SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Gulls dropped their first game vs. the Ontario Reign by a score of 4-1. The Gulls, who downed the Reign twice during the preseason, return to Ontario five more times this season and matchup vs. the Reign six times in San Diego.
Michael Mersch, who leads Ontario in goals and ranks tied for second in points, opened scoring at 8:44 of the first period, his sixth of the season. Mersch put in a rebound after a blocked shot by Gulls goalie John Gibson.
The Reign extended their lead to three with consecutive goals by Adrian Kempe, his second and third of the season. Kempe’s first goal, at 1:27 of the second period, was assisted by Crescenzi and LoVerde while Ebert and Backman added helpers on his second goal.
San Diego answered with a goal by Brian McGrattan, his first of the season, but Ontario responded with a power play goal after Tim Jackman was sent to the box for holding. Ontario’s fourth goal of the game was Adrian Kempe’s third, giving him a hat trick in the first 35 minutes of play.
San Diego’s Brian McGrattan dropped the gloves with Ontario’s Paul Bissonnette, McGrattan’s first fight of the season, but the increased level of physicality didn’t change the pace.
Stu Bickel and Kurtis MacDermid dropped the gloves later in the period, making for a physical yet scoreless final frame.
The Gulls continue up the coast for a day contest against the San Jose Barracuda on Saturday, Nov. 7, before the Ducks and Sharks, San Diego and San Jose’s respective NHL affiliates, face off that same night, also in San Jose.