SAN DIEGO, CA- The San Diego Gulls used an explosive second period to break a 1-1 tie and coast to a 5-1 victory over the Texas Stars Saturday. The defeat would be Texas’ first of the year, as they fall to 3-1-0. After a tight 1-1 opening period, in which the Gulls held an 8-7 edge in shots, San Diego would dominate play. The Gulls outshot Texas 21-13 over the final 40 minutes and outscored them by a 4-0 count during that time. The Gulls played very well and earned their victory tonight.
The first period would be delayed by glass issues for about 25 minutes as crews worked to replace a loose pane. When it did start, it would be a back and forth affair that saw each team control play for long stretches. Texas would be first to go on the attack, as the Stars put Gulls netminder Kevin Boyle under pressure early. Boyle would come up big though, and keep the Stars off the board. San Diego would then take the initiative and go on the attack, breaking the ice 5:20 into period one. The Gulls used an aggressive forecheck to force a Texas turnover as Jacob Larsen knocked the puck loose towards Corey Tropp. Tropp directed it to a wide-open Alex Dostie who converted for his first of the campaign.
Texas would respond though, and find an equalizer 3:06 before intermission. San Diego stole the puck and looked to be on the rush when they overskated the puck, then turned it over as they tried to recover. Cole Ully picked up the puck for Texas and carried it into the zone. He fired a shot that was deflected on net by Travis Morin, forcing a very nice save by Boyle. Boyle couldn’t find the rebound though, and Jason Dickinson picked it up and deposited it to send us to break level at one.
San Diego would take complete control of the game during the middle stanza, and they started early. Just 1:12 in it was 2-1 Gulls when Kalle Kossila dropped it to Steve Oleksy who sent a seeing-eye wrister through traffic and past Mike McKenna to put the Gulls on top for good. They would not be finished scoring though and made it 3-1 halfway thru the frame when Oleksy and Kossila teamed up to find Mike Liambis for his first tally of 2017-18.
Texas was still only down two at that point, but a killer blow would be struck by San Diego with just 22 seconds left in the middle period. The Stars turned it over in their zone, leading to a three-on-two for the Gulls. Kevin Roy carried the puck into the zone, dragging it towards the slot as he scanned his options. He then quickly fired an arrow past a screen and into the top corner, and the Gulls led 4-1 after two.
Texas never had a chance to get a rally started in the third, as San Diego locked it down. Shots were 11-5 San Diego in the period and 29-20 Gulls overall on the night. The only goal of the final frame belonged to San Diego when Giovani Fiore found the back of the net on the power play with 4:24 to play.
San Diego would win it 5-1 and split the weekend set with the Stars, who are now 3-1-0. The Stars now return home for the first two games of a three-game weekend with the rival San Antonio Rampage. The first game is Friday, October 20, at 7:30CT.
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