Home Win Streak Ends At SevenMar 5, 2021
San Jose scored three first-period goals en route to snapping San Diego’s seven-game home winning streak, defeating the Gulls 5-1 tonight at FivePoint Arena. Despite the loss, San Diego leads the AHL in home wins (7) and points (14).
Jayden Halbgewachs (2-0=2) and Robbie Russo (0-2=2) recorded multi-point efforts to lead San Jose's offensive attack. Goaltender Alexei Melnichuk earned his first American Hockey League win, stopping 16-of-17 shots.
Andrew Agozzino scored the lone goal for the Gulls, extending his goal streak to three games. Lukas Dostal made 27 saves in the loss.
"They came out with a pretty good start," Agozzino said. "I don’t know if it was as much them doing something to us to not get our game going, I think it was more so us not playing our game. I think there were some areas that we could definitely improve on that would have prevented that first period. I think that first period is more on us than what they did."
That start - a three-goal outburst in the opening frame - put the Gulls in a difficult hole.
Southern California native Evan Weinger gave San Jose the lead with 8:53 left in the first period, recording his first goal of the season as his pass from the corner bounced off a Gulls defender in front of the net and past Dostal.
The Gulls responded quickly, evening the score just 16 seconds later. With a delayed penalty coming to San Jose, Antoine Morand delivered a backdoor pass to Andrew Agozzino, who snapped a quick shot past Melnichuk to tie the game. Agozzino’s goal extended his scoring streak to three games (3-0=3).
Brendan Guhle collected his first point of the season with an assist on the tally.
The Barracuda reclaimed the advantage with a power-play goal by Halbgewachs at the 15:39 mark of the first period.
San Jose extended its advantage to two just over a minute later as a point shot bounced off Karlis Cukste in front of the net and by Dostal, giving the Barracuda a 3-1 lead with 3:16 left in the opening frame. Cukste, a defenseman playing forward and making his American Hockey League debut, earned his first professional goal on the marker.
"It wasn’t the start tonight, it was the whole game," head coach Kevin Dineen said. "I think we just got outplayed from the drop of the puck and that carried forward from there so when you recognize that’s happening, it’s not just a coach yelling at players. It’s recognizing what we’re up to isn’t working, simplifying our game and keeping the puck out of our end. We had trouble with our breakouts and forecheck. It was a complete game where we didn’t have a lot of structure."
The Barracuda extended the lead to 4-1 as Sasha Chmelevski tipped home a point shot from Russo at the 10:23 mark of the second period. The goal marked the first time the Gulls conceded multiple power-play goals in a game this season.
"You kill of a two minute and you’ve got a four-minute penalty you have to kill," Dineen explained. "You have to make sure that you can’t pile on and have four-minute penalties. Our penalty killing has been pretty good for the most part this year. Obviously, we gave up two big goals tonight."
Halbgewachs capped the scoring with just over five minutes left in regulation, taking advantage of a friendly bounce off the boards as the puck came right to him in the slot. The third-year wing beat Dostal with a glove-side wrist shot for his second goal of the night.
The Gulls and Barracuda meet for the second half of the weekend back-to-back tomorrow at FivePoint Arena (7:30 p.m.; TV: FOX 5 San Diego; RADIO: Gulls Audio Network).