Gulls Win 5-1, Beat League's Top Team in Convincing FashionDec 30, 2018
For the third time in 15 days, the Gulls beat the league’s top team following a 5-1 victory over the San Jose Barracuda at SAP Center. The Gulls closed out their 2018 calendar year with an emphatic win as Kevin Boyle won his fifth straight game behind a 34-save performance.
Max Jones had a career night with a highlight-reel goal and three points (1-2=3), Troy Terry kept his point streak intact with a goal and assist, while Sam Carrick and Joseph Blandisi also recorded multi-point games.
The win over the AHL’s top team extended the Gulls standings point streak to eight games (6-0-0-2), a season high and tied for the third longest such streak in club history (also an eight-game point streak from Jan. 26-Feb. 17, 2018; 8-0-0-0). San Diego has also earned points in a season high four straight road games (2-0-0-2).
"I thought we played pretty strong of a game. Kevin Boyle was really big in net, especially early on in the game," said Gulls assistant coach Sylvain Lefebvre. "San Jose came out strong, obviously they were fresh. They were waiting for us here not playing last night. But having said that, I thought our guys battled really hard right until the end, especially the third period. We played a really, really strong third period."
With a 14-11-1-3 start to the season through 29 games, it marks the second-best start in club history, one point shy of the 16-12-0-1 (33 points) record through 29 contests in the club’s inaugural 2015-16 season.
The Gulls also closed the calendar year with a 35-26-3-4 over 68 games, and concluded the month of December 6-4-0-2 with the eight-game point streak following four losses to begin the month which San Diego was tied in each of the four contests at one point.
For Boyle (10-5-0), the victory marks the second longest win streak of his career that dates to Dec. 15. He has posted a 2.17 goals-against average and .920 save percentage and is one game shy from matching his career high of six straight wins from Jan. 27-Feb. 17, 2018.
The Gulls opened the scoring 4:13 into the first period as Chase De Leo picked up his seventh goal of the year. Joe Blandisi sold the shot on a two-on-one rush and fed the puck across from one set of the hash marks to the other and it was De Leo that potted the goal to give the Gulls a 1-0 lead and mark a new career high with at least a point in six consecutive games (2-5=7). Matt Berry picked up the secondary assist, his sixth helper and seventh point in nine games since joining the Gulls on Dec. 7 on a professional tryout.
Just past the 14-minute mark of the period, Keaton Thompson would race to a loose puck with Antti Suomela and catch an edge as he pivoted back to the blue line. Thompson would remain down and be tended to by the Gulls medical staff and ultimately helped off the ice. Thompson would later return to begin the second period.
Off the ensuing faceoff, Max Jones would double San Diego’s lead with a highlight-reel goal at the top of the crease. Sam Carrick won the faceoff and found Jones at the top of the crease to the left of Bibeau, and the former Anaheim Ducks first round selection put the puck between his legs and lifted the puck over the blocker side of the Barracuda goaltender for his 10th goal of the season. It marked the second straight game with a goal for Jones who would later add two assists for five goals and nine points (5-4=9) in his last seven games.
"It was pretty nice. Instinct kind of just came over and I figured I might as well try to score and score in a cool way," said Jones following the game. "It’s just kind of what came to mind and what happened."
After one period of play, despite trailing 13-5 in shots, the Gulls held a 2-0 lead.
The Gulls began the second period just as they started. Sam Steel was the recipient of a turnover in the Barracuda end and was denied on a breakaway attempt but he wouldn’t be denied his next shift just moments later. At 6:23 of the middle frame, Steel collected a Troy Terry pass to the right of Bibeau and quickly fired the puck into the back of the net to mark his sixth goal of the season. The goal was Steel’s first in nine games but the 30th overall selection of the 2016 NHL Draft has recorded five points his last six games (1-4=5).
In what looked to be a potential turning point for San Jose, the Gulls denied any chance of the Barracuda getting back into the game midway through the period. Murphy took a tripping call at 8:03 of the period, and then just 24 seconds later Jones was whistled for hooking that would give San Jose a two-man advantage. For the full 96 seconds, San Diego stymied the Barracuda power play and didn’t allow a shot on goal for the first full 55 seconds.
San Jose captain John McCarthy would spoil the 3-0 lead just six seconds prior to the second intermission with his seventh goal of the season and make it a two-goal game after 40 minutes of play. McCarthy received a pass from Dylan Gambrell and his shot from the left side of Boyle found its way through the Manalapan, N.J. native and just over the goal line. San Jose had been peppering the Gulls net with shots, with the goal marking the 17th of the period in which the Gulls were outshot 17-5 in the middle frame.
"I think that for us, the way we played, the way we reacted, it was our mindset going into the third period. Getting scored on with six seconds left in the second period, some teams would have crumbled and we didn’t. We came out in the third period early dedicated to managing the puck. We came out with a mindset that there’s no turning around and we’re going to win that game."
After an uneventful first five minutes of the final period, a thundering check by Jake Marchment floored a San Jose forward and immediately got the attention of Barracuda defenseman Jeremy Roy. The two dropped the gloves and had a spirited bout that Marchment landed the vast majority of the punches, while Roy got a few good punches in at the tail end as Marchment attempted to get loose from his elbow pads and took two hard punches that sent both to the ice.
Blandisi served a two-minute minor for hooking and as the Gulls killed the sixth straight penalty of the game, the left wing emerged from the penalty box to receive a loose puck at the far blue line and gain entry into the offensive zone. Blandisi entered the San Jose zone with Carrick and Jones, found Carrick at the far post for a one-timer that gave the Gulls another three-goal lead at 4-1 with 5:58 left in regulation. The assist marked Blandisi’s second of the game and gave Carrick another multi-point game and move into a tie for second among AHL leaders in goals. The goal also set a new career high, surpassing the 16 he set in 2015-16 with Toronto.
The Gulls would score into the empty net as Jones picked up his third point of the evening, a new career high, as he fed Troy Terry in front of the empty cage for a tap in. It sealed a 5-1 victory for San Diego, extended the season-long point streak to eight games and a road point streak to four games. For Terry, it gave him the AHL rookie lead in scoring (12-19=31) and co-lead in assists, while he also ranks second in points-per game (1.19).
Terry has collected points in 22 of his 26 games this season, and is the only player in the AHL to have multiple point streaks of nine games or more this season. Terry previously recorded a club record 11-game point streak from Oct. 19-Nov. 23 (7-9=16), scoring a point in each of his first 11 games to begin his AHL career.
The Gulls killed all six of San Jose’s power plays, and failed to score on their three, with four goals 5-on-5 and one 5-on-6 into the empty net.
"That’s three games in four days and I knew that most of us felt a little more drained," added Jones. "We got in late, it’s the same thing a couple weeks ago, we didn’t have the best legs or the best mindset, and I think Dallas really hit it home again that it doesn’t really matter."
"It doesn’t matter that we just played the night before and had to bus, it doesn’t matter. We still have to go out and play and I think that’s what we did tonight. We went out and played."
During the eight-game point streak, the Gulls have scored a combined 36 goals to average 4.5 goals per game. With 103 goals through the first 29 games this season, the Gulls have their highest goal total through 29 games in club history to surpass the 91 in 2017-18. The Gulls have also scored 42 goals in their 12 road games to date, the most road goals through 12 games in club history (previously 40 in 2017-18).
San Diego will begin their 2019 portion of the schedule and close out the three-game road trip on Jan. 2 at the Bakersfield Condors at Rabobank Arena (6:30 p.m.).