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The San Diego Gulls lost the opening faceoff in overtime and the Cleveland Monsters kept control of the puck with defenseman Cameron Gaunce scoring 18 seconds into overtime Tuesday evening in a 2-1 victory.
Gaunce took a pass from Zac Dalpe, stepped through a double-team check attempt and caromed a backhanded shot off Gulls center Kalle Kossila past goaltender Reto Berra for his third goal in 48 games with the Monsters this season and first since Jan. 19.
Cleveland (20-29-4-3) tied the score with 10:56 left in regulation on Jordan Schroeder’s shorthanded goal before a crowd announced at 6,259 at Valley View Casino Center.
The Gulls (30-19-2-1) opened the scoring 3:45 into the second period when Giovanni Fiore put a shot from the right faceoff circle past Matiss Kivlenieks for his 16th goal of the season and third in his past two games.
“Not our best game,” Gulls coach Dallas Eakins said after coaching his 500th game in the American Hockey League. “I thought our goalie, I thought our defense was very good. I didn’t love our forwards.”
The Gulls were outshot, 34-24, including a 16-10 disadvantage in the second period when they were held without a shot for more than 10 minutes.
“We had a couple chances but we weren’t getting the pucks on net tonight so that is something we have to work on,” Fiore said.
The Gulls killed all four power-play opportunities by the Monsters, the Columbus Blue Jackets AHL affiliate. The Gulls have killed 19 of their past 20 shorthanded situations (95 percent) and 48 of 51 (94.1 percent) since Jan. 26.
The Gulls league-leading power-play was scoreless in four opportunities.
Berra (13-7-1-0) made 32 saves. Kivlenieks (11-16-2-0) made 23.
Eakins is 269-176-24-31 in three seasons with the Gulls, the Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate, and four with the Toronto Marlies, the Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate.
“I’m not big on milestones,” Eakins said. “I think everybody knows by now how I like to go about it. It’s about the game tonight and that’s it. I would much rather us play better and just get the points.”
The Gulls will next play Friday at Ontario, the Los Angeles Kings AHL affiliate.
— City News Service
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