Gulls Double Up Barracuda
Dineen Sets Wins Mark; San Diego moves within three points of idle OntarioFeb 5, 2020
The Gulls extended their point streak to five games with a 4-2 win over the San Jose Barracuda tonight at SAP Center. The Gulls are 3-0-2-0 their last five games, and have points in 10 of their last 11 games (8-1-2-0). The team has also recorded points in a season-high five straight road contests (4-0-1-0) while also posting a 9-4-1-0 mark the last 14 road games.
With the win, head coach Kevin Dineen (155) passed Dallas Eakins as the winningest head coach of an Anaheim Ducks primary affiliate. Dineen is 155-92-17-18 (.612%) with San Diego (2019-present) and the Portland Pirates (2005-08), leading Anaheim’s primary affiliate head coach’s in all-time wins, points (345) and points percentage, while ranking second in games coaches (282). Eakins, Anaheim’s current head coach, posted a 154-95-15-18 record with San Diego from 2015-19 (.608).
"That’s a good stat," the head coach said following the win. "Great organization to be a part of, I can’t say enough to how I’ve been treated. Not only this time but my first time around, so it’s a pleasure to be here. It’s kind of fun to watch the players when I had my first round here that have gone on to have long, successful careers in the NHL. That’s what you enjoy, watching these young guys in that same process now."
Anthony Stolarz earned his third straight win and 16th overall this season after stopping 36-of-38 shots. He is 6-0-1 his last seven starts with a 2.39 goals-against average (GAA) and .933 save percentage (SV%). He is also 8-2-1 with a 2.37 GAA and .934 SV% his last 11 road starts.
Chris Mueller, Simon Benoit, Brendan Guhle and Alex Dostie each scored for San Diego, with captain Sam Carrick recording an assist to push his point streak to five games (1-5=6).
"I was hoping to get two," Benoit joked following the win. "It doesn’t happen often so when I get one, I hope to get two. I saw he was giving me the low blocker side, so I aimed for that hole and it went in."
San Diego got on the scoreboard first when Chris Mueller potted his 14th goal 5:49 into the contest for an early lead. Mueller slammed home a rebound from a Chris Wideman point shot passed Barracuda netminder Andrew Shortridge. The goal marked his third for San Diego and second in his last three games (also vs. San Jose, Jan. 31).
The Barracuda tied the game just 2:06 after Mueller’s score when Ivan Chekhovich was left all alone in front and deked around Stolarz on a quick move for his third goal of the season.
"The game had some ebbs and flows to it," Dineen explained. "We’re trying to get away from that to get a little consistency to our game. At the end of it, we found a way to win. I think our D did a good job contributing. For us we had some puck management issues that we have to stay on top of. You walk out and say you got two points on the road and that’s a good way to go."
After 20 minutes of play, the Gulls had a 19-14 shots advantage, a season-high in shots for San Diego in the first period,
Benoit broke a 28-game goalless streak when he blasted a wrist shot that beat Shortridge to put San Diego ahead 2-1. Carrick brought the puck into the zone and pushed it down the boards to Blake Pietila whose through traffic found the second-year defenseman streaking through the slot to beat Shortridge with 11:00 minutes remaining in the period.
With the primary assist, Pietila has earned 2-3=5 points and a +5 rating his last four games. Carrick’s assist pushed his point streak to five games, while his +1 rating on the night pushed him to the top of the league in plus/minus (+25). He also has 19 points his last 15 games (10-9=19, +16) and 28 points his last 24 contests (17-11=28, +25).
A few minutes after the score, a failed pass attempt by Jani Hakanpaa just outside of the Gulls zone resulted in a breakaway chance for Chekhovich to tie the game. All alone, Chekhovich threw a low wrist shot at Stolarz who dropped to the ice for a pad save to maintain a one-goal lad. Through two periods, Stolarz had 27 saves as the Gulls continued to hold the lead in shots, 29-28.
The Gulls extended their lead to 3-1 when Guhle found the back of the net on a shot from the blue line 5:24 into the third period. The puck caromed off a San Jose defensemen on its way through traffic with Andrew Poturalski high in the slot, as the unassisted goal marked his fourth of the season, which would stand as the game-winning goal.
It wasn’t until the final 10 minutes when San Diego took their first penalty of the game. Max Comtois and Lukas Radil each took separate boarding minors which led to a scrum behind the Gulls net. As the extracurricular activities continued, Comtois and Jeremy Roy dropped the gloves in the first and only fight of the night.
Two additional penalties were soon after taken. Chris Wideman was called for hooking and in the process of the penalty kill, San Jose defenseman Trevor Carrick was also called for holding. During the brief four-on-four action, Joachim Blichfeld brought San Jose within one goal with 5:47 remaining. A pass by Chekhovich through the slot gave Blichfeld a wide-open net to tap the puck past a sprawling Stolarz to make it a one-goal game.
San Jose pulled Shortridge in the final minutes in favor of an extra attacker, but following a faceoff in the Gulls zone, Poturalski blocked an attempt from Barracuda defenseman Trevor Carrick, resulting in an odd-man rush down that ended with Dostie receiving a break-out pass from Isac Lundestrom for the game-sealing empty-net goal. The goal marked his 10th of the season, doubling his career total of five goals over his first two AHL seasons. The assist for Lundestrom marked his fourth the last four games.
San Diego will return home to open a two-game homestand beginning Friday, Feb. 7 vs. the Tucson Roadrunners at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m.).