March 8, 2017

Tyler Morley scored the game-winning goal with 9.4 seconds remaining in overtime to lead the San Diego Gulls (33-14-3-2, 71 pts.) to a back-and-forth 7-6 win over the San Jose Barracuda (34-12-2-4; 74 pts.) in front of 5,842 fans at Valley View Casino Center on Wednesday night. The 13 combined goals between the two clubs are the most scored in a game in Gulls franchise history (Previous: 12, twice; Oct. 26, 2016 vs. STK and Mar. 18, 2016 @ BAK).

“That was quite a rodeo tonight,” said Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins. “I can’t remember ever being part of a game like that for a long time. It’s nice to come out on top and hopefully we don’t have too many more games like this one.”

The Gulls have now won 15 of their last 18 contests (15-3-0) and 22 of the last 27 overall (22-3-0-1) to jump to second place in the Western Conference behind only San Jose. San Diego has also earned standings points the past six games (5-0-1) and in 22 of the last 24 games overall (21-2-0-1). In addition, San Diego has won 10 of its last 11 home games (10-1-0-0) and earned standings points in 12 of their last 14 games on home ice dating back to Dec. 26 (10-2-1-1).

A record-setting first period began with the Barracuda opening the scoring at 6:50 on the power play when Kevin Labanc tipped a centering pass from Daniel O’Regan past San Diego goaltender Dustin Tokarksi. O’Regan tallied two assists on the night to give him 2-6=8 points in seven games against the Gulls.

Four seconds after Labanc’s goal, San Jose’s momentum came to a halt as forward Barclay Goodrow took a double-minor penalty for high-sticking. The Gulls made San Jose pay as Nick Sorensen found himself alone in front and finished off a feed from Shea Theodore to tie the game 1-1 at 8:02 of the first period.

With Goodrow still in the box serving the second half of his double-minor, Antoine Laganiere found a loose puck and slipped a wrist shot by Grosenick to give the Gulls a 2-1 lead at 10:01 of the first frame. San Diego’s advantage didn’t last long as 1:24 later San Jose defenseman Tim Heed whipped a shot from between the slot that beat Tokarksi.

Sam Carrick gave San Diego the lead right back at 12:15 of the opening frame as he took a pass from Max Gortz and rocketed a wrist shot by Grosenick. Carrick extended his point streak to a season-high six-games (2-5=7) and he now has four points (2-2=4) in two games with San Diego.

The Gulls doubled their lead to 4-2 when Corey Tropp deflected Keaton Thompson’s shot past Grosenick. The goal, in addition to two assists, extended Tropp’s point streak to six-games (5-6=11) and gives him 9-12=21 points over the last 16 games. Tropp is one game shy of matching a career-high seven-game point streak set earlier this season from Nov. 5-27 (3-7=10).

The four goals in 14:01 surpassed San Diego’s previous earliest four goals to start a game (four goals in 20:54, Mar. 11, 2016 vs. BAK).

San Jose’s Colin Blackwell cut the lead to 4-3 at 16:36 of the first stanza as he found the puck in a net-mouth scramble and chipped the puck over Tokarski’s shoulder.Antoine Laganiere gave the Gulls their two-goal lead back 18 seconds later by deking into the slot and scoring his second goal of the period. Laganiere’s 19 goals lead the team and the left wing has scored nine goals (9-2=11) in the last 14 games.

San Diego’s five first period goals marked the most in the first period in club history and ties the record for most in any period all-time (5 goals in the third period, Jan. 25 @ TUC). The Gulls scored the five goals in 16:54, surpassing a club record for the earliest five goals to start a game (Previous: five goals in 24:03, Oct. 16, 2015 vs. BAK).

San Jose pulled Grosenick to begin the second period after the AHL-All Star gave up five goals on only 13 shots with Mantas Armalis (12-4-3) between the pipes for the Barracuda the rest of the game. Armalis made 23 saves on 25 shots in 44:50 played.

The Gulls earned another power play at 11:49 of the middle frame and cashed in as Nic Kerdiles cleaned up the rebound of Theodore’s shot to extend San Diego’s lead to 6-3. Theodore (0-3=3) earned his first three-point game of the season, and first since a three-assist night April 2, 2016 vs. San Jose. Theodore has earned 3-14=17 points in 19 games with San Diego this season and has 3-11=14 points his last 12 games.

Less than a minute later, the Barracuda’s Nikita Jevpalovs tipped in a feed from Alex Gallant to cut San Diego’s lead to 6-4 at 13:18 of the second period. The score remained in favor of the Gulls, 6-4, heading into the third period.

Barclay Goodrow pulled San Jose within a goal only 43 seconds into the final stanza when he picked off a pass from Keaton Thompson and wristed a shot past Tokarski from below the right circle. Timo Meier tied the game at 5:54 of the third period with his second goal of the night off a wrist shot from the right boards that surprised San Diego’s netminder. Tokarski was removed from the game due to cramping following the goal and exited the game having surrendering six goals on 24 shots.

Rookie Kevin Boyle (8-3-4) played the remainder of the contest, stopping all 10 shots faced to earn his eighth win of the season. Boyle improved to 8-1-3 his last 12 appearances with a 2.10 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

Neither team found the back of the net in the remaining 14 minutes of the third period as the division rivals headed to a five-minute, 3-on-3 overtime period for the second consecutive meeting and third time this season.

An exciting extra session saw both teams trade chances until Tyler Morley took a feed from Theodore and lifted the puck over Armalis’ shoulder with 10 seconds left in overtime to give San Diego their fourth consecutive win on home ice.

San Diego concludes its brief two-game homestand on Friday night as the Gulls host the Tucson Roadrunners for the final time this season at Valley View Casino Center (7 p.m.). Fans can purchase tickets by visiting AXS.com/Gulls or by phone at (619) 359-4730.

NOTES: Max Gortz recorded his third multi-point game of the campaign (0-2=2) and has 0-10=10 assists in the past 11 games…Spencer Abbott registered his ninth multi-point effort of the season (0-2=2) and has 3-5=8 points over his last seven games…Kalle Kossila, Keaton Thompson and Nate Guenin all recorded assists for San Diego…The Gulls went 3-for-7 on the man-advantage, matching a season-high for power play goals in a game (Last: Feb. 24 vs. TEX).

Three Stars:
1. Tyler Morley (SD)
2. Antoine Laganiere (SD)
3. Corey Tropp (SD)