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Gulls Catch Golden Eagles on the Rebound : Hockey: One night after a 10-1 loss, San Diego rallies from a two-goal deficit for a 7-3 victory.

From Staff and Wire Reports

The Gulls put Friday’s embarrassing loss behind them and can now look forward to Christmas break.

After suffering their worst loss in almost a year, the Gulls rebounded Saturday night with a 7-3 International Hockey League victory over Salt Lake, in front of 8,185 at the Delta Center.

Salt Lake on Friday night handed the Gulls a startling 10-1 defeat. Their comeback Saturday began after the first period, where they fell behind the Golden Eagles, 3-1. In the second period, the Gulls regrouped and scored five goals within a 7:27 span to take a 7-3 lead and turn the game around.

“The guys were feeling pretty good at the morning skate,” Coach Don Waddell said. “All I heard them talking about was getting back into third place. I was hoping we’d be able to put Friday’s loss behind us, and we were.”

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The victory evened the series against Salt Lake at 4-4 and moved the Gulls (18-14-0) back into third place in the IHL West, with 36 points. Salt Lake (16-17-3) fell to fourth with 35 points.

The game also brought back memories of two weeks ago, when the Gulls defeated Salt Lake 9-1 on Dec. 6, then the Golden Eagles came back for 3-2 win the next night.

Salt Lake jumped to a 3-1 lead in the first. Shawn Heaphy, on the power play, scored his 16th goal of the year, followed by former Gull Dennis Holland, who made it 2-0. At 15:33, Ray Whitney got his 11th goal of the year to pull to 2-1, but Heaphy scored again, with three seconds left in the period.

“After the first period,” Waddell said, “I think the guys realized that they wanted to enjoy themselves over the Christmas break. We weren’t playing badly early on, but I could sense we were getting a bit frustrated.”

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Kord Cernich opened the Gulls’ scoring bonanza in the second, and Whitney tied the game on a power-play goal at 13:31. He now has 12 goals in the 13 games he’s played. At 14:17, Denny Lambert gave the Gulls their first lead, on a feed off a steal by Keith Gretzky.

Robbie Nichols scored shorthanded, his 10th goal of the year and Lambert wrapped up the second-period binge with a goal at 18:12.

Alan Hepple scored his first goal in 32 games and the only third-period goal, at 18:06. That Gulls 7-3 lead held.

The Gulls outshot Salt Lake, 35-28. Winning goalie Bruce Hoffort (3-4) stopped 25 of 28 shots, including 16 of the last 16 shots he faced in the second and third periods. Warren Sharples was the losing goalie.

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