The San Diego Gulls squandered a three-goal lead and lost in a shootout for the first time this season after four victories in a 5-4 loss to the Stockton Heat Sunday in Stockton.
The Gulls took a 3-0 lead 10 minutes, 53 seconds into the game. Kevin Roy scored on a partial breakaway at 59 seconds, Andy Welinski scored a power- play goal at 6:38 when the Gulls had a two-man advantage and Giovanni Fiore put a shot past Tyler Parsons at 10:53, their third goal in nine shots.
Fiore’s goal prompted Stockton coach Ryan Huska to replace Parsons with Ryan Faragher, who played five games for the Gulls in the 2015-16 season.
Faragher would stop 18 of the 19 shots he faced in the remainder of regulation and the five-minute overtime, only allowing Fiore’s goal 2:47 into the second period, for his second victory over the Gulls in eight days.
The Heat (27-19-2-3) began their comeback on Andrew Mangiapane’s power- play goal at 14:38 of the first period. The goal ended the Gulls streak of 17 consecutive penalties killed over a six-game span.
Stockton was on the power play because Gulls right wing Corey Tropp was called for cross-checking, then given an unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty for arguing with a referee, then a game misconduct for abuse of officials.
“It was terrible to lose one of your top three forwards,” Gulls coach Dallas Eakins said. “He is extremely important to us.
Tropp is fourth on the Gulls in scoring with 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points.
Stockton cut the lead to 3-2 90 seconds after Mangiapane’s goal on Morgan Klimchuk’s goal before a crowd announced at 3,523 at Stockton Arena.
After the Gulls (30-19-1-1) regained a two-goal lead on Fiore’s second goal of the game, the Heat moved back within a goal with 9:24 left in the second period when Tyler Wotherspoon put a wrist shot from the slot past Kevin Boyle.
Stockton tied the score with 12:26 left in regulation when Brent Pollock scored on a breakaway eight seconds after he left the penalty box for a hooking penalty.
The Gulls were held without a shot during the five-minute overtime, with Boyle stopping all three of the Heat’s shots.
The shootout was tied, 1-1, after each team took three shots, forcing it into the sudden death phase. Both teams failed to score on their next two shots. The Gulls also failed to score on their shot in the sixth round, but Hunter Shinkaruk scored to give Stockton its second victory in five shootouts this season.
“I think the greatest lesson is — one that went against us — is that you are never out of a game anymore,” Eakins said. “The old days of being up two goals and that was it, the way you can play back then, hook and hold and get away with everything, those days are gone.
“It doesn’t matter if you are down three, or down four, you are not out of a game, ever. It’s important to realize that.”
The Gulls league-leading power play scored on the first of its in four opportunities. The Heat, the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate, scored on one of its five power-play opportunities.
Boyle (16-9-1-1) made 40 saves.
Ryan Faragher is 2-0-0-0 in three games since Stockton signed him to a professional tryout agreement on Feb. 14 after playing 20 games this season for the Idaho Steelheads, the Dallas Stars ECHL affiliate.
“He is a kid who worked extremely hard when he was here,” Eakins said. “We enjoyed having him and I thought he played an excellent game when he came in.”
The Gulls will next play Tuesday, playing host to the Cleveland Monsters, the Columbus Blue Jackets AHL affiliate, at the Valley View Casino Center.
— City News Service