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The San Diego Gulls will seek their season-high fourth consecutive victory when they play at Ontario Saturday, a day after a penalty- and fight-filled 5-3 victory over the Reign at Pechanga Arena San Diego.

While the Gulls have matched their best 16-game home start in their four seasons in the American Hockey League (9-5-1-1), they have struggled on the road. Their .278 points percentage on the road on a 2-6-0-1 record is the second-worst in the 31-team league, ahead of only the San Antonio Rampage, at .250 on a 3-10-1-0 record.

The Gulls are 0-3-0-1 in their last four road games.

The Gulls have had two previous three-game winning streaks this season.

The combined 28 penalties and three fights Friday night were both the second most for a Gulls game this season behind the 2-1 victory over the Manitoba Moose on Nov. 30 when there were 31 penalties and four fights.

“There’s a lot of bad blood between the teams,” said Gulls rookie left wing Max Jones, who had a goal, an assist and boarding penalty in his seventh game against the Reign, including four in the 2017 Calder Cup playoffs. “It’s just the way it was before and it carries over year to year. That’s what we expected and we were ready for it.”

Ontario’s 17 penalties gave the Gulls a season-high 11 power-play opportunities, but they were only able to score once on the power play.

“It must be a full moon out there tonight because so many crazy things happened,” Gulls coach Dallas Eakins said after his team took sole possession of sixth place in the seven-team Pacific Division from the Reign with an 11-11-1-2 record. “From both goalies falling down to crazy bounces off the wall and some penalties, it was just a nutty night.”

The Gulls killed four of Ontario’s five power-play opportunities, including a two-minute two-man disadvantage midway through the second period.

The Gulls took the lead for good six minutes, 21 into the second period on Andy Welinski’s power-play goal. The Gulls increased their lead to 4- 2 50 seconds later when Jones scored his eighth goal of the season.

The Reign (9-11-3-2) cut the lead to 4-3 with 4:41 left in the second period on Kyle Bauman’s short-handed goal, their second of the game.

The Gulls regained a two-goal lead when Sam Carrick banked the puck off Ontario goaltender Peter Budaj’s stick for his second goal of the game and team-leading 14th of the season, equaling Stockton left wing Kerby Rychel for the most among Pacific Division players.

The Reign opened the scoring 3:03 into the first period on a power- play goal by rookie defensman Austin Strand, his first goal in his four games with Ontario since being reassigned to it by its NHL parent team, the Los Angeles Kings, from its ECHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs.

The Gulls tied the score 5:58 into the period when Carrick scored on a breakaway off Luke Gazdic’s assist before a crowd announced at 8,277.

Ontario regained the lead 9:14 into the period on a short-handed 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.

The Gulls re-tied the score with 2.9 seconds left in the first period on defenseman Luke Schenn’s second goal in 13 games for the Gulls since being loaned to them by their NHL parent club, the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 18.

The Gulls led 32-18 in shots on goal, including a 16-6 advantage in the first period.

Gulls goaltender Kevin Boyle (8-5-0-0) made 15 saves. Budaj (3-6-1-1) made 27 saves as his winless streak grew to five games.

The fights began with 2:15 left in the first period and the Gulls trailing 2-1. Gulls rookie defenseman Simon Benoit engaged in the first fight of his 25-game professional career, brawling with Reign left wing Mikey Eyssimont.

Gazdic was involved in his first fight in his nine games with the Gulls 2:49 into the second period, tangling with Ontario defenseman Kurtis MacDermid.

The final fight occurred with 3:53 left in the second period, 48 seconds after the Reign cut the deficit to 4-3 on Bauman’s short-handed goal. Gulls defenseman Keaton Thompson fought for the first time this season with Ontario center Drake Rymsha the opposing combatant.

All the players involved in fights received five-minute major penalties.

–City News Service