CHICAGO — Kevin Boyle stopped all 29 shots as the San Diego Gulls defeated the Chicago Wolves, 3-0, Saturday night to even the American Hockey League's Western Conference finals at one game each.
The Gulls killed all four of Chicago's power-play opportunities and got goals from Sam Carrick in the first period and Jack Kopacka in the second at Rosemont, Illinois. Sam Steel added an empty-net goal with one minute, 18 seconds to play.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series will be played Wednesday at Pechanga Arena San Diego, the site of each of the next three games.
"Of the two games, I actually thought we played better last night than we did tonight, but Kevin Boyle came in and just gave us a hell of a game as did our penalty killers," Gulls coach Dallas Eakins said, referring to Friday's 5-4 overtime loss. "Our sticks down around that net were excellent."
Boyle made his first appearance since May 4 when he stopped 19 of 20 shots in a 4-1 victory over the Bakersfield Condors in Game 2 of the Pacific Division finals Boyle left with 11:09 to play after being hit in the back of head by a knee of an opposing player.
"We had a good feeling about him going into the game," Carrick said. "We knew he was ready, we knew he was going to be good to go and he played great tonight for us. He just gives us so much confidence. When we have a guy like him back there, when he's feeling it, there's not many goalies that are better than him."
Carrick opened the scoring 6:56 into the first period, putting in a rebound of a shot by Adam Cracknell for his sixth goal of the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs. Maxime Comtois was also credited with an assist.
"We dumped it in, got the puck back, took it to the net and I just went backdoor and the puck came to me," Carrick said. "I had the easy job of putting it in the net and my two linemates did all the work. It was a good goal and I think it gave our team a little bit of confidence."
The Gulls are 4-0 when scoring first in the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs.
In his first appearance since April 24, Kopacka scored his first goal in six playoff games as a professional, putting in a rebound of his own shot 2:08 into the second period.
Kiefer Sherwood had the lone assist on the final two goals before a crowd at Allstate Arena announced at 5,435.
The Gulls, the Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate, were outshot, 29-23, and failed to score on all three of their power-play opportunities.
Oscar Dansk made 20 saves for the Wolves, the Vegas Golden Knights AHL affiliate. He made 40 saves Friday night.
"I liked how we played tonight," Chicago coach Rocky Thompson said. "I thought we had a lot of possession, a lot of opportunity that way. We had our moments for sure, which was encouraging for me. This is the way we've got to play. We had the puck a lot tonight, which is good. We were executing a game plan that will give us a chance to have success."