Intercepting the Message
The Gulls got off to a flying start, but would be caught in mid-flight and beaten by the ferocious Gold Kings in the second of a three-game series between the two teams, which also saw many players ending up contemplating retirement in the New England Financial penalty box.
San Diego Gull Chad Wagner took an early penalty to give the Kings a power play in the first two minutes of the game. However, it was the Gulls who took advantage as they broke up a pass in their zone and flashed to a 2-on-1 rush that led to a goal by Petr Marek.
But the Kings would quickly atone for the gaffe to stem any potential momentum the Gulls may have had. Leblanc took a pass from Rhett Trombley and put the puck behind the Gull goalkeeper Cris Classen. Then R.J. Enga scored less then a minute later on a lightening like shot from his right wing. Brian Lefleur added one and Enga added another after two beautiful passes from Lefleur and Lyons to set him up his scoring shot on a 5-3 King power play.
With four Gold King goals in the first 8:29 of the game, it was clear that the Kings not only rebounded from the early 1-0 deficit but had taken command of the game.
So the Gulls began trying to "send the message" to the Kings that it wasn't going to be that easy. The Gold Kings though managed to block the call thanks in part to the efforts of Rhett Trombley.
Ashley Langdone placed the initial message by jumping Steve Vandal. Landone got the helmet off of the Gold King Vandal and was hammering away to the back of his head. Vandal was tied up and could not get going, but stayed on his feet and took the thrashing. Vandal, by the way, is no slouch. He busted the nose of a Phoenix player during a bout earlier in the year. After the linesmen jumped in, Langdone skated away gloating while Vandal just shook his head.
Then, after another tussle between Gold King Stacey Bublitz and Wagner the newly-acquired heavyweight Rhett Trombley took the ice. It was as obvious as Pike's Peak on a clear Colorado Springs' day what Trombley was on the ice to do.
Trombley hit the rink and rushed into the Gulls' zone to support the Gold King offensive rush. Gull Clark Polglase began roughing up the King tough guy and trying to initiate a fight. Polglase threw the gloves and tried to get the upperhand early at the expense of an instigator penalty. Trombley had none of it as he just manhandled Polglase and began bombing the unfortunate Gull with solid shots to the head and face. Polglase went down for the sake of self-preservation and took the loss.
Jean-Sebastian Trudelle would keep things even for the Kings as he answered the call from Gull Captain Mark Woolf three seconds after the fifth Gold King goal off the stick of Zac Boyer.
The Gold Kings then sent a message of their own in response to the broken and weak communication from the Gulls. Twenty seconds after the Trudelle/Woolf scrap, the Gold Kings Tom Perry scored the team's sixth goal of the first period, and their final one of the game.
All was quiet on the second period front. Both teams played relatively straight up hockey and the Gold Kings maintained their claim of the game thanks to a 16-save second period performance by Gold King goalie Mark Gowan.
In the third period, the Gulls tried their last ditch attack with the hockey equivalent of kamikaze desperation. Nevertheless, it was Trombley again who wouldn't let the Gold Kings be sunk.
Polglase brought the stick up on captain Craig Lyons behind the Gull net. Polglase then took a defensive position in front of the Gull net, where he was met by Trombley. Trombley immediately sought revenge for the blatant high-stick by Polglase. This time Trombley threw the gloves and began peppering the turtling Polglase with shots to the head and ribs. Langdone then jumped in to help his suddenly converted pacifist team mate. Langdone had Trombley tied up pretty well and landed a big right hand to Trombley's face. Trombley took him down and landed two crushing shots to the right side of Langdone's face. The blood began to stream from the side of Langdone's right eye. By this time the linesmen jumped on Trombley and got him off of the beaten Langdone. Trombley then tried to get after Polglase again, obviously feeling that his most recent pummelling wasn't quite retribution enough for the high-sticking of the King's captain.
Trombley didn't get another chance. The linesmen had him and were in the process of giving him an escort off of the ice. Polglase was hollering at Trombley, which led big Rhett to reply with the international hockey sign of turtling: Two hands behind his tucked in head.
Trombley was given a standing ovation, while Langdone was the victim of some vicious taunts as he hussled to his locker room.
The Gulls tried to live up to the old-time hockey standard of "sending the message" but the Gold Kings, led by Trombley, intercepted every transmission and beat them in every way handily. The final score was Gold Kings 6, Gulls 2. The fight tally was Gold Kings 3, Gulls 2.