Gulls Use Name Game to Defeat Golden Eagles
The Gulls have a name for the three players that currently make up the International Hockey League’s No. 1 offensive front.
The Gulls are promoting center Len Hachborn and wings Dmitri Kvartalnov and Robbie Nichols as the “Hot Line.” It is an apt name, considering the way the three have played for almost a third of the season.
And in front of 6,262 at the San Diego Sports Arena Friday night the line was ringing up points and turning the Gulls’ 9-1 victory over the Salt Lake Golden Eagles into a rout midway through the second period.
With five goals in the second period--three from the potent line--the Gulls beat a Salt Lake team short on talent but with plenty of heart. The victory gave the third-place Gulls (15-11-0, 30 points) their best record in club history and a three-point cushion over the Eagles (13-15-1, 27 points) in the West standings. They also moved to within two points of second-place Peoria (15-11-2, 32 points), which lost Friday.
“They got things started for us,” Coach Don Waddell said of his top line. “And as we got rolling, a lot of other guys contributed, which was nice to see. We moved the puck real well. That’s about as good as you can go.”
Hachborn, Kvartalnov and Nichols were responsible for 38% of the Gulls scoring coming into the crucial two-game series with the Golden Eagles, having scored 100 of the team’s 260 points in 25 games before Friday.
The line accounted for three goals and six assists in this game, as the Gulls set a team record with their nine goals. Nichols had two goals and an assist. Hachborn, the IHL assist leader with 28, had a goal and two assists. Kvartalnov, leader in goals (23) and points (44), had three assists.
“It’s a nice line to be on,” said Nichols. “Things are really going well for us right now. I felt like things were going super tonight. I think we could have scored more.”
The five second-period goals, also a club record, gave the Gulls a 6-0 lead.
The Gulls outshot Salt Lake, 32-8, in the first 40 minutes, but they didn’t score until 3:39 remained in the first period when Nichols stuffed in a rebound. At 2:43 into the second period, defenseman Dave Korol blasted one between the legs of goalie Warren Sharples.
Then came a string of four goals within seven minutes. Kvartalnov was hit at center ice but managed to get the puck to Hachborn, who passed to Nichols for his second score on a breakaway, making it 3-0. Hachborn, streaking to the crease for a pass from Kvartalnov, slammed on the breaks and scored.
Then Darcy Norton and Soren True scored--6-0, Gulls.
And it continued into the third period. Sergei Starikov scored. Steve Martinson scored. Then True scored again. Salt Lake didn’t score until 2:50 remained, spoiling a shutout bid by Gull goalie Rick Knickle (11-3).
The Gulls and Eagles will play again at 7 tonight at the Sports Arena . . . Waddell’s decision to release 14-goal scorer Brent Sapergia after his 25-game contract expired this week was aided by the acquisition of another talented young forward: Glen Goodall. Goodall, demoted by the New York Rangers, may not be the product of another slick front office move by Waddell, a la Dmitri Kvartalnov, Len Hachborn and Ray Whitney. But Goodall, 21, a center, could be another hidden gem. Drafted in the 10th round by the Detroit Red Wings in 1988, Goodall now is considered a Rangers prospect after he scored 41 points (18 goals) with the American Hockey League’s Adirondack Red Wings last year.