The San Diego Gulls punched their ticket to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs with a 6-2 win over the Texas Stars on Friday night in front of a spirited crowd of 7,509 at Valley View Casino Center. In their inaugural AHL season, the Gulls move on to the Pacific Division finals to face the Ontario Reign in a best-of-seven series starting on Thursday, May 5 at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Rebounding from a scary double injury 5:54 into the first period, the Gulls rallied behind backup goalie Matt Hackett (21 saves on 23 shots faced) and a relentless offense paced by Chris Mueller (1-2=3) to win their series over the Stars three games to one. After losing five of six regular season contests, the Gulls came back to outscore the Stars 16-9 in the four-game series.
San Diego defenseman Brandon Montour collided with starting goalie Anton Khudobin at the 5:54 mark of the first period, with both players needing to be helped off the ice. While Khudobin did not return (upper body), Montour (lower body) dramatically came back on the ice just seconds before the puck dropped to start the second period.