The Gulls followed their worst defeat of the season with perhaps their most significant victory this season, beating the Milwaukee Admirals, 4-1, in front of 10,359 at the Bradley Center.
The Gulls, who lost 9-0 Friday at Indianapolis, came back to defeat Milwaukee for the third time this week and put more distance between themselves and the Admirals for the last playoff spot in the International Hockey League’s Western Division.
The Gulls scored three goals in the first period, two on the power play, and goalie Scott Brower recorded his third victory of the week while allowing six goals in three games against Milwaukee.
“I don’t want to go that far, but we did play very well,” said Coach Mike O’Connell, when asked if this was the Gulls’ biggest victory this season. “I’m happy with the way we bounced back from Friday’s loss. We talked about it before the game and decided to forget it and go on with the business at hand.
“This goes to show you how one game can turn you around.”
The Gulls are 21-21-4 with 46 points, good enough for third place in the IHL West. They started the week two points ahead of the fourth-place Milwaukee (18-23-3, 39 points). They now lead the Admirals by seven points and have a chance to increase that margin in a 3 p.m. (CST) game at Milwaukee today.
The Gulls now have the eighth-best record in the IHL. Milwaukee is ninth.
This game produced a Gulls’ season low in penalty minutes: eight. The Gulls received only one penalty totaling two minutes. These same two teams combined for 150 penalty minutes in the Gulls’ 4-3 victory Tuesday at the Sports Arena.
Ron Stern opened the scoring for Milwaukee six minutes and 49 seconds into the first period, then Gulls Ron Duguay, Darren Lowe and Steve Martinson struck for three goals in a 2:30 span to make it 3-1. Dennis Holland scored his team-leading 19th goal for the Gulls in the second period.
Duguay and Martinson scored on the power play, and the Gulls were 2-for-3 in power-play opportunities after coming into the game 5-for-54 in that department.
Brower (7-7-3) stopped 25 of 26 shots and picked up his first road victory as the Gulls snapped a seven-game road losing streak.