March 27, 2016
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Antoine Laganiere scored a pair of goals, the second into an empty net to clinch the game, as the San Diego Gulls held off a determined San Jose Barracuda team to post a 3-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at SAP Center.
Matt Bailey netted a goal with an assist (1-1=2), and San Diego goalie Anton Khudobin excelled in net with 34 saves on 35 shots faced as the Gulls (34-22-2-2) improved to 5-1-0 in their season series at San Jose. The Gulls did not have a single power play in the game while killing five of six penalties against them.
Combined with a Texas Stars 3-2 overtime loss to the San Antonio Rampage on Sunday, the Gulls move back into second place in the AHL Pacific Division by .006 percentage points.
Needing a win to move back into playoff position, the Barracuda (28-22-7-3) out-shot the Gulls 35-18, taking 34 of the final 42 shots fired in the game. Ryan Carpenter’s second period power play goal was the only reward for their efforts, although San Jose saw a goal waved off the board in both the second and third periods.
San Diego netted the game’s first goal 3:10 into the first period, with the direct assistance of San Jose netminder Aaron Dell. Stick-handling the puck at the side of his net, Dell lost sight of Laganiere and passed the puck directly on his stick on the left circle. While Antoine’s immediate wrist shot was stopped by a sliding Dell, the rebound popped off his pad and to the blade of Bailey, who swatted the puck home for his third goal of the season and a 1-0 Gulls lead.
San Diego took ten of the game’s first eleven shots and controlled play through much of the first period, but saw a different Barracuda team emerge from the locker room to start the second frame. Bryan Lerg’s equalizer early in the period was waved off when he was ruled to have batted the puck with his glove, confirmed on video review.
While the Gulls managed only four shots on goal in both the second and third periods, one well-timed rush was all San Diego needed to get a 2-0 lead. Bailey triggered Corey Tropp on a rush inside the right circle, and Tropp’s soft pass to Laganiere at the goalmouth led to a backhand goal, his twelfth tally of the season at 10:09 of the second stanza.
The Gulls took three minor penalties in the second period, and the third time was the charm for San Jose. Ryan Carpenter deflected a Karl Stollery shot from outside for a power play goal at 15:56, narrowing the lead to 2-1. Carpenter thought he had an equalizer in the third, but the goal was waved off for contact in Khudobin’s crease.
Put repeatedly to the test over the final forty minutes, Khudobin made 29 of his 34 saves in the second and third periods to secure his 18th win in net this season for San Diego. Laganiere tipped home Tropp’s centering bid into an empty net at 19:35 to seal the win.
The Gulls will enjoy two days off on the road before returning to action Wednesday night in Stockton against the Heat, a 7 p.m. scheduled faceoff.
NOTES: Laganiere led all scorers with 2-1=3 points…the Gulls are a remarkable 27-0-1-1 when scoring the game’s first goal, and 28-0-0 when leading after forty minutes…San Diego improved to 7-2-1-1 against the Barracuda, with one game remaining, April 2 at Valley View Casino Center…Gulls rookie defenseman Brandon Montour picked up an assist on Laganiere’s empty netter, his 50th point of the season…Corey Tropp (0-2=2 points, +3 rating) has 2-4=6 points and a +6 rating in his past five games…defenseman Jaycob Megna was +3 on the night and leads the Gulls with a +21 rating.
1st Star: SD Matt Bailey (1-1=2 points, +2 rating); 2nd Star: SD Anton Khudobin (34 saves on 35 shots faced); 3rd Star: SJ Ryan Carpenter (1-0=1)