulls ended their scoreless streak at 120 minutes, 26 seconds with Escondido native Austin Ortega’s goal 24 seconds into the second period, but were unable to score again in a 3-1 loss to the Ontario Reign Saturday evening in Ontario.
Defenseman Zach Leslie scored the tie-breaking goal 4:01 into the third period and Brett Sutter added an empty net goal with 51 seconds to play as Ontario (35-20-10-0) beat the Gulls (40-20-3-2) for the second time in two nights.
Reign defenseman Vincent LoVerde opened the scoring 9:34 into the first period on a shot from the point Gulls goaltender Dustin Tokarski was unable to stop. LoVerde scored a power-play goal in the Ontario’s 4-0 victory over the Gulls Friday night at Valley View Casino Center.
Ortega deflected a wrist shot by Nate Guenin for the second goal and third point of his four-game professional career. The Gulls announced Ortega’s signing to an amateur tryout agreement on March 20, shortly after the completion of his college career at Nebraska-Omaha.
The Gulls were scoreless in their five power-play opportunities and have failed to score on nine consecutive power-play opportunities dating back to Wednesday’s 5-3 loss at Stockton, the start of the Gulls three-game losing streak
Reign goaltender Jack Campbell (31-14-6-5) stopped 27 of 28 shots, including all 12 he faced in the third period, a day after making 30 saves in his second shutout of the Gulls this season and fifth overall.
Tokarski (16-8-0-1) stopped 23 of 25 shots for his second consecutive loss after winning seven consecutive decisions.
Sutter also received an assist on Leslie’s goal for his shot that Leslie deflected into the net. Sutter is a son of Darryl Sutter, the coach of the Los Angeles Kings, Ontario’s NHL parent team.
The three-game losing streak by the Gulls, the Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate, is their longest since a seven-game losing streak from Dec. 10-27 that included a shootout loss and an overtime loss. The losing streak in regulation is the longest since a five-game streak from Dec. 10-17.
Gulls center Tyler Soy did not score or take a shot in his professional debut, which came the same day as his signing to an amateur tryout agreement was announced.
Making their season debuts for the Gulls were right wing Deven Sideroff, whose assignment to the Gulls by the Ducks was also announced Saturday, and defenseman James Melindy, whose signing to a professional tryout agreement was announced Friday.
Sideroff took two shots and drew a two-minute minor penalty for interference in the third period. Melindy did not record any statistics.
The game was the second of four between the teams in a nine-day span to conclude the regular season. They will also play Friday in Ontario and next Saturday at Valley View Casino Center.
The teams are also expected to play each other in a best-of-five series to open the Calder Cup playoffs.
The Gulls have five-point lead over the Reign in the race for second place and home ice advantage. Both teams have three games remaining.
Ontario wore green camouflage jerseys in connection with Military Appreciation Night, which drew a crowd announced at 9,491 to Citizens business Bank Arena.
The Gulls will next play Wednesday against the Bakersfield Condors, the Edmonton Oilers AHL affiliate, at Valley View Casino Center.
–City News Service
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