December 12, 2015
SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Diego Gulls ended a three-game road losing streak in style, posting a 5-0 victory on Saturday afternoon at SAP Center in front of 4,178 to complete a two-day California road trip. The Gulls (12-10-0-1) saw goalie Matt Hackett stop all 32 shots faced in his return from a four-game injury absence, posting his first shutout as a member of the Gulls and the fourth of his AHL career.
Max Friberg and Mike Sgarbossa each netted a goal and assist for San Diego, with Brian McGrattan, Stefan Noesen and Jiri Sekac also turning the lamp. Sekac, down from the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks on a Long-Term Injury conditioning loan, was +1 with two shots in his Gulls debut.
San Diego got the break they needed to end a 2-8-0-1 skid on the game’s opening shift, when Friberg’s attempt for a centering pass from behind the Barracuda goal line banked off the back right shoulder of San Jose goalie Aaron Dell and trickled into the net.
From a trickle to a torrent, the Gulls pounced for two more goals in the next 5:09 to end Dell’s outing early and point San Diego on victory’s path. Brian McGrattan swept home a pass from Kyle Bonis on the near post for his fourth goal of the year, with Shea Theodore adding his eleventh assist of the season. Next, Mike Sgarbossa settled his own rebound on the power play for his fourth goal of the season and a 3-0 advantage at 5:42.
Troy Grosenick replaced Dell between the pipes for the Barracuda (9-9-0-3), stopping 18 of 20 shots the rest of the way, but the damage was done. Hackett took center stage for San Diego in the second stanza, stopping fourteen shots.
The Gulls opened the third with one of their hungriest wingers finding joy, as Stefan Noesen one-timed home a low-slot pass from Sgarbossa out of the near corner for his first goal in 23 games. Sekac finished off the scoring, working the front of the net to redirect Chris Mueller’s pass top shelf over Grosenick at 12:05 of the third.
The win pushes San Diego’s AHL point percentage back to .543, allowing an at-least temporary leap from sixth to third position in the Pacific Division standings. The road team has won in each of the first six meetings between the Gulls and Barracuda, with San Diego improving to 4-0 at SAP Center.
The Gulls return to home ice on Friday, Dec. 18 when they welcome the Barracuda to Valley View Casino Center on “Teddy Bear Toss Night”.