Opening night was a successful one for the San Diego Gulls, who defeated the Salt Lake Golden Eagles 4-3 Friday night.
It marked the first game for the Gulls in the International Hockey League. An impressive crowd of 9,735 watched the first professional hockey game in San Diego since the 1970s.Larry Floyd scored a hat trick for San Diego with all goals coming in the first period. In fact, amazingly, all seven goals scored Friday night came in the first period.
Salt Lake's Randy Bucyk started the scoring at the 3:39 mark with a short-handed goal against Mark Rhymer. It was Bucyk's 400th career point.
San Diego's Charlie Simmer, a former Salt Lake player tied the score with a goal at the 4:00 mark.
Floyd put the Gulls ahead, beating Salt Lake goalie Wayne Cowly at the 8:59 mark.
But Eagle rookie C.J. Young scored off an assist from Marc Bureau, just 22 seconds later.
Floyd's second goal beat Cowley at the 14:21 mark, but the Eagles tied it again when Kerry Clark scored off assists by Bucyk and Rick Lessard.
However in the final minute of the period, Floyd scored off a deflection to put the Gulls ahead for good and complete the scoring.
Salt Lake Coach Bobby Francis switched to Warren Sharples in the goal after the first period and he did a marvelous job, holding the Gulls scoreless for two periods.
However, Rhymer was just as good on the other end, keeping Salt Lake out of the nets, including a furious bunch of shots in the final minute.
For the night, Salt Lake outshot the Gulls 26 to 23.
The Eagles and Gulls will go at it again tonight at 8:30 p.m. Then they come back to Salt Lake for a 7 p.m. game in the Salt Palace, which will be the home opener for the Eagles.