Gulls Fall to Barracuda, 5-1Oct 11, 2019
The Gulls dropped their second straight contest to open the season in a 5-1 loss to the San Jose Barracuda at SAP Center. Hunter Drew scored his first professional goal and point and Anthony Stolarz made 37 saves in the setback.
"If you don’t play hard, what happened to us tonight is going to happen to you," said head coach Kevin Dineen. "There’s a lot of different areas that we have to improve on. Certainly our effort has to be much higher. We left our goalie out to dry way too many times. I was proud of the way Stolarz battled but your goalie can’t be your hardest working player or else you’re in trouble."
The Gulls were given an early chance on the power play after Antti Suomela was called for holding the stick just under two minutes into the game but were unable to convert. Shortly after the penalty expired, Corey Tropp and Jeffrey Viel dropped the gloves in a spirited bout in the San Jose zone.
San Jose got on the board first as Maxim Letunov deflected a Thomas Gregoire shot through Stolarz 15:47 into the first for a power-play tally. San Jose found their groove late in the period, extending their lead to 3-0 over the following 2:45. The first was a product of Viel, who scored off of a turnover in the defensive zone at the 16:59 mark of the first frame. Alexander True appeared to score shortly after, but the goal was immediately waved it off as the puck was directed in with a clear kicking motion. The Barracuda capped off their three-goal opening period with a second power-play goal by Jayden Halbgewachs at the 18:32 mark of the period.
The man advantage was the difference on a night San Jose went 2-of-6 on the power play with both tallies coming in the first period while San Diego converted on one of six opportunities.
"It made a huge difference. We couldn’t generate anything on the power play," said Dineen. "Early in the first period our game was fine and then we took a couple penalties, too many men and then a slashing penalty. Two unnecessary penalties. Those are the ones that end up biting you in the tail and they certainly did tonight."
With San Diego looking to get back on track in the middle frame, San Jose extended their lead to 4-0 when True capitalized off of a rebound following an initial sprawling save by Stolarz.
Drew finally got San Diego on the scoreboard 14:22 into the third period on their fifth power-play chance of the night. Circling the puck in the offensive zone, Kiefer Sherwood made a cross-ice pass that the rookie defenseman quickly snapped on net to beat Korenar for his first professional goal and point in just his second game.
"It’s nice to score a goal, but I wish it meant a little more," said Drew. "Late in a loss isn’t exactly how I drew it up, but yeah, it’s nice."
Sherwood has two points in as many games (1G/1A) after scoring a goal in the season-opening game. Blake Pietila recorded an assist for his first point as a Gull.
The Barracuda answered just 38 seconds after Drew’s tally as Jonny Brodzinski intercepted a missed pass for a clear breakaway and netted his first goal in a Barracuda sweater to complete the scoring.
"That’s a fast team, they play fast," added Drew. "You have to give them credit. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot early. We have to be better than that."
The Gulls will conclude their three-game road trip with a matchup against Stockton tomorrow (6 p.m.) before returning home to San Diego for their home opener Friday, Oct. 18 at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m. PT).
NOTE: Antoine Morand made his professional debut after being selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round (60th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft.