The Gulls lost the opening game of their AHL Pacific Division championship series to the Reign on Thursday night in Ontario. It’s not the kind of setback that anyone should worry about.
On Saturday night the series comes to Valley View Casino Center (puck drops at 7:05), where San Diego went 4-and-2 against the Reign this season. In fact, the Gulls were 6-4-1-1 against the Reign in their inaugural American Hockey League campaign, making them the only team in the entire league to have a winning record against Ontario.
The secret to this series can be found in the penalty box. The Gulls have the 3rd-best power play in the American Hockey League. However, the Reign have the number one penalty kill unit in the AHL. If San Diego can get on the board on special teams they'll have a good chance to even this series up.
If they get a power play goal that’s the first goal of the game, that would be even better. In their 13 games the team that scored first has won every single time. If the Gulls can take the lead at the 2nd intermission, it will be GAME OVER.
San Diego is 31-0-0-0 when leading after 40 minutes of hockey. I suppose we should not be surprised to see that kind of late dominance in San Diego. We did get to watch Trevor Hoffman close for years.