Beating Back Barracuda

Gulls High-Powered Offense Helps Propel Them Past Barracuda

Nov 19, 2021

By Paige Burnell/

Jacob Perreault continued his torrid streak, pacing the San Diego attack as the Gulls sunk the San Jose Barracuda 4-3 tonight at SAP Center in San Jose, CA.

"With a young group, again, they’re just getting together and new coaching staff, it wasn’t perfect in the third, but I agree with you it was the attitude that I like,” Gulls head coach Joel Bouchard said. "It’s like, 'Okay, let’s do it this time.' You know? It was the same message. The result was different because they guys were actually not giving anything to give position as best as we could."

WATCH: Perreault Stays Hot | GameCenter

San Diego’s right wing extended his career-high point streak to eight games with a multi-point performance (1-1=2). Nikolas Brouillard added two assists and Vinni Lettieri, Bryce Kindopp and Brogan Rafferty scored to give the Gulls their third win of the season.

Lukas Dostal backstopped his team to the win with 29 saves.

"I think his best performance of the year." Gulls head coach Joel Bouchard said. "He’s a good goalie, but he’s a professional. And success is not a magic trick. For me, he has success because he doesn’t cut any corners. He’s a professional. He goes about his business. I like him."

Jayden Halbgewachs led San Jose with three points (1-2=3). Nick Merkley collected a multi-point game and Matt Ready (PPG) scored for the Barracuda, who saw their modest two-game win streak end. Goaltender Zachary Sawchenko stopped 26 shots, suffering his first loss of the season.

The Gulls controlled the puck for the first ten minutes of the game, but it took a successful penalty kill to ignite the Gulls’ offense.

"I think that’s a big thing that we’ve been trying to touch on here and today, we got it going up 3-0," Gulls left wing Alex Limoges said. "Quick start is going to be huge for us and then keep playing like how we did in the third period today."

Just after time ran out on the Barracuda’s man-advantage, Perreault carried the puck up the center of the ice and placed the puck right on Brogan Rafferty’s stick. Rafferty skillfully played the puck between his legs to fire off a quality chance that eventually found its way into the back of the net through chaos in front of Sawchenko at 9:41 of the first. 

WATCH: Rafferty’s Between-The-Legs Beauty

Perreault's point streak is the fourth longest active streak in the American Hockey League.

The Gulls didn’t stop there as Vinni Lettieri converted a feed from Buddy Robinson into a shot that grazed past Sawchenko’s glove and into the back of the net to give San Diego a 2-0 lead and Lettieri his fifth goal of the season. 

Perreault added on in the middle frame, scoring his third goal in the last two games – and his seventh of the season – to push the Gulls lead to three. The right wing tallied 6-7=13 over the course of his eight-game point streak. His season totals in goals (7), assists (8) and points (15) lead the Gulls and places him among the top-ten point getters in the AHL.

Brouillard earned his second helper of the night on the tally, his sixth in the last six games. The second-year Gull has seven points in his last six contests (1-6=7) and leads team blueliners in both assists (6) and points (7). He finished the night tied for second on the team in points.

Making his achievement more impressive - this is the first time in six games Brouillard is back at his natural defensive position after a stint at left wing. 

"He’s been everything you ask for a player as a coach," Bouchard said. "Solid every time we put him on the ice. He buys in. He understands what’s going on. You gotta be proud of him."

The Barracuda did worm their way onto the scoresheet halfway through the second period, ending Lukas Dostal’s shutout with a goal from Nick Merkley assisted by Nick Cicek and Jayden Halbgewachs with 8:47 left in the frame.

This began a volley of goals between the two teams as San Jose scored again with a power-play goal from rookie Scott Reedy, only to have Bryce Kindopp score his first goal of the season just over a minute later to make the score 4-2. 

With only 33 seconds left in the middle period, Halbgewachs scored with help from Sasha Chmelevski and Mark Alt to put San Jose within one goal of tying the game. 

"I think we had a really clear game plan into the third and goals that we wanted to achieve and so, guys bought in and we did it pretty well," Limoges said. "Obviously, there’s things we can fix, chances we can limit, pucks we can get in deep, but I think we did a good job holding the lead and playing the game."

San Diego faced a similar situation as it's last game, a loss in Bakersfield. Tasked with protecting a one-goal lead, the Gulls rose to the challenge and held San Jose in check to secure the two points.

"Everything we need is to be better every day on every little thing we talk about," Bouchard said. "Yeah, we were better on some stuff, which is good. And then we gotta push to be better all the time. I’m already thinking about tomorrow about little things that I want to show and talk to the guys. Our job is to make sure we push the guys to be the best version of themselves, individually and collectively. We had times we were the best version of ourselves on the ice and at times it wasn’t. So it’s time to go with the first option."

The two teams will finish a back-to-back set of games at SAP Center with an afternoon puck drop (1:15 p.m. PT, TV: AHL TV; RADIO: Gulls Audio Network).

"That’s a thing and right now, kind of forget about this game and start focusing and getting ready for tomorrow as well as a quick start," Limoges said. "I think that’s a big thing that we’ve been trying to touch on here and today, we got it going up 3-0. Quick start is going to be huge for us and then keep playing like how we did in the third period today."

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