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The San Diego Gulls will head to Ontario Saturday for a rematch with the Reign, a day after a 1-0 loss that left coach Dallas Eakins seeking a commitment to shorter shifts and a stronger work ethic from his 12 forwards.
“We’re going to have to out-work that team,” Eakins said. They’re bigger than us and they look a bit stronger than us. We’re going to need more will.”
The Gulls were out-shot, 42-27, including 14-3 in the first period.
“We didn’t get many second chances, but you have to work to get your second chances,” Eakins said.
The loss Friday came despite 41 saves by goaltender Leland Irving, tying the three-season-old American Hockey League’s franchise record, which was set by Anton Khudobin on Feb. 27, 2016.
“I just thought we wasted an unbelievable goaltending performance by Leland Irving,” Eakins said after his team fell to 4-4-1-0. “It’s nights like tonight when you should be feeling great after the game. Your goalie stands on his head. I just thought our forwards really let us down tonight.”
Center Philippe Maillet scored the lone goal eight minutes, two seconds into the first period with Ontario on a five-on-three power play because of high-sticking and tripping penalties by Sam Carrick and Deven Sideroff.
Reign right wing Jonny Brodzinski held in a clearing attempt by Gulls defenseman Brian Cooper, knocking down a loose puck in the slot. Brodzinski fed T.J. Hensick in the low left circle, who sent a cross-ice pass to Maillet, who put a shot past Irving for his second goal of the season.
The Gulls killed Ontario’s three other power-play opportunities, all in the first period, but were scoreless on their three power plays.
Eakins pulled Irving with 1:46 left for a sixth attacker, but the Gulls, the Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate, were unable to score the equalizer against the Los Angeles Kings AHL affiliate.
Rookie goaltender Cal Petersen made 27 saves for his first victory of the season for Ontario (3-6-0-0) after three losses before a crowd at Valley View Casino Center announced at 10,591.
Gulls defenseman Steve Oleksy and Reign center Andrew Crescenzi drew five-minute major penalties for their fight 4:54 into the first period.
— City News Service
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