Return and rebound; Roadrunners top Gulls 4-1 in San Diego
By: Alexander Kinkopf
December 27, 2017 10:26 PM
They returned from the holiday break the right way.
The Roadrunners earned their second-ever regulation victory at the Valley View Casino Center and simultaneously snapped the San Diego Gulls’ five-game win streak in Wednesday night’s 4-1 win. Try writing that script again.
A refreshing win it was for a club that was coming off a pair of losses on home ice over the weekend.
Stingy they were – holding the Gulls’ power play, which came into the night atop the AHL, scoreless on six of its seven man advantage opportunities.
Adin Hill, called upon to make his second consecutive start and his 12th of the season, received offensive support from the get-go.
While working on the team’s first power play of the evening, Nick Merkley, with time and space atop the right circle in San Diego’s zone, beat Reto Berra with a blistering wrist shot to give the Roadrunners a 1-0 lead 2:25 into the contest.
Merkley’s goal was his eighth on the power play this season; he leads all rookies in that department.
At the midway point of the first after Merkley was denied on a breakaway opportunity, Michael Bunting followed the play with strong pursuit, jamming a second opportunity into the net for his eighth goal of the season to give the Roadrunners a 2-0 lead.
Bunting’s goal gave him 10 points (4G, 6A) in his last 10 games.
Corey Tropp got the Gulls on the board 7:26 into the second period, cutting the Roadrunners’ lead to 2-1.
In the opening stages of the third, Tyler Gaudet swatted a bouncing puck past Reto Berra and into the net to give the Roadrunners a 3-1 lead.
Gaudet’s goal, his sixth of the season, matches his season total from last year.
Mike Sislo gave the Roadrunners a 4-1 lead with 12:38 left to play as he beat a Gulls defenseman in pursuit of a loose puck in the neutral zone.
The Roadrunners’ win was only their third-ever in San Diego, and their second in regulation time. Their only previous regulation win at the Valley View Casino Center came on February 18, 2017.
Adin Hill stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced to earn his sixth win of the season.
The club’s record now stands at 14-9-2-1, good for a .596 win percentage, situating them at third-place in the Pacific Division. They improved to 6-2-1-1 in opposing buildings this season, the second-best mark in the Western Conference.
The team will continue its three-game road trip Friday night when they take on the Bakersfield Condors at Rabobank Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 8:00 PM MST.
Photos courtesy: San Diego Gulls