Gulls Look Pretty in Pink, Beat Wild

San Diego wears special charity sweaters and continues winning streak

On Friday morning the Gulls held a skatearound at Pechanga Arena. It’s common practice for hockey teams to get on the ice the day of a game but it’s not common practice for them to actually hold a practice.

Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins doesn’t believe in “just skating around.” He wants his guys improving all the time.

“That’s time on the ice for me,” said Eakins after that morning skate. “We’re gonna invest that time. We’re not just gonna go out and spend it by doing nothing drills. This morning we’ve made some tweaks to our penalty kill. We really wanted to practice that. It never ends, nor should it.”

Eakins’ investment is paying off. The Gulls came off the All-Star break with a 6-1 demolition of Ontario on Friday night and chased that with a 4-1 win over Iowa on Saturday. Over those two games the Reign and Wild combined to go 1-for-9 on power plays so the tweaks have worked swimmingly.

The Gulls took the lead in the 1st period, much to the delight of the 10,000-plus fans in attendance. Kalle Kossila faked a shot and made a perfect pass to Andy Welinski for a one-timer to put San Diego on top 1-0 just 3:52 into the game.

Less than two minutes later they doubled the lead with pure hustle from a rookie. When Wild goalie Andrew Hammond couldn’t get the puck off the board behind the net 20-year-old Max Jones ripped it from him and stuffed it into the open net. That goal turned out to be the game-winner but they got a couple more for fun.

Chase De Leo scored his 11th of the year at the start of the 3rd period and Sam Steel erased any doubt with an empty net goal in the final minute. Gulls goalie Kevin Boyle kept up his stellar play, stopping 24 of the 25 shots he faced.

It was also “Pink in the Rink Night” with the Gulls all wearing special pink sweaters, which will be auctioned off with the money going to women’s health charities. “Pink in the Rink” is something every team in the AHL and NHL will do during the season.

The Gulls have won three straight games to move into 2nd place in the Pacific Division and get another shot at last place Ontario on Wednesday night at Pechanga Arena.

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