Jan. 20, 2017
SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Gulls (17-12-2-1, 37 pts.) conclude their January home schedule as they host the San Jose Barracuda (19-9-1-3, 42 pts.) tonight at Valley View Casino Center (7:00 p.m., 1090-AM). San Diego has won four consecutive games, six of the last seven (6-1), and have earned standings points in eight of the past nine games (6-1-1-1) and 17 of the last 24 overall (15-7-1-1).
San Diego is coming off a brief two-game road trip that saw wins over Rockford on Friday, Jan. 13 (3-2 OT) and Iowa on Monday, Jan. 16 (3-1). The Gulls’ defense played a big role in those victories and the team know a similar defensive effort will be required to slow down a San Jose attack whose 111 goals lead the Pacific Division this season.
“They are one of the fastest teams in the league,” said Brandon Montour on San Jose. “In order for us to have success against them we are going to have show the same commitment to defense that we have brought over the past few games. That means playing as a five-man unit in all situations and staying positive when momentum swings occur.”
The All-Star defenseman is currently riding a career high five-game goal scoring streak (6-4=10), his longest streak this season. He is leads the Gulls in goals (11) and ranks second on the club in points (26). Montour also ranks tied for second in goals (11)and ranks tied for seventh in scoring (26) among league defensemen.
“I just want to keep contributing to our success as a team,” said Montour. “Whether that means scoring or playing solid defense, my goal is to have an impact every game.”
San Diego has split four meetings with the Barracuda this season (2-2-0-0), as both teams swept back-to-back matchups on home ice. In the most recent contests between the two clubs, the Barracuda held serve at home with a pair of 3-0 wins on Dec. 10 and 11 as goaltender Troy Grosenick stopped all 41 shots he faced over the two games.
San Diego took both contests at Valley View Casino Center in November with a 3-2 shootout victory on Nov. 18 and a 4-0 shutout win, backstopped by goaltender Matt Hackett’s 37 saves the following night on Nov. 19.
Forward Greger Hanson has made an immediate impact since being signed to a professional tryout on Jan. 11, posting 1-2=3 points in three games with San Diego. The Lidingo, Sweden native played in 17 games with San Jose last season and is very familiar with how the Barracuda like to play.
“I think the key for me was to come in with a lot of energy and earn a spot on the team,” said Hanson. “When it comes to San Jose, we have to keep them to the outside and slow them down in the neutral zone. If we can force them into sloppy entries and stick to the details that have made us successful as of late, we should be fine.”
The Barracuda have outscored their opponents 14-6 over the last four games (3-1-0-0) and are victorious in seven of their last ten (7-3-0-0) as they make the trip to Southern California. San Jose is coming off a 7-1 toppling of Bakersfield on Monday night, as Marcus Sorensen (2-0=2) and Julius Bergman (0-2=2, +5 rating) led the way offensively in the win.
Rookie Daniel O’Regan paces the Barracuda with 11-23=34 points this season and goaltender Troy Grosenick’s (9-7-2) five shutouts lead all AHL netminders.