The Long Beach Bombers (7-5-1) host the second-place San Diego Gulls (8-6-2) in the back end of a home-and-home series this evening at Glacial Garden Skating Arena. These two Western Division rivals played last night in San Diego. Last weekend, the Bombers travelled to Phoenix and came back with four points—taking two of three games against the Knights—and pulled into a three-way tie for third place in the Western Division of the Western States Hockey League with the Knights (7-13-1) and Arizona Redhawks (7-4-1).
In the first game in Phoenix, F Eric Laporte broke a 3-3 tie with his second goal of the game, with 10:51 remaining in the third period, and it held up for the winning goal. The Knights threw 41 shots on the Long Beach goal but G Salvatore Tecci made 38 saves to make Laporte’s goal hold up. F Andy Kocoglu also had a two-goal game for the Bombers.
Phoenix came back the next night with a 7-2 win over the Bombers. The Knights scored twice early and never looked back despite the Bombers holding a 33-29 edge in shots on goal. F Stephen White and F Zach Jennings scored the Long Beach goals. It was the team-leading 10th goal of the season for White.
The Bombers won the rubber game, 6-4, on Sunday morning—scoring two goals in each period. F Tyler Forest scored a hat trick and added an assist for a point-point game.
“Without our #1 Center, Robby Johnson, rookie Tyler Forest really took his game to a new level,” said Bombers head coach Chris White. “His efforts were rewarded with his first career hat-trick.”
It was the third time in the last five games that Forest has had there or more points in a game (5-5-10 in that span). Tecci was back between the pipes after a night off, and made 35 saves in the win.
Newly-acquired LW Dante Patron had a strong weekend, dishing out two assists. Two-game suspensions to Kocoglu and D Guy Laporte were handed out on Sunday, so they will not play this weekend.
“We are happy with the development of our team, as a whole, and satisfied with winning two-of-three games the last three series,” said Coach White. “Still, we have plenty of room to improve, and we are focused on putting forth a solid effort each period, each game, and each series.”
In addition to Patron playing in his first home game on Saturday, the Bombers are extremely proud to welcome D Brian White. He has played the past two seasons in the Tier II Junior A North American Hockey League for the Wichita Falls Wildcats, and will be looked at to provide instant leadership and production from Bombers’ the back end.
The Bombers also added to their goaltending depth by signing 16-year old Brendon Hanser of Billings, Montana.