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Gulls win 2017 AFHL Stanley Cup

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San Diego Wins the 2017 AFHL Stanley Cup

 

April 10th, 2017

While the San Diego Gulls beelined across the ice to mob their goaltender at the buzzer, hockey analyst Pierre McGuire ran up to Gulls coach Lucas Main and asked him how it felt to be the AFHL’s best.

“This is an incredible feeling, it’s hard to really put it into words,” said Lucas, his eyes moist with emotion. “It’s a special moment right now. We’re so deserving of what has happened here. This is not a fluke. This is something we earned.”

The hero was trade deadline acquisition Drake Caggiula who scored the GWG to tie the game 5-5. The Gulls then defeated the Pittsburgh Heroes via tiebreaker (best record) to win their first Stanley Cup in AFHL history.

“Credit must go to Lucas,” Caggiula said after he slapped in the winning goal to help the Gulls capture the Stanley Cup in a thrilling Game 7 on Sunday Night. “He made critical transactions throughout the season and kept us on course despite the criticism and the adversity, and there’s no denying that he made all the right moves to shape this Cup-winning roster.”

Gulls defenseman Drew Doughty might have best encapsulated what it meant for this team that rebuilt itself through trades and drafts to emerge as AFHL Champion.

“There’s no other feeling like it. It’s what you have work for every day,” said Doughty. “To raise that over my head is the best thing that ever happened. The guys start from day one in training camp. We create that bond. We’re with each other so much throughout the day, and in the week. We’re a hard-working group, guys that you love. It wasn’t easy. We won some matchups which appeared to look easy, but it wasn’t. All those teams gave us a great battle.”

Winning is addictive.

“I’ve already won one, and now I want to know another one,” Doughty said smiling.

Drake Caggiula’s game winning goal sent the San Diego home ice crowd into a frenzy that lasted until Claude Giroux hoisted the Cup and paraded it around the ice. Giroux handed off to goaltender John Gibson who posted a sparkling 2.22 GAA this year.

“I got to compete for that silver thing. That means a lot,” said an emotional Gibson. “We battled so much stuff over the years… we’re a great team and we started to play to our capabilities.”

Then it went to Ryan Kesler who almost dropped it.

“It’s really heavy,” Kesler said of the Cup, “but I managed to pull through. It’s special because it’s a great group of guys. We’ve had our struggles. We were down at the bottom… It’s hard to believe.”

Eventually it went Nikita Kucherov, who passed it to Gulls GM Lucas Main.

“It’s great,” said Kucherov. “It’s what we work all our life for. It’s unbelievable.”

Pittsburgh Heroes coach Jason Henley took the high road following the game.

“Tonight is about San Diego and letting them celebrate,” said Henley. “Obviously we’re devastated as a team. We worked all year to get to this point. To fall short like this is a tough one to take… but we’re a good team, and we’ll be back.”

 *

The San Diego Gulls are set to celebrate their first AFHL Stanley Cup with a parade through the streets of San Diego on Friday, which will begin at 11:30 a.m. local time at Balboa Park.

The parade route will start in front of Balboa Park and proceed southwest until taking a right onto Main Street and ending at the Union Street intersection, where a stage will be set up for the players and coaches to make comments and address the crowd.

The city of San Diego is focused on safety for the event:

“In the interest of safety, the parade route will be restricted to designated parade participants only. Members of the media (with the exception of the single designated photographers and videographers) and members of the public will not be permitted inside the parade route.”

Television coverage of the event will be provided by WPXI beginning at 12 p.m. EST and running through the entire event. You can also stream the parade live on the Gulls’ website.

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1 Comments

1

Very cool article, thanks Tony!

Also, thanks for Caggiula :)

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