Andersson, Zegras Lead Gulls To Third Straight Win Over BarracudaApr 21, 2021
The San Diego Gulls completed a sweep of back-to-back games over the San Jose Barracuda tonight, defeating their Northern California rival 6-2 at SAP Center. With wins on consecutive nights, San Diego earned a season series victory over San Jose with a 4-2-0-0 record in six meetings, ending the season with three straight wins over the Barracuda. The Gulls lead the Pacific Division in wins (21) and points (42).
"Playing in this league, every game is a four-point game in a regular year, but now, the way the standings work out on point percentage, it’s even more important to win those head-to-head games," assistant coach David Urquhart said following the win. "You see that game against Bakersfield we lost on the weekend, and they jumped ahead of us in the standings despite that point differential. Every single one of these games where you’re playing teams like San Jose, Bakersfield, Henderson, who are right there in the standings – those are very important games. They go a long way for that points percentage and especially these next couple games coming up, they’re going to go a long way for that."
San Diego’s offense produced by committee, with six different goal scorers and 13 Gulls earning at least one point. Trevor Zegras (1-1=2) and Andrew Poturalski (0-2=2) posted multi-point efforts as San Diego scored at least five goals for the seventh time in its last 11 games. The Gulls lead the American Hockey League in goals (118).
For the second straight night, San Diego opened the scoring early in the first period. After the Gulls cleared the puck from their defensive zone, Hunter Drew chased it down and set up Axel Andersson in the slot, where the rookie defenseman beat San Jose netminder Sam Harvey with a backhand bid to put the Gulls ahead 3:34 into the action.
Andersson has goals in consecutive games (2-1=3) and 2-3=5 points in his first seven AHL contests. Drew, a natural defenseman who continues to adjust to the forward position, registered 2-4=6 points in his last 10 games.
Greg Printz earned his first professional point with an assist on the game’s opening goal.
San Jose evened the score late in the first period as Joachim Blichfeld snapped a wrist shot past Olle Eriksson Ek for his team-leading 12th goal of the season.
The level score did not last long, as a tic-tac-toe passing play restored San Diego’s one-goal advantage minutes into the middle frame. Zegras skated the puck into the offensive zone before zipping a hard pass to Chase De Leo on right wing. De Leo wasted no time delivering a strike of his own, setting up Vinni Lettieri for a tap-in goal to give the Gulls a 2-1 edge at the 5:14 mark of the second period.
Just over a minute later, Simon Benoit scored his first goal of the season to extend San Diego’s lead to two. Following an offensive zone faceoff, Alex Limoges worked a loose puck free to Nikolas Brouillard, who set up his partner for a one-timer. Benoit’s point shot found its way through a swarm of bodies in front and by Harvey, putting the Gulls ahead by two 6:40 into the period.
"It was really good to see Benoit chip in with a goal there and that’s what you need," Urquhart said. "Coming down the stretch here, you want guys chipping in from all four lines and the D stepping up. It’s a big part of our game is to have the D engage in the offense. The reason we’ve had some D jump in the rush and create offense that way. It’s really good to see Benoit jumping in there with the goal, he could’ve had a couple tonight."
With an assist, Brouillard has points in five of his last six games (0-6=6) and eight points (2-6=8) in his last eight contests. Limoges has 2-2=4 points in his last two games.
The Barracuda trimmed the deficit to one as Alexander True converted an odd-man rush with Jayden Halbgewachs at the 13:09 mark of the middle frame.
It appeared the Gulls would take a one-goal lead into the second intermission, but a fortunate bounce doubled the advantage with seconds to spare.
Poturalski fed Andrew Agozzino behind the net and Agozzino looked to return the favor. Agozzino’s centering feed didn’t make it to its intended target, instead deflecting off San Jose defenseman Robbie Russo and past Harvey with two seconds left on the clock, giving the Gulls a 4-2 cushion heading into the final period.
"It’s a position we’ve been in for a couple of games here coming down the stretch," Urquhart said. "The team is starting to learn how to play with the lead and that’s a good thing. Getting that extra goal right at the end of the period, that’s always important."
Sam Carrick added an empty-net goal at the 17:23 mark of the third period. The goal extended Carrick’s point streak to four games (3-4=7).
The captain also skated in his 216th game as a Gull, tying a former Gulls captain and one of tonight’s opponents, Jaycob Megna, for the most games played in club history.
With two assists, Poturalski registered his ninth point multi-point game of the season and extended his point streak to three games (1-3=4). The second-year Gull continues to pace the AHL in scoring (8-26=34) and assists.
Zegras capped the scoring, beating Harvey with a wrist shot on an odd-man rush for San Diego’s sixth and final goal. Zegras has 4-3=7 points in his last four games and currently leads AHL rookies in points per game (1.20, min. 10 games played).
After taking three of four games on the road trip (3-1-0-0), the Gulls return home this weekend for a back-to-back with the Henderson Silver Knights at FivePoint Arena.