December 18, 2015

SAN DIEGO – Stefan Noesen’s redirection goal 3:11 into sudden death overtime gave the San Diego Gulls a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Barracuda in front of 9,421 at Valley View Casino Center. Noesen, who went without a goal in his first twenty-two games with the Gulls (13-10-0-1), has now scored three goals in his past two games.

Anton Khudobin, in his first game with the Gulls after being assigned by the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, stopped thirty shots in net for his first win with San Diego. Shea Theodore also scored for San Diego, while Brandon Montour and Shane O’Brien each recorded a pair of assists.

The Gulls’ first “Teddy Bear Toss” night brought a spirited crowd to the VVCC, and sparked a premature celebration when the Gulls came close to scoring in the final second of the first period. The teddies rained down despite a video review of no goal, and on preliminary count over 15,000 bears were collected via the San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Teddy Bear Drive for Rady Children’s Hospital.

Still scoreless into the second period, the Barracuda (9-10-1-3) netted first on counter-attack, as San Jose picked up a loose puck in the San Diego zone, which turned into a 3-on-2 rush. The trailer Karl Stollery fired high over Khudobin’s shoulder for the game’s first goal at 7:51.

The Gulls, who had lost the past eight times they allowed the first goal, were quick to find an answer behind the AHL’s top power play unit. San Jose’s John McCarthy was sent off for slashing with 5:41 remaining in the period, and Theodore’s shot from outside the left circle found the back of the net through traffic for his fourth goal of the year.

Less than two minutes later, the Gulls found themselves on top after a Barracuda hooking penalty on Ryan Carpenter. Noesen tipped home his first of the night on assists from Nick Ritchie and Shane O’Brien. Ritchie’s point extended his home-ice point streak to eight consecutive games.

San Jose found the equalizer in the third period on a well-executed counter-rush down the ice, with Petter Emanuelsson’s cross-ice pass perfectly weighted for Nikolai Goldobin, who lifted his fifth goal of the year top shelf over Khudobin to knot the contest at two apiece 12:16 into the final frame.

The Gulls, who killed all four San Jose power plays while scoring twice on seven attempts, managed to hold off a late Barracuda man advantage that carried into sudden-death overtime. After killing the penalty, the ice strength remained four-on-four throughout almost three tense minutes that saw not a single whistle to stop the puck. In the end, O’Brien connected with Montour at center ice, who rushed the zone from left wing. He held beyond the end line before finding Noesen net-front for a quick redirection and a Gulls sudden death winner, their fifth win after regulation time this season.

San Diego next travels up I-15 to take on the Pacific Division-leading Ontario Reign in a 6pm faceoff Saturday evening from Citizens Business Bank Arena.