Gulls Fall To Barracuda In Sommer’s Return To San JoseNov 16, 2022
By Brett Pickler/SanDiegoGulls.com
The San Diego Gulls lost in head coach Roy Sommer’s return to San Jose, falling to the Barracuda 3-0 in the team’s first game at Tech CU Arena.
The Gulls failed to capitalize on the momentum of the Sommer’s return to the Bay Area, where he spent 24 years with the San Jose organization and became the American Hockey League’s all-time winningest coach. A slow start saw the Gulls on their heels, looking for chances on the counterattack.
Forward Rocco Grimaldi created two chances off the counter. He used his speed to create space between the defender but was brought down from behind, drawing a penalty in the process. His next chance came while shorthanded. This time, Grimaldi fought off both defenders and muscled a shot on net with Benoit-Olivier Groulx crashing the net hard.
San Diego found their best opportunity of the period after intercepting a breakout pass late in the opening frame. After a precise passing exchange where each Gull touched the puck, Grimaldi slid the puck back door to defenseman Nikolas Brouillard who was robbed by a sprawling effort from Barracuda netminder Strauss Mann.
Goaltender Lukas Dostal continued his outstanding play, stopping all 15 of San Jose’s shots in the opening frame. This marks the fifth time in his last six games he did not allow a goal in the first period.
The second period was more of the same for the Gulls. They registered five shots and had limited chances, with their best one coming off a rebound within the first minute. San Diego established zone pressure on the power play, but it quickly vanished when they took a penalty 22 seconds into their man advantage.
San Jose would break the scoreless tie after batting in a bouncing puck from the slot just over 11 minutes into the second. Jasper Weatherby would break the tie, lifting a backhand shot past the shoulder of Dostal for his second goal of the season. The Barracuda again hounded the Gulls goaltender this period, posting another 15 shots. His presence in the net continued to keep San Diego in the game and give them a chance to come back in the third.
The Gulls upped their pace to start the final period, throwing everything on net in hopes to create a rebound. This more frantic attack would backfire on the Gulls, as the Barracuda scored twice in the period. Their first goal came off a two-on-one at the five-minute mark, with Scott Reedy converting on a backdoor pass just beating Dostal. They would ice the game with 2:17 left in regulation, with former Gull Andrew Aggozino beating Dostal with a wrist shot from the slot for the Barracudas’ third and final goal of the night.
Dostal finished the game stopping 39 out of 42 shots. It marks the first time in his last four games Dostal allowed more than two goals. Despite the loss, the goaltender still holds an impressive 2.09 goals-against average (GAA) and a .945 save percentage (SV%) in his last seven starts.
San Diego’s penalty kill also continued to impress. The team stopped all four San Jose power-play chances, the team’s fifth consecutive road game the Gulls went perfect on the penalty kill (24-for-24). Over the last 10 games, The Gulls killed 43 of their opponents’ 45 man-advantage opportunities (95.6%) and ended the game ranked second in the AHL and Western Conference with an 88.9% success rate (56-for-63).