Battling The Barracuda

Preview: San Diego Looking To Get Back On Track In San Jose

Nov 21, 2023

By Nick Aguilera/ 

After a tough homestand, the San Diego Gulls are looking to hit the reset button tonight against the San Jose Barracuda at Tech CU Arena (7 p.m. PST, TV: AHL TV, Radio: Gulls Audio Network). 

The Gulls were shut out by the Charlotte Checkers in their last contest, a 1-0 loss on home ice Friday night. San Diego will be looking to get their offense going against a San Jose team that has allowed the third-most goals per game in the American Hockey League. 

"I thought that, especially the second night, we looked really competitive," head coach Matt McIlvane said. "We looked really organized and it was sustained for 60 minutes. 

"Offense was hard to come by. There’s some part of that that we can certainly control. But our fight was there, and we were pretty organized as a group. We consider that a bit of something that we can springboard into tomorrow."

"This league is all about momentum," forward Nikita Nesterenko added. "You can lose 10 in a row. You can win 10 in a row. It happens like that, so as long as we get one, that’s what we’re worried about and then we’ll roll from there."

Despite the loss, San Diego’s defense shined against Charlotte. The penalty kill unit also turned heads, not allowing a goal despite being shorthanded six times. 

The Gulls’ focus is now shifted towards getting back into the win column. The Gulls practiced at Pechanga Arena San Diego on Sunday and headed straight to the rink after landing in San Jose on Monday. 

"Yesterday we had one of more competitive, hard-working practices for the season," McIlvane said. "Practices have been hard to come by in the last couple weeks, especially a practice with two days out. We wanted to make sure we utilized that day and the guys brought great effort. 

"The focus for practice was a lot of offense today. The way the pucks going to move. We spent a lot of time on special teams. Just working a little bit through that drive part of our game."

Andrew Agozzino returns to San Jose for the first time since being traded to Anaheim during the offseason. Agozzino served as captain and led the Barracuda in points last season (26-35=61). 

Tomas Suchanek is back with the Gulls being recalled from Tulsa of the ECHL on Sunday. Suchanek had a 3-3-0 record with a 2.68 goals against average and .908 save percentage with the Oilers prior to his call up. 

The Gulls will head back down the California coast after tonight’s game and welcome the Chicago Wolves for back-to-back contests on Friday, Nov. 24 (7 p.m. PST) and Saturday, Nov. 25 (6 p.m. PST). 

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