Jan. 5, 2018

Reto Berra stopped all 46 shots faced in his first shutout of the season and fourth of his AHL career en route to a 5-0 win over the San Jose Barracuda at Valley View Casino Center. Berra improved to 7-4-0 on the season and in his last three appearances (2-1-0) he has posted a 1.67 goals-against average and .951 save percentage.

Berra’s 46 saves set a franchise record for the most saves in a game, surpassing the franchise mark set by Leland Irving (41 saves on Nov. 3, 2017) and Anton Khudobin (Feb. 27, 2016 vs. San Jose). Berra also set a franchise record for most shots faced (46) in a game. He surpassed the franchise mark of 43 saves set on five previous occasions, with the most recent coming by Kevin Boyle on Dec. 11, 2016 (41-of-43).

San Diego earned their seventh win the past nine games (7-2-0-0) and 10th in the last 13 (10-3-0-0). San Diego has also won four of their past five home contests (4-1-0-0). San Diego tied a club record with four power-play goals (4-of-5), matching the previous high of four set on Nov. 17 vs. Tucson (4-of-9). The four tallies improved San Diego’s league-leading power play to 27.6% overall with the 42 goals on the man advantage also tops in the AHL.

Eric Fehr earned his third three-point game of the season (1G/2A) as the Gulls (17-13-1-0), Kalle Kossila tallied his 20th career multi-point game (1G/1A) and Dennis Rasmussen earned two assists to lead the Gulls.

The Gulls came out of the gate strong and were rewarded with first goal 5:17 into the action. Working behind the San Jose net, forward Dennis Rasmussen spotted Jared Boll inside right circle and centered the puck for a one-timer that swept past Parker Gahagen for Boll’s first goal of the season and a 1-0 lead. Eric Fehr earned his seventh assist on the goal.

Reto Berra did some of his best work in the opening twenty minutes, denying former AHL All-Star Daniel O’Regan of San Jose on back-to-back bids from the slot in the nineteenth minute. Berra stopped all twelve shots he faced in the frame.

The top power play in the AHL was allowed to flex its muscles late in the period, as San Jose’s Cavan Fitzgerald was called for holding in front of his net. With the seconds ticking off the first period shot, Nic Kerdiles held in a puck on near point for San Diego and fed Gulls All-Star defenseman Andy Welinski. Skating to the high middle, Welinski’s wrist shot was tipped by Kalle Kossila, shaded to the left of Gahagen’s net. The tipped shot struck the back of the net at 19:59.09 for the latest first period goal in San Diego Gulls’ history, and a 2-0 first intermission lead.

A scrappy second period saw the Gulls extend their lead to 3-0 on their second power play tally of the night, as Joseph Blandisi saw a clearance attempt from the San Jose low slot strike his kneepad and carom behind Gahagen for his first goal with San Diego, and fourth of the AHL season overall. Blandisi, acquired by the Anaheim Ducks from the New Jersey Devils’ organization in November, cashed in his 16th point of the season between Binghamton and San Diego.

The Gulls finished the second period killing three San Jose power plays, including a four-minute high sticking double minor on Blandisi. San Diego’s penalty kill finished the night 6-for-6, and has defused the last 16 power plays faced, and 35 of the last 38 against (92.1%).

Two more goals on the man advantage salted the contest away in the third period, as Fehr poked home his own rebound through the five-hole of Gahagen at 7:48 for a 4-0 lead, and Sam Carrick shoveled in his sixth of the year on assists from Fehr and Rasmussen at 12:03. The Barracuda levied 21 shots on frame in the third period, but Berra saw the vast majority from outside the circles and held firm for his first Gulls shutout and San Diego’s first whitewash of the year.

The Gulls conclude the weekend back-to-back against San Jose tomorrow as they host First Responders Night at Valley View Casino Center (7 p.m.).

Three Stars:
1. Reto Berra (SD)
2. Kalle Kossila (SD)
3. Jared Boll (SD)