Gulls beat Heat for third straight win; celebrate Teddy Bear Toss

SAN DIEGO - Eric Fehr broke a tie with a power-play goal early in the third period and the San Diego Gulls scored another power-play goal and an empty-net goal later in the period in a 4-1 victory over the Stockton Heat Saturday evening.

Mitch Hults scored the Gulls first goal, on a power-play 13 minutes, 59 seconds into the first period, prompting the teddy bear toss by much of the announced crowd of 8,863 at Valley View Casino Center.

Fans were encouraged to bring a new teddy bear to the game, wrap it in plastic and toss it onto the ice when the Gulls scored their first goal.

All bears will be donated to the San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Teddy Bear Drive to benefit Rady Children's Hospital.

More than 16,400 stuffed animals were tossed to the ice. There were 16,520 stuffed animals tossed to the ice during last season's teddy bear toss and 15,174 in 2015 during the Gulls inaugural season in the American Hockey League.

Teddy bear tosses are Christmas season staples in minor league and junior hockey.

The Kamloops (British Columbia) Blazers of the Western Hockey League are credited with being the first team to hold a teddy bear toss, during the 1993-94 season. The WHL's Calgary (Alberta) Hitmen claimed a record when 28,815 bears hit the ice at their Dec. 6, 2015 game.

Left wing Tanner Glass opened the scoring 6:57 into the first period with his first goal in his 13 games this season with the Heat (14-8-1-2), the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate.

Following a scoreless second period, Fehr gave the Gulls the lead with a power-play goal 2:51 into the third period.

Kalle Kossila scored a power-play goal 6:28 into the third period for his fourth goal and sixth point in five games with the Gulls since being returned on loan from the Anaheim Ducks, the Gulls NHL parent team.

Corey Tropp scored an empty-net goal with 1:10 left to assure the Gulls (12-11-1-0) of their third consecutive victory and fifth in their last six games.

The Gulls led 44-29 in shots, including a 14-6 advantage in the second period.

The Gulls league-leading power-play scored on three of its four opportunities. The Gulls are last in the 30-team AHL in penalty killing, but killed both of the Stockton's power-play opportunities Saturday.

Gulls goaltender Kevin Boyle stopped 28 of 29 shots. Eddie Lack made 40 saves for the Heat.

The Gulls will conclude a three-game homestand at Valley View Casino Center Friday against the Ontario Reign, the Los Angeles Kings AHL affiliate.