NHL

Gulls outpace Roadrunners with two early power play goals, win 2-1

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Gulls bullied the visiting Tucson Roadrunners both on the scoreboard and on the ice in their 2-1 win on Friday night.

Tucson was off to a hot start with a flurry of shots on goal in the 1st period. However, Gulls' Kevin Boyle stood strong in the net, as he picked up 15 saves in the first 20 minutes to send Tucson to the first intermission with a zero on the scoreboard.

The Gulls, on the other hand, turned two early power play opportunities into two goals in the 1st period separated by just 22 seconds.

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Gulls' Corey Tropp fired in his 18th goal of the season 9:24 minutes into the contest with assists from Kalle Kossila and Shea Theodore.

With the goal, Tropp has extended his goal streak to five games on the season, and he now leads the Gulls with 48 points.

Then, Gulls center Sam Carrick fired another shot past Roadrunners' Adin Hill before the stadium announcer could even clarify San Diego's first goal. Gulls' Max Gortz and Andy Welinski assisted Carrick on the score to put the Gulls up 2-0.

Carrick, who leads the Gulls with 60 games played, now has 14 goals this season.

Likely upset with the score, Roadrunners left wing Mitch Moroz initiated a fight with Gulls' Stu Bickel almost halfway through the 2nd period, a decision he would later regret. Bickel bullied Moroz all the way down to the ice, leading to game misconducts for both players.

The Bickel beat down and some wild fans on Valley View Casino Center's kiss cam kept the crowd alive through a long scoring drought from both teams in the 2nd period.

Roadrunners center Chris Mueller put an end to the drought, slapping in his 12th goal of the season, finishing Christian Fischer's beautiful pass with a strong one-timer into the open net with 1:10 left in the 2nd period. Tucson's Joe Whitney also assisted on the score.

Mueller's goal would be the last of the contest for both Tucson and San Diego, as the Gulls dominated the final period of the game to cruise to an easy 2-1 victory.

An otherwise slow period was again kept alive with some gloveless action, as Gulls right wing Nick Sorensen initiated a fight with Roadrunners' Jarred Tinordi after Tinordi dropped San Diego's Max Gortz with a high, clean hit in the 3rd period. Sorensen came out of the one-sided affair with his head held high, but he was sent off the ice with three separate penalties.

Gulls' Nic Kerdiles also hit the ice hard after a high hit early in the 3rd period. He slowly made his way off the ice with what appeared to be a shoulder injury, which serves as bad news given that he began the season on the injured reserve with an upper body injury.

Boyle earned the third star in tonight's game with 39 saves, while Tropp and Carrick earned the first and second stars, respectively. Boyle is now 9-3 on the season.

With the regulation win, the Gulls are now just one point behind the San Jose Barracudas in the AHL Pacific Division. Having won six of their last seven games, San Diego has momentum as they attempt to dethrone the Barracudas in San Jose on Sunday.

Losing six of their last seven games, the Roadrunners will hang their heads low as they prepare to rebound against Ontario Reign on Saturday.