Blandisi and Terry Power Gulls to 4-3 Win, 10-Game Point StreakJan 4, 2019
Troy Terry scored two goals and Joe Blandisi added three points as the San Diego Gulls (16-11-1-3) beat the Western Conference-leading San Jose Barracuda (19-7-1-3, .700%) 4-2 victory at Pechanga Arena San Diego. San Diego extended their win streak to five games and their standings point streak to 10 games as they collected their third win against the Barracuda over the past three weeks.
Kevin Boyle stopped 27 shots to set a club record and personal best with his seventh straight win dating to Dec. 15. During his seven-game win streak, Boyle has posted a 2.12 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. The longest win streak in club history surpasses his previous high of six consecutive victories from Jan. 27-Feb. 17, 2018.
“He looks controlled and big in the net from the bench,” said Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins regarding Boyle. “I think he’s tracking the puck very well. I see his confidence in the morning skates and in practice. It’s a real mindset thing from Kevin and he’s leading our team really well.”
San Jose got on the board first at the 16:28 mark of the first period as Vincent Praplan capitalized on a fortuitous bounce. Dylan Gambrell won a battle behind the net before throwing the puck to the slot and right to a wide open Praplan for the goal. Kyle Wood picked up the secondary assist on the play, adding his team leading 18th assist.
Seconds before the first intermission, Terry and Blandisi played give-and-go to put the Gulls on the board. After San Jose turned the puck over in the Gulls zone, Blandisi raced up the ice, sliding a pass along the blue line to Terry. The wingers traded two more passes before Terry fired a wrist shot over Barracuda netminder Josef Korenar’s blocker with 12 seconds left in the opening frame.
Terry has registered at least one point in 23 of his 28 games played this season, while Blandisi has been on the scoresheet in 12 of his last 16. In addition, the Gulls have scored a first period goal in 10 of their last 11 games, outscoring their opponents 12-9 in the opening frame over that stretch.
San Diego nearly took the lead halfway through the second period as Ben Thomson got behind the San Jose defense for a breakaway, but Korenar denied the shot with his left pad midway through the second.
Adam Cracknell gave San Diego its first lead of the game, beating Korenar blocker side for his first goal as as Gull. Keaton Thompson made a pass down the ice before Chase De Leo redirected it to Cracknell for the score. De Leo has recorded at least one point in seven of his previous eight games, totaling 2-6=8 points over that span.
Early in the third period, Terry struck again to extend the Gulls’ lead. Blandisi held the puck along the right wing wall, drawing two defenders to him before sending a pass to Terry alone in front of the net. Terry faked to his left and slid the puck between Korenar’s legs to give the Gulls a two-goal lead 1:32 into the final period.
With the goal, Terry (14-19=33) ties Alex Barre-Boulet of the Syracuse Crunch for the most points among AHL rookies, while playing in four fewer games. Blandisi earned the primary assist on the goal for his sixth multi-point game of the season.
Just 11 seconds after a hooking minor was given to Sam Carrick, San Jose scored and cut the lead back to a single goal. Gambrell was the recipient of the goal as he fired an untouched slapshot from the point for his ninth goal of the season. Nick DeSimone and John McCarthy each gained an assist on the play.
Blandisi restored San Diego’s two goal with a power-play tally late in the third period. With Praplan in the penalty box for tripping, San Diego worked the puck around the perimeter of the zone before Andrej Sustr wristed a shot from the right point. The Barracuda were able to block the shot, but couldn’t keep Blandisi from the rebound as the winger quickly slammed home the loose puck with just 3:39 left to play in the game.
With a goal and two assists tonight, Blandisi has six points (2G/4A) in his last three games played. Trevor Murphy collected the secondary assist on the goal. Murphy has points in three of four games since joining the Gulls.
San Jose scored to pull within a goal as time expired in the third period. Jonathon Martin took a pass in the right wing circle from Alexander True and beat Boyle with a wrist shot over the glove at the 19:59 mark of the third period.
“I think we’re keeping our momentum going and we’re not showing any signs of slowing down,” said San Diego netminder Boyle. “The confidence is there and we’re coming out, especially in the third period, it’s was usually our best period over these past few weeks. We’re playing well and we just need to keep it going.”
The Gulls also improved to 4-1-0-0 through the first five games of a 10-game season series with San Jose. The Gulls have defeated the Barracuda, first in the Pacific Division and second among teams in the AHL in points percentage (.700), on four straight occasions dating to Dec. 15, outscoring San Jose 19-8 in that span.
“It’s kind of a benchmark for us and they’re at the top of our division,” said Gulls leading scorer Terry. “One of the games that we beat them, the first time that we beat them, we were maybe last in our division or we were down there, to beat them was when we knew that this isn’t us and we have the capability to get out of where we were. We’ve kept building and to be able to keep having success against them, it speaks volumes to where our team is at.”
The Gulls begin a four game road-trip this Sunday, January 6 against the Ontario Reign at Citizens Business Bank Arena (3 p.m., Radio: Mighty 1090).