IRVINE, CA. – San Diego forward Vinni Lettieri netted a pair of third-period goals, including the game-winner, as the Gulls defeated the Colorado Eagles, 3-2 on Saturday. Defenseman Greg Pateryn and forward Ryan Wagner both lit the lamp in the loss, while Eagles goaltender Peyton Jones made 35 saves on 38 shots in his AHL debut. The game kicked off the 2020-21 season for Colorado and was the team’s first contest since March 11, 2020.
A 5-on-3 power play for Colorado would set up the game’s first goal, as Pateryn stepped into a slapshot from the high slot and beat Gulls goaltender Anthony Stolarz over the blocker. The tally was Pateryn’s first as an Eagle and gave Colorado a 1-0 edge just 6:55 into the contest. Mike Vecchione picked up an assist, while fellow forward Callahan Burke earned his first professional point with a helper on the play.
Leading 1-0 after the opening 20 minutes of play, the Eagles would see San Diego draw even on a power play of its own. Forward Sam Carrick would slice through the right-wing circle before cutting to the top of the crease and lifting a puck past Jones. The goal would knot the score at 1-1 at the 5:39 mark of the second period.
Each team would throw 16 shots on net in the middle frame, but both netminders would stand strong, sending the two teams to the second intermission with the game still deadlocked at 1-1.
The Gulls would take advantage of a power play early in the third period when Lettieri blasted a one-timer into the back of the net from the left circle to give San Diego a 2-1 advantage just 1:48 into the final 20 minutes of action.
The momentum would quickly swing the other direction, as Wagner snagged a pass at center ice and flew down the left wing before snapping a wrister from the circle past Stolarz to tie the game at 2-2 at the 6:33 mark of the period.
Lettieri would reclaim the advantage when he tracked down a rebound in the crease and swept it into the back of the net to give the Gulls the 3-2 lead with 9:30 left to play in the contest. Colorado would pull Jones in favor of the extra attacker in the final 90 seconds, but would not be able to generate another tally, falling by a final score of 3-2.
The Eagles finished the night going 1-for-4 on the power play, while San Diego converted on two of their five chances on the man-advantage. Stolarz claimed his first victory of the season in net, stopping 31 of the 33 shots he faced in the contest.
Colorado will continue the 2020-21 season when the Eagles take on the San Diego Gulls on Sunday, February 14th at 5:00pm MT. Fans can catch every game this season live on “The Home of the Colorado Eagles,” 92.9 The Bear or on AHLTV.