Jan. 20, 2017
SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Gulls (18-12-2-1, 39 pts.) won their fifth consecutive game with a 5-1 victory over the San Jose Barracuda (19-10-1-3; 42 pts.) in front of a sellout crowd of 12,920 at Valley View Casino on Friday night. Tonight’s sellout was the second sellout in club history after the team sold out its inaugural game on Oct. 10, 2015 last season (also 12,920).
San Diego is on a tear of late, winning seven of its last eight games (7-1), and has earned standings points in nine of the past ten games (7-1-1-1) and 18 of the last 25 overall (16-7-1-1).
Kalle Kossila (2-0=2) scored perhaps the goal of the year in the AHL and Jhonas Enroth made 30 saves as to lead the Gulls. Kossila also extended his career high point streak to eight games (4-8=12 points), the longest point streak in franchise history after he surpassed Corey Tropp’s seven-game point streak (3-7=10) from Nov. 5-27.
Kossila’s point streak also ranks as the second-longest current streak in the AHL, and tied for the fifth longest this season.
“The building was incredible tonight,” said head coach Dallas Eakins. “The fans were electric and Kossila’s goal was unbelievable. I’ve been in pro hockey for 30 years and I’ve never seen a player pull that off in a game.”
At 12:15 of the final frame and the Gulls ahead 3-1, Kossila picked up the puck on his blade, carried it around the net and shoveled it past San Jose goaltender Troy.
“I’ve done it in practice, but obviously a game situation is way different,” said Kossila on his goal. “The puck happened to stay on the top of my stick, and their defenseman wasn’t pressuring me, so I tried it.”
San Diego jumped out 1-0 only 1:52 into the contest, as Jordan Samuels-Thomas corralled a loose puck and roofed a wrist-shot by Grosenick to give the Gulls a 1-0 lead. With the goal, Samuels Thomas has now tallied 2-3=5 points in his last eight games.
Gulls’ netminder Jhonas Enroth (4-1-0) made several big stops in the opening stanza, his best coming off Barclay Goodrow’s chance above the crease and the ensuing rebound.
“I thought we played great tonight as a team,” said Enroth. “Our defense played very well in front of me and made my job easy all night.”
With only 21 seconds remaining in the period, Tyler Morley’s no-look backhand feed found Scott Sabourin in front and Sabourin lifted the puck over Grosenick for his first goal since Nov. 30 vs. Tucson.
San Jose dominated the early stages of the second period and tested Enroth throughout the middle frame. The 28-year-old stood responded with multiple saves, including a few on two Barracuda power play opportunities to maintain San Diego’s one-goal edge.
San Diego jumped on a power play at 13:31 of the second period and cashed in when Nick Sorensen cleaned up the rebound of Brandon Montour’s shot to give San Diego a 3-0 advantage. Montour’s assist gives him a six-game point streak (6-5=11), tying a career-high previously set last season with 2-5=7 points from Nov. 20- Dec. 4, 2015.
The Barracuda got on the board with Patrick McNally’s second of the season at 13:37, but San Diego played stingy defense the rest of the way. The goal was not given during the run of play and the Barracuda challenged the play that the puck entered the net. After review, the goal was confirmed to have gone through the net and nine seconds were put back on the clock to win the puck crossed the goal line.
Kossila iced the game after being awarded an empty-net goal after being hooked intentionally by a San Jose defenseman while on a breakaway to give the Gulls their third consecutive win on home ice.
After tonight’s game, the Gulls begin a season-long five game road trip on Sunday, Jan. 22 at Ontario (3 p.m.). San Diego returns home on Saturday, Feb. 4 to take on the Ontario Reign, (7 p.m.) at Valley View Casino Center for its second annual Pink in the Rink Night. Fans can purchase tickets by visiting AXS.com/Gulls or by phone at (619) 359-4730.
NOTES: Tyler Morley, Ryan Garbutt, Chris Wagner and Kevin Roy all tallied assists for the Gulls…Jeff Schultz (0-2=2) registered his first multi-point game since Mar. 27, 2013 vs. Hershey as a member of the Manchester Monarchs…San Diego improved to 12-0-0 this season when leading after one period and 13-0-1 when leading after two periods, including 44-0-1 dating back to last season…San Diego also improved to 10-1-1 when scoring the game’s first goal…The Gulls went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill and are 13-of-14 (92.8%) over the past four games…San Jose goaltender Troy Grosenick (9-7-2) made 30 saves in his eighth loss of the season.
1. Kalle Kossila (SD)
2. Jhonas Enroth (SD)
3. Nick Sorensen (SD)