March 8, 2017
The San Diego Gulls conclude a home-and-home series with the San Jose Barracuda tonight at Valley View Casino center (7:00 p.m., 1700-AM). The Gulls enter tonight with points in five consecutive games (4-0-1), wins in 14 of their last 17 contests (14-2-1) and 21 of the last 26 overall (21-3-1-1). San Diego has also earned standings points in 21 of the last 23 games (19-2-1-1) where the club has outscored opponents 82-40, as well as points in 25 of 28 contests since Christmas (21-3-2-2).
The Gulls have won nine of the last 10 home games and earned standings points in 11 of their last 13 contests at Valley View Casino Center dating back to Dec. 26 (9-2-1-1). The Gulls also have the third-best win percentage (.676) in the Western Conference and fourth-best in the AHL, while the club has allowed the second-fewest goals in the league (131) behind San Jose’s 127.
San Diego’s remaining 17 contests this season will come against Pacific Division opponents where the Gulls have posted a 26-13-2-2 record in the division.
“It’s a unique opportunity,” said defenseman Brian Cooper. “It’s something unique that comes in playing in the Pacific Division, we have a lot of games against a lot of teams and we have to take advantage of that.”
San Diego and San Jose have each maintained home ice this season with each team winning its home contests. 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. San Diego defeated the Barracuda, 3-2, on Nov. 18 and 4-0 Nov. 19 in a back-to-back at Valley View Casino Center, and added a 5-1 win Jan. 20 in San Diego. Overall San Diego is 3-3-1 vs. San Jose this season, having dropped all four games at SAP Center (0-3-1). The Gulls are 11-5-2-1 all-time vs. the Barracuda, including a 6-1-1-1 record at home. Shea Theodore paces active Gulls skaters with 2-11=13 points in 12 career games vs. San Jose, while Antoine Laganiere leads the club in goals (4-3=7) in 17 contests.
“We haven’t had many shots so far in San Jose,” said Cooper. “We’re chasing them for a number one seed in our division. These points just matter even more at this point.”
San Jose won the most recent matchup Wednesday evening in a 4-3 comeback win in overtime at SAP Center. The Gulls jumped out to a 3-1 lead after two periods with goals from Corey Tropp (1-0=1), Shea Theodore (1-1=2) and Sam Carrick (1-1=2). San Diego looked to be heading to its fifth straight win until San Jose struck with two extra-attacker goals from Rourke Chartier (17:09) and Daniel O’Regan (19:44) to force overtime. In the extra session, O’Regan finished off a two-on-one rush to win the game with 55 seconds remaining.
“We weren’t satisfied with the way we finished that game,” said defenseman Jaycob Megna. “We did a lot of good stuff though. We’re still playing the way we want too and we’ll do our best to make up for it on Wednesday. San Jose has been at the top of the standings all year. So we’re excited and we have to take care of every game.”
Since being acquired by Anaheim from the Chicago Blackhawks on Mar. 1, Sam Carrick has tallied three points (1G/2A) in his two games with San Diego. The 6-0, 207-pound center currently has a five-game assist streak (1-5=6) dating back to Feb. 25 (began while with Rockford) and is currently the longest assist streak in the AHL. Right wing Corey Tropp continues to lead the Gulls in points (44) and co-leads the club in assists (28) and power-play goals (8). Tropp has tallied 8-10=18 points over his last 15 games and earned 23 points in the last 22 games overall (10-13=23).
Defenseman Shea Theodore, who has spent half the season with the Anaheim Ducks, has earned nine points (3G/6A) in his last 10 games and 3-8=11 points in his last 12 games with the Gulls. Theodore’s partner Jaycob Megna has been a solid two-way defenseman this season posting a +29 rating that co-leads the AHL, while he also has five shorthanded points (1G/4A), tops among league blueliners this season.
San Jose enters tonight with the highest win percentage in the AHL while having allowed the fewest goals in the league (127). Rookie center Daniel O’Regan leads the Barracuda with 47 points this season (18G/29A) in 48 games and leads all AHL rookies in points and assists. Defenseman Tim Heed has earned 45 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 (22-8-3) has been steady between the pipes leading the AHL in shutouts, ranking second in SV% (.931), third in in GAA (2.03) and fourth in wins.