Gulls Win, Stay in Playoff Chase

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Go figure.

Two days ago, the Gulls were a game away from elimination in the West Division playoff race of the International Hockey League.

Today, they are nipping the heels of Milwaukee again, having closed back to within one point of the fourth and final playoff spot.

Talk about resurgence. In their 7-1 victory over Eastern-Division leading Kalamazoo on Saturday night in Wings Stadium, the Gulls resurrected their spirits as well as their hopes.

It was the biggest winning margin by the Gulls all season. Coupled with their 3-1 victory Friday in Milwaukee, it was the first time since Jan. 19-20 they’ve won back-to-back games.

“It was one of the best games we’ve played all season,” said Coach Mike O’Connell, who had nothing nice to say about this team for a several losing stretches. “Everyone contributed. We had great goaltending and we spread the scoring around.”


The Gulls (30-41-8) scored twice in the first and third periods and three goals in the second. Six players scored, with assistant coach/left wing Charlie Simmer having a two-goal night.

“The players made a commitment to play well down the stretch, and it has shown the last two nights,” O’Connell said.

But the laurels, as they did Friday, rested ultimately with goaltender Alain Chevrier.

Chevrier (10-15-1) had three assists, a club record, and stopped 40 of 41 Kalamazoo shots. Friday he replaced Scott Brower in goal and helped turn back Milwaukee.

Also scoring for the Gulls were Bob Bodak, his second goal, Darcy Norton, his 20th, Soren True, his 22nd, and Joe Stefan, his 13th.

With four games to go, the Gulls and Milwaukee play the same nights. The Gulls play in Phoenix Wednesday and Friday, then finish the regular-season at home Saturday and Sunday against Salt Lake.

Milwaukee, which lost, 7-1, Saturday to Peoria, plays host to the Rivermen again Wednesday and Friday, travels to Kalamazoo Saturday, then closes against Kansas City Sunday.