Chase De Leo scored the tie-breaking goal with one minute, 31 seconds to play and the San Diego Gulls scored twice more in the final 1:11 as they extended their season-high winning streak to seven games with a 7-4 victory over the Stockton Heat Wednesday evening in Stockton.
De Leo took a pass from Adam Cracknell and put a slap shot from just outside the left faceoff circle past Jon Gillies for his eighth goal of the season.
“I just saw he was wide open,” said Cracknell, whose short-handed goal 3:18 into the second period gave the Gulls a 4-3 lead. “I tried to make the d-man bite and the goalie freeze a little bit. That gave him enough time to put it on his stick and in the back of the net.”
Sam Carrick put in a rebound of a shot by Jaycob Megna 20 seconds later for his 19th goal of the season, tied with two others for second in the American Hockey League and most by Pacific Division players, who play fewer games than teams in the AHL’s other three divisions.
Joseph Blandisi added an empty-net goal with 30 seconds to play as the Gulls extended their streak with at least one standings point to 12 games, matching their longest in their four seasons in the AHL.
AHL teams receive two standings points for any type of victory and one point for a loss in overtime or a shootout.
Defenseman Korbinian Holzer scored his first two goals of the season in his second game this season with the Gulls after being reassigned to them Sunday by their NHL parent team, the Anaheim Ducks. Holzer scored a power-play goal 11:49 into the first period and put a shot from between the faceoff circles 2:29 into the second period for his second goal, tying the score, 3-3.
Stockton center Alan Quine completed a hat trick with a power-play goal with 10:53 left in the second period that tied the score, 4-4. Quine’s goals at 15:18 and 16:00 of the first period gave the Heat a 3-2 lead before a crowd at Stockton Arena announced at 2,128.
Kevin Boyle (14-5-0-0) made 25 saves in his ninth consecutive victory, extending the longest streak by a Gulls goaltender in their four seasons in the AHL. Gillies (5-10-3-0) made 34 in his first game with Stockton after being returned on loan by its NHL parent team, the Calgary Flames.
Both teams scored in the opening 3:23. Gulls center Sam Steel opened the scoring 1:26 into the first period with his eighth goal of the season. Glenn Gawdin put in a rebound of a shot by Michael Paliotta at 3:23 of the first period for his eighth goal of the season for the Heat (15-17-3-0).
The Gulls scored on one of three power-play opportunities and killed three of Stockton’s four.
The Gulls (18-11-1-3) are off to their best start through 33 games in their four AHL seasons with 40 points, one more than they had in 33 games in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.
The victory was Dallas Eakins 136th as Gulls coach, the most wins by a coach of an Anaheim Ducks primary affiliate. Eakins previous shared the record with Kevin Dineen, who guided the Portland Pirates to a 135-76-13-16 record from 2005-08.
“It’s not a big deal to me,” said Eakins, who has a 136-82-11-8 record with the Gulls. “We’ve been blessed here with very good players and I’m just concerned about what we’re going to do tomorrow.”
The Gulls will play the third game of their four-game road trip Friday at Milwaukee.
— City News Service
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