Joseph Blandisi scored the shorthanded game-winning goal with five minutes, 17 seconds to play Friday evening as the San Diego Gulls defeated the Manitoba Moose, 2-1, at the Valley View Casino Center.
Blandisi skated out of the Gulls zone along the right wing and put a shot from the right faceoff circle past Eric Comrie for his second goal in his 13 games with the Gulls this season.
Moose coach Pascal Vincent pulled Comrie with less than two minutes to play for a sixth attacker. A slashing penalty to Gulls defenseman Steve Oleksy with 37.9 seconds to play gave Manitoba a six-on-four advantage, but it was unable to score the tying goal.
“I am extremely proud of our group,” said Gulls coach Dallas Eakins, whose team had lost three of its previous four games. “They stuck together. I thought, instead of playing with each other, they played for each other tonight. I thought that was really evident in the game and a big reason why we won.”
Right wing Jansen Harkins opened the scoring for the Moose (10-10-1-0) 14:54 into the first period with an unassisted goal.
The Gulls (8-7-1-1) tied the score 52 seconds later. Isac Lunderstrom won the faceoff, Max Jones took control of the puck near the boards, freed himself from defenseman Peter Stoykewych, skated toward the net and put the puck past Comrie on his second try for his fourth goal in his 14 games with the Gulls this season.
“I found that puck in the corner and my first instinct was I’m going to roll off this guy and get right to the net and that’s what I did,” Jones said. “There was a lot of space in front for me to get another whack at it.”
The second period was scoreless.
The Gulls outshot Manitoba, 34-14, including a 15-4 advantage in the third period before a crowd announced at 8,858.
Gulls goaltender Jared Coreau (3-3-1-1) stopped all 10 shots he faced over the final two periods for the victory. Kevin Boyle was removed by Eakins after the first period when he allowed one goal on three shots.
Comrie (7-6-1-0) made 32 saves for the Moose, the Winnipeg Jets AHL affiliate. Comrie’s father Bill and uncle Fred each owned 40 percent of the International Hockey League version of the Gulls in the early 1990s, while another uncle, John owned 10 percent.
The Gulls were scoreless on all seven of their power-play opportunities. Manitoba was scoreless on all eight of their power-play opportunities.
There were 30 penalties called for 108 penalty minutes. Gulls right wing Corey Tropp was involved in two of the game’s four fights and was assessed 34 minutes in penalties. He received an automatic game misconduct penalty when he was involved in his second fight.
In his first fight of the game, with former Gull Logan Shaw, Tropp received a 10-minute misconduct for instigating.
Gulls defenseman Ben Thomson was involved in a fight for the second consecutive game.
Oleksy and Manitoba center Felix Girard drew five-minute major penalties for their second-period fight.
Gulls center Sam Carrick drew a match penalty for a check to the head with 53 seconds left in the second period.
“It was a war out there,” Blandisi said. “They don’t like us and we definitely don’t like them. It’s fun to be a part of though.”
The teams will meet again March 17 and 19 in Winnipeg.
Earlier Friday, the Anaheim Ducks, the Gulls NHL parent team, announced they had recalled defenseman Josh Mahura from the Gulls and reassigned defenseman Andrej Sustr and center Kalle Kossila to them.
Sustr took five shots Friday. Kossila did not play.
The Gulls will resume play Monday, playing at San Jose.
— City News Service
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