Gulls Extend Point Streak to Three Games with 6-1 Win Over San JoseDec 19, 2018
Matt Berry registered a goal and two assists as the San Diego Gulls (10-11-1-1) defeated the San Jose Barracuda 6-1 at Pechanga Arena San Diego. Four different Gulls players recorded multi-point nights as San Diego extended their standings point streak to three games (2-0-0-1) in San Diego’s largest win of the season.
Kevin Boyle stopped 23-of-24 shots to earn consecutive wins and back-to-back victories over San Jose (16-4-1-3). Boyle earned his seventh victory of 2018-19 tonight and stopped 51-of-55 shots the past two games to post a 1.92 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.
The win also snapped San Jose's league-leading 10-game standings point streak where they were 7-0-2-1 coming into tonight.
“It was an all-around unbelievable effort, right from our goaltender through our defense to our forwards,” said San Diego head coach Dallas Eakins. “Everybody was involved, which is an excellent, excellent sign. A lot of nights it is hard to get everyone involved. You might have 12 or 15 guys going but there are always a couple guys having an off night. Tonight it was everybody involved, everybody making an impact.”
It looked like the opening frame was going to end in a scoreless tie, but Gulls forward Sam Steel made a cross-ice pass to Joe Blandisi for a breakaway opportunity and score with 1:51 left in the period. Blandisi beat San Jose goaltender Antoine Bibeau five-hole to extend his his point streak to three games (2G/2A). Luke Schenn added the other assist for his third helper in his last four games played.
Early in the second period, with Blandisi serving a penalty for hooking, Adam Cracknell stole the puck from San Jose defenseman Nick DeSimone and created a two-on-one rush. He shot the puck off of Bibeau’s far pad and it went directly to Sam Carrick who found the back of the net for a shorthanded tally at the 6:52 mark of the second period. Cracknell’s assist marked his first point with San Diego.
Carrick’s shorthanded goal is his third of the season, tying him for the league lead with three others, all of whom have played in more games. He also tied the single-season club record for shorthanded goals, previously set in the 2016-17 season by both Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Chris Wagner.
San Jose cut the lead in half late in the second period with a power-play goal as DeSimone found a loose puck in the slot and snapped it past Boyle with 4:06 left in the middle frame. Barracuda assist leader Kyle Wood added his 16th helper of the season, giving him 1-4=5 points in three games played against the Gulls this season. Francis Perron recorded the other assist for his team-leading 24th point in as many games.
The Gulls reclaimed a two-goal advantage when Matt Berry tipped in a point shot by Jaycob Megna exactly four minutes into the third period. Chase De Leo won a puck battle in the corner before setting up Megna along the blue line. With Berry parked in front of Bibeau, Megna fired a low shot that the winger deftly deflected over the goaltender’s right just inside the post. The goal is Berry’s first for San Diego since his third period game-winner in a 4-2 Gulls win over the Ontario Reign on Feb. 20, 2016.
Just six minutes later, Berry ran over a San Jose defender in the neutral zone to start an odd-man rush with De Leo. After Bibeau stopped Berry’s initial shot, De Leo swept home the rebound for his sixth goal of the season at the 10:10 mark in the third period. With the assist, Berry recorded the first multi-point game of his career.
“Matt Berry has played very well since he’s come in,” said Eakins. “He’s been given an opportunity and he’s run with it. He’s been very responsible. Tonight, he had a good impact on the game.”
San Diego began to run away with the lead as Troy Terry registered his ninth goal and 23rd point of the year, retaking the team-lead in points. The goal was made possible as Sam Steel poked the puck free to Giovanni Fiore who centered a pass to Terry for the score at 14:04 of the final frame.
Berry concluded a career high three-point performance as he made a breakout pass that gave Blandisi a one-on-one scoring chance. Right before crashing the net, Blandisi spun around the defender and got the puck on goal as it found its way to the back of the net for San Diego’s sixth goal of the game.
“We’re playing with confidence right now,” said San Diego forward Joe Blandisi. “That’s two wins in a row against one of the best teams in the league. Coming into the year, we thought we were one of the best teams in the league and then we fell off a little bit. You can see it when we play our game and we play a full sixty minutes, we are a dangerous team to play against. Hopefully, we can get some momentum here and the snowball keeps rolling.”
The Gulls will conclude their three-game homestand and begin a home-and-home series with the Ontario Reign on Friday, Dec. 21 at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m.).