The San Diego Gulls squandered a three-goal first- period lead in a 4-3 loss to the Ontario Reign Wednesday evening, ending their streak of seven consecutive home games with a standings point.
Ontario defenseman Sean Walker put a shot from the right faceoff circle past Kevin Boyle with 13 minutes to play for the third period’s only goal.
The Gulls were on the power play for the final 3:16 and coach Dallas Eakins pulled Boyle for an extra attacker with 1:22 left, but were unable to score the tying goal before a crowd at Valley View Casino Center announced at 6,618.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Eakins said. “It’s always nice to have a three-goal lead and to let another team chip away at that is definitely not the game plan.”
Sam Steel opened the scoring 3:08 into the first period with the first goal in his six games with the Gulls. Max Jones and Troy Terry scored power- play goals at 16:41 and 19:15 of the first period for the Gulls.
Terry assisted on Jones’ goal, increasing his point streak to 10 games, the longest by a Gull in their four seasons in the American Hockey League and longest in the AHL this season. The streak is the longest by an AHL rookie since San Jose’s Marcus Sorensen’s 10-game streak from Jan. 21-Feb. 25, 2017.
Terry has scored goals in four consecutive games, the longest goal streak by a Gulls rookie and tied for the second-longest goal streak in club history, one game short of tying Brandon Montour’s club record.
“He came down here and he told me he had no confidence,” Eakins said. “We wanted to build that back up. We’ve tried to put him in a spot to succeed. He has fully invested in his development and he’s been excellent. He’s the poster boy of how you should take a demotion from the NHL. He’s going to be a really special player and we look forward to his continued development.”
The Reign began their comeback 4:10 into the second period when Sheldon Rempal put a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle past Boyle for his seventh goal of the season. They cut the lead to 3-2 6:13 into the second period on a power-play goal by Brett Sutter, a son of former Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter, who guided the team to the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014.
Ontario tied the score on Sam Herr’s shorthanded goal 14:02 into the second period.
“I thought in the second period we just let the game get away from us,” Eakins said.
The Gulls were outshot, 33-25, including a 14-8 deficit in the second period.
Boyle (3-3-0-0) made 29 saves. Michael Leighton (1-0-0-0) made 22 saves in his debut with the Reign, five days after the 37-year-old was signed to a professional try out.
Leighton has played in the AHL in parts of 11 seasons. He is a five- time AHL All-Star and won the Baz Bastien Memorial Award in 2008, awarded to the AHL’s best goaltender. He has played in 111 NHL regular-season games with four teams plus 16 games in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Ontario has been in need of a second goaltender after their NHL parent team, the Los Angeles Kings, recalled Cal Petersen Nov. 12 to replace the injured Jack Campbell.
Cole Kehler had been reassigned to the Reign by the Kings from the ECHL’s Manchester Royals Nov. 12, but reassigned to Manchester Tuesday without playing a game for Ontario.
The Gulls scored on two of eight power-play opportunities, the Reign one of five.
The seven-game standings point streak matched the second longest home point streak in the Gulls four seasons in the AHL.
Defensemen Luke Schenn and Chris Forney made their 2018-19 debuts with the Gulls Wednesday, who had two defensemen who played in their previous game, a 4-1 victory over the Bakersfield Condors, Jake Dotchin and Josh Mahura, recalled by their NHL parent team, the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.
Scheen was loaned to the Gulls from the Ducks Sunday while Forney was recalled on loan from the Tulsa Oilers of the ECHL on Monday.
Scheen and Forney did not score Wednesday, each taking one shot.
The Gulls will conclude the season-long five-game homestand Friday night by playing host to the Stockton Heat, the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate, on Hockey Fights Cancer night.
–City News Service