By: SANDY BURGIN - For the North County Times
SAN DIEGO ---- After Friday night's loss to the Idaho Steelheads, Gulls coach Martin St. Amour lamented, "we haven't played a 60-minute game this season, and there's no reason for it."
The Gulls responded to St. Amour's message Saturday night by starting strong and finishing the same way in a 5-2 victory over the defending Kelly Cup champion Steelheads before 6,891 fans at the Sports Arena.
Sean O'Connor, who rejoined the Gulls on Tuesday after being on loan to the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the AHL, scored his first two goals as a Gull and Trevor Koenig turned aside 32 shots in bringing his record to 6-3-1.
The Gulls (7-6-2), who are 6-1-1 at home, play the Steelheads for a third straight time at 5 p.m. today at the Sports Arena.
"Well, I guess we were up to about 56 minutes, so we're getting closer," St. Amour said. "We've got character. I know what we've got in the locker room. They just have to play for 60 and we're going to be a tough team to beat."
Koenig was particularly effective in the first two minutes of the third period when he helped kill off a 42-second two-man Steelheads power play with the Gulls leading 2-0.
It was moments after the Gulls killed off the final 1:18 of a second Koenig roughing penalty (assessed at the 20-minute mark of the second period) that Max Birbraer scored his third goal of the season for a 3-0 Gulls lead at 4:57.
Koenig lost his shutout bid when Idaho's Ben Keup beat him on a rebound at 4:29 of the third period.
However, the Gulls responded with goals by O'Connor and Sylvain Deschatelets 46 seconds apart in the seventh minute of play in the third period.
The Gulls got a pair of goals early in the first period.
Defenseman Evgueni Nourislamov scored his third goal of the season on a slap shot from the right point at the 9:14 mark.
Less than four minutes later, O'Connor scored his first goal as a Gull when he intercepted an errant pass by Idaho defenseman Jeremy Mylymok in the Steelheads zone and put a short wrister past Doyle from 10 feet.
GULLS NOTES ---- LW Scott Borders was activated from injured reserve list Saturday. ... D Sean Murphy, suffering from a fractured knuckle, was transferred to the 30-day injured list, retroactive to Nov. 27.