Tracey, Gulls Power Past Barracuda For Third Straight WinNov 24, 2021
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
On the night before Thanksgiving, the San Diego Gulls stuffed themselves full of goals.
Brayden Tracey’s three-point performance (2-1=3) and Vincent Marleau’s first American Hockey League goal powered the Gulls to a 5-1 win over the San Jose Barracuda tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego. With the win, San Diego reached the .500 mark (6-6-1-0) for the first time this season.
Hunter Drew and Jacob Larsson each recorded multi-assist games while Nikolas Brouillard extended his point streak to a career-high four games. Lukas Dostal held the Barracuda at bay, stopping 23 shots to collect his third win in his last four games.
"Well, it hasn’t been perfect, but we try to climb with our style of play and had a really good start, became flat for a little bit, and then we like they way we respond end of the second period and then the third was exactly what you expect when a team is leading," Gulls head coach Joel Bouchard said. "It’s been three games in a row where seemed to manage it very well. For a young team, a lot of guys had their first stride in the AHL. That’s that kind of feeling you have as a coach that they’re good guys, they’re cheering on for each other, which I’m very happy. "
Jayden Halbgewachs scored the lone goal for San Jose, extending his point streak to four games. Goaltender Zachary Sawchenko made 19 saves, suffering a second straight loss to the Gulls.
Facing San Jose in the third game of a four-game series, San Diego followed a similar blueprint for success, scoring the first goal of the game on a Brouillard point shot at 5:42 of the first period.
Drew dug a puck out of a scrum in the corner, banking a pass off the boards to a waiting Jacob Larsson. He sent it cross-ice to Brouillard, who briefly held the puck before floating a shot through traffic and past the screened Sawchenko for his third goal of the season.
Brouillard leads all AHL defensemen in scoring during the month of November with 3-8=11 points. Among AHL leaders on the blueline, Brouillard ranks tied for seventh in goals (3), eighth in points (11) and plus/minus (+7), and ninth in assists (8).
San Jose responded with 5:14 remaining in the opening frame. Halbgewachs received a pass at San Diego’s blue line and gained a step on the defense, angling past Brouillard before elevating a backhand shot past Dostal for his fifth goal of the season.
San Diego jumped back ahead in the second period, kicking off an impressive scoring streak that turned a tied game into a blowout win.
Defenseman Greg Pateryn broke the 1-1 tie with 7:47 left in the middle frame.
With San Diego on the power play, the defenseman jumped in the air to grab a San Jose clearing attempt. He dropped the puck on the ice and blasted a slap shot past Sawchenko for his first goal of the season.
Marleau extended the lead with his first AHL goal with 4:23 remaining in the period.
Morgan Adams-Moisan pounced on a loose puck at center ice, leading a 3-on-1 rush into the San Jose zone. He fed the puck to Brayden Tracey, who saw his shot blocked by Artemi Kniazev. The puck laid loose in the crease, and Marleau wasted no time chipping it up and over a prone Sawchenko and into the back of the net for the milestone marker.
"I saw Morgy (Adams-Moisan) kind of get the puck at the blueline and saw he had a three-on-one going to the net," Marleau said following the win. "He made a nice pass to Tracey; I just crashed the net and the puck was right there. Luckily, it went in. It felt so good to score my first goal."
The center battled through an undisclosed injury suffered early in the season to crack the lineup, making the moment even more special.
“I wanted to come back," Marleau said. "I had to take my time, obviously, not come in too quick, but it made me want to come back and it maybe made me a little bit more hungry. I want to play and be in the lineup every night so it feels good to be back."
Bouchard praised the rookie center following the win.
"He’s a guy I know from back home and he’s a late bloomer," San Diego's head coach said. "We’re happy to have him, you know, he got hurt early in the season, fought really hard with (Gulls assistant coach) Dan Jacob and I think when we saw him score that first goal in the office after the second. It’s nice to see a guy who went through adversity and just taking his first stride in the AHL an he’s actually doing pretty good."
Tracey would take over in the third period, scoring twice in the first seven-plus minutes to ensure the Gulls earned a third straight win.
His first came just 1:53 into the third to extend San Diego's lead to three.
Larsson played a puck from the point behind the net. It took a Gulls bounce, finding Drew in the slot. The forward missed his shot attempt, but laid the puck into the slot, where Tracey came crashing in to chip it over Sawchenko for his third goal of the season.
Larsson continues to pile up assists. The helper on Tracey's tally, his second of the game, extends his assist streak to four games (0-5=5).
Tracey scored a power-play goal at 7:02 of the final frame to pick up his fourth goal of the season.
With San Diego on the man advantage, Bryce Kindopp collected the puck at the Barracuda blue line. The forward sent a low, hard pass to the front of the net, finding a cutting Tracey alone near the crease. All the left wing needed to do was put the blade of his stick out for a pretty deflection goal.
The two teams will close their four-game series on Friday, Nov. 26 at Pechanga Arena San Diego. The Gulls will debut their new third jersey in a 5 p.m. PT puck drop.
"As much as we like to worry about the other team, we are always our worst enemy every morning, right?," Bouchard explained when asked how to replicate tonight's win on Friday. "Look in the mirror. So, it’s about us, keep going and I know it’s demanding, I know it’s hard, but you’ve got to keep pushing together with a common goal and that’s what I think the guys have been doing."