SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Gulls will try to even their Calder Cup playoff series against the Ontario Reign at one game a piece Saturday when they play Game 2 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.
The Gulls allowed the game-winning goal in Game 1 of the best-of-five series with 11.7 seconds left after overcoming a two-goal deficit to tie the score in a 3-2 loss Friday at Valley View Casino Center.
“I thought we outplayed them,” said Gulls left wing Nic Kerdiles, whose shorthanded goal at 13:59 of the second period tied the score, 2-2.
“I thought we had a lot of chances out there. We have to convert definitely. We had more chances that we could have easily put in, (we) just didn’t bury.”
The Gulls led in shots, 34-30.
On the winning goal, Adrian Kempe took the puck from Gulls defenseman Andrew Welinski behind the Gulls’ net and found Jonny Brodzinski who tapped in the puck for his second goal of the game.
“We tried to slow the play down and we took too long,” Gulls coach Dallas Eakins said. “We got ourselves in a spot where we didn’t have any more options. It was an unfortunate mistake.”
Center Sam Carrick, who scored the Gulls first goal 10:03 into the second period, called the winning goal, “just a tough play.”
“Towards the end of the period here the ice starts to get a little bad and I think we got to keep things a little more simple,” Carrick said.
“It’s just one of those plays where it could have gone either way. I think it was a little bit of a fumble, you know the puck bounced.”
Brodzinski opened the scoring 12:34 into the first period off assists by Kempe and Sam Herr before a crowd announced at 9,075.
T.J. Hensick gave Ontario, the Los Angeles Kings American Hockey League affiliate, a 2-0 lead 5:49 into the second period when he put a wrist shot past Gulls goaltender Jhonas Enroth. Michael Mersch and Herr were credited with assists.
The Gulls, the Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate, were awarded a penalty shot when Nick Sorensen was hooked on a breakaway 6:45 into the second period.
Sorensen faked to his backhand and lost control of the puck on the penalty shot.
The Gulls failed to score on both their power-play opportunities. They killed all three of the Reign’s power-play opportunities, two which came when the Gulls were called for too many men on the ice penalties in the second period.
Enroth stopped 27 of 30 shots. Jack Campbell made 32 saves, including 11 in both the first and second periods, for Ontario.
“It looked like that one was going to a fourth period,” Eakins said. “That’s the kind of game we are going to get. They are going to be close and the team that leaves the least amount on the table is going to win.”