BATTLE OF THE BEST

//BATTLE OF THE BEST

BATTLE OF THE BEST

March 5, 2017

The Gulls (32-14-2-2; 68 pts.) open a home-and-home series with the San Jose Barracuda (33-12-1-4; 71 pts.) tonight at SAP Center (5:00 p.m. PT, 1090-AM) in a matchup between two of the AHL’s hottest teams. The Gulls enter tonight with four consecutive victories, wins in 14 of their last 16 contests (14-2-0) and 21 of the last 25 overall (21-3-0-1). Over the last 22 games San Diego has earned standings points in 20 of those contests (19-2-0-1) where the club has outscored opponents 79-36, and earned points in 24 of 27 contests since Christmas (21-3-1-2). San Jose enters tonight with a 14-1-1 record their last 16 games and a recent 14-game win streak and 15-game point streak.

The Gulls have won eight of the past nine road games (8-1-0) and earned standings points in 13 of the last 14 road contests (12-1-0-1) dating back to Dec. 29. The Gulls lead the Western Conference with a .667 road win percentage (15-7-1-1), and rank second in the AHL behind Providence. The Gulls also have the third-best win percentage (.680) in the Western Conference and fourth-best in the AHL, while the club has allowed the second-fewest goals in the league (127). San Diego finished the month of February with a 10-2 record, outscoring opponents 43-23, setting a club record for the most wins in a calendar month (previous: eight, set three times; Jan. 2017, Mar. 2016, Feb. 2016).

San Diego’s remaining 18 contests this season will come against Pacific Division opponents where the Gulls have posted a 26-13-1-2 record in the division. Tonight’s matchup represents the seventh contest between San Diego and San Jose, where each club has maintained home ice advantage in winning its three home contests to date. San Jose has earned a 3-0-0 record vs. the Gulls this season at SAP Center, outscoring San Diego 8-1 but the Gulls are 11-5-1-1 all-time vs. the Barracuda, including a 5-4-0 record at SAP Center. San Jose won the most recent matchup Feb. 8, 2-1, at SAP Center in addition to 3-0 shutout wins by Barracuda goaltender Troy Grosenick in December. The Gulls have defeated San Jose in all three meetings at home this season (3-0-0) and outscored the Barracuda 12-3 in the process. Shea Theodore paces active Gulls skaters with 1-10=11 points in 11 career games vs. San Jose, while Antoine Laganiere leads the club in goals (4-3=7) in 16 contests.

The Gulls are coming off their fourth consecutive victory after a 4-1 win over the Tucson Roadrunners at Valley View Casino Center on Friday night. Twelve different San Diego skaters recorded a point and Kevin Boyle made 35 saves to improve to 7-1-2 his last 10 starts with a 1.98 goals-against average (GAA), .931 save percentage (SV%) and one shutout. Keaton Thompson opened the scoring with a power-play goal and Nick Sorensen extended the lead in the first period with his eighth goal of the season. Brian Cooper added his second goal of the campaign in the second period goal and Corey Tropp sealed the win with a breakaway goal in the third.

Corey Tropp leads the Gulls points (43), co-leads in assists (28), and ranks tied for second on the club in goals (14) and PPG (7), while the right wing has tallied 7-10=17 points over his last 14 games and earned 22 points in the last 21 games overall (9-13=22). Rookie center Kalle Kossila ranks second on San Diego and sixth among AHL rookies with 11-28=39 points, and he ranks third among league newcomers in assists (28). He also co-leads the Gulls in assists and ranks second in plus/minute with his +22 rating leading AHL rookies and ranking fifth among AHL leaders. The rookie center has recorded 5-13=18 points his last 20 games and 6-18=24 points his last 24 games. Defenseman Jaycob Megna leads the AHL with a +29 rating this season, and has already set career highs in goals (5), assists (19) and points (24), surpassing last year’s previous career high of 12 points. In the month of February, Megna recorded 3-6=9 points with a +14 rating in 12 games and has earned a +10 rating his past four contests.

San Jose enters tonight with the highest win percentage in the AHL while having allowed the fewest goals in the league (124). Last night the Barracuda were defeated by the Stockton Heat, 4-2, which ended their franchise-best 15-game points streak. The bay-area club also had just won 14 consecutive games from Jan. 25-Feb 25, the most consecutive wins in the AHL since Grand Rapids won 15 consecutive from Nov. 18-Dec. 26, 2015.

Rookie center Daniel O’Regan leads the Barracuda with 45 points this season (16G/29A) in 47 games and leads all AHL rookies in points and assists. Defenseman Tim Heed has earned 44 points to date (11G/34A) which ranks third among all league blueliners this season but his 1.13 points-per game is tops among league defensemen. In goal, rookie Troy Grosenick (21-8-3) has been steady between the pipes leading the AHL in shutouts, ranking second in GAA (2.21) and SV% (.932), and fourth in wins.

2017-03-07T14:50:42+00:00