PREVIEW: Gulls at BarracudaDec 3, 2018
The Gulls travel to SAP Center for a quick, one-game road trip to face the San Jose Barracuda (12-3-1-2, 27 points) for the first time this season (7:00 p.m., ESPN 1700). Tonight marks the first of 10 games the two California teams will play during 2018-19.
The Gulls (8-7-1-1, 18 points) are coming off a two-game home series against the Manitoba Moose, splitting the two contests in severely contrast games. San Diego fell 5-1 on Wednesday, but came back on Friday with an emphatic 2-1 victory that saw both teams combine for six fighting majors and 110 penalty minutes.
Joe Blandisi scored his first career shorthanded goal late in the third period to give San Diego the lead that they would hold for their eighth win of the season. The Gulls held Manitoba to just 14 shots on net, setting a club record for the fewest shots allowed in a single game. Kevin Boyle (5-4-0) made two first-period saves before exiting the game after the first intermission due to illness. Jared Coreau (3-3-2) came on in 39:53 of relief, stopping all 11 shots faced to pick up his third win of the season.
Despite the thrilling result, the Gulls will be without center Sam Carrick for the next three contests. Carrick received a match penalty at 19:07 of the second period and it was announced yesterday (Dec. 2) by the AHL that he was suspended for the play. Carrick will be eligible to return to game action for San Diego on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Colorado. Carrick currently leads San Diego in goals (9) and ranks tied for second in scoring (9-7=16).
A strong center presence that could replace Carrick in the lineup could be Kalle Kossila who was assigned to the Gulls by the Anaheim Ducks on Friday prior to the victory over Manitoba. Kossila rejoins San Diego where he has scored seven points (3G/4A) in six games this season. The 5-10, 185-pound Finnish native has scored one goal in eight games with Anaheim this season. Kossila ranks second all-time on San Diego with 113 career points (40G/73A) behind only Corey Tropp who has totaled 49 goals and 76 assists (125 points) in 144 games with San Diego.
San Jose enters tonight leading the AHL in points percentage (0.750) while they sit atop the Pacific Division with a 12-3-1-2 record. Their strong record is largely due to their ability to keep opposing teams off of the scoreboard as they lead the AHL with the fewest goals against (41). The second best in the league is at a distant 53 (Syracuse).
San Jose’s goaltenders Antoine Bibeau (5-2-2) and rookie Josef Korenar (7-1-1)are the reason the Northern California club has remained atop the league in goals against. While Bibeau sits fourth among AHL leaders at a 2.18 goals-against average (GAA) and .925 save percentage (SV%) this season, but it’s Korenar who ranks second in the league with a 2.09 GAA and .927 SV%.
San Diego owns a 17-10-2-1 all-time record against San Jose, including a 5-7-1-0 on the road. Through the first three seasons, the Gulls have scored at a 24.3 percentage rate on the power play against the Barracuda (26-107) while the penalty kills has remained largely successful at 88.0 percent (88-100), the best mark against any team the Gulls have faced.