San Diego Gulls v Tucson Roadrunners
San Diego Gulls defenseman Andy Welinski. Photo courtesy of the San Diego Gulls

Kalle Kossila and defenseman Andy Welinski scored in the second period and the San Diego Gulls added two shorthanded empty-net goals in a 4-1 victory over the Pacific Division-leading Tucson Roadrunners Saturday evening.

“That was one of our better team efforts this year,” Gulls coach Dallas Eakins said after his team won its third consecutive game to improve to 23-17-1-0, third in the American Hockey League‘s eight-team Pacific Division, four points behind Tucson.

The Gulls scored four consecutive goals after the Roadrunners (24-14-2- 1) opened the scoring 16 minutes, 16 seconds into the first period on Mario Kempe’s eighth goal of the season.

Kossila scored the Gulls first goal 8:06 into the second period off assists by Nic Kerdiles and Jaycob Megna. Welinski scored a power-play goal 16:36 into the period off assists by Kerdiles and Corey Tropp.

Kossila scored an empty-net goal with one minute, 25 seconds to play and Sam Carrick scored a second with 54 seconds remaining before a crowd at Valley View Casino Center announced at 10,003.

Kevin Boyle (12-8-1-0) stopped 25 of 26 shots for the Gulls, the Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate. Hunter Miska (14-4-0-0) made 32 saves for Tucson, the Arizona Coyotes AHL affiliate.

The Gulls lead in shots, 36-26, including a 20-7 advantage in the first period.

The Gulls killed all four of the Roadrunners power-play opportunities and were one-for-four on the power play.

The Gulls will next play Tuesday, playing host to the Iowa Wild, the Minnesota Wild’s AHL affiliate, at Valley View Casino Center.

— City News Service

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