Gulls Set For Matinee Matchup in San JoseFeb 29, 2020
The Gulls conclude a weekend back-to-back today when they visit the San Jose Barracuda for their final contest of February at SAP Center (1:15 p.m. PT, TV: AHLTV, Radio: San Diego Gulls Audio Network). The Gulls are closing a stretch of 14 games over a 30-day period from Jan. 31-Feb. 29 (six home, eight road) where the team is currently 9-2-2-0.
Today closes the 17th set of back-to-back contests, where the Gulls posted a 18-11-3-1 record overall, including 9-4-2-1 in the second game (9-7-1-0 in the opening contest). The Gulls opened the set by scoring three unanswered goals in a 4-2 comeback win last night in Stockton.
Despite the two points, the Gulls still find themselves on the outside looking in for the Pacific Division playoff race. Ontario defeated Tucson to remain one point ahead of San Diego, holding down the fourth and final playoff spot, but the Gulls continue to hold two games in hand. Colorado now sits only three points ahead of San Diego in third.
Goaltender Anthony Stolarz stopped 24-of-26 shots to win his 21st game of the season last night, tying a single-season career high (also 2015-16 with Lehigh Valley) and now ranks second among all AHL goaltenders in wins. He improved to 11-2-2 his last 15 starts with a 2.32 GAA and .932 SV%, He also improved to 6-2-2 his last 10 road starts with a 2.19 GAA and .934 SV%.
“Stolie [Anthony Stolarz], I don’t think he was great last game in (Tucson) and he’ll be the first to admit it,” said Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen after the win. “You always have decisions to make because Kevin (Boyle) has played some solid hockey for us, but he’s the kind of guy you know is going to bounce back. Certainly that was a great bounce-back effort, we were very solid in net.”
With each of their next three games at SAP Center, the Gulls and Barracuda will become familiar foes the next eight days. San Diego begins its three-game stretch in San Jose with the ninth matchup of a 12-game season series between the California clubs. The Gulls have earned points in six of the eight contests against the Barracuda this season (5-2-1-0), including three straight wins Feb. 22 (6-3), Feb. 5 (4-2) and Jan. 31 (5-3).
The Gulls own an all-time mark of 28-16-3-1 vs. the Barracuda, including 16-6-2-1 at home (12-10-1-0 at SAP Center). Sam Carrick (5-4=9) paces San Diego in scoring, while Chris Wideman ranks just behind him (1-6=7) also leading in assists against San Jose.
Kevin Boyle is likely to get the nod today with Stolarz having stated last night’s contest. Boyle is 4-1-1 with a 2.49 GAA and .926 SV% his last six appearances.
Jayden Halbgewachs ranks second in scoring and leads the Barracuda in goals, recording 16-16=32 points in 49 games this season. Despite San Jose’s struggling season, Halbgewachs has been making an impact as of late. The Emerald Park, Saskatchewan native collected two points in each of his last two games (1-3=4) and tallied points in five of his last seven games (2-6=8). In eight appearances against San Diego, the left wing has notched 3-1=4 points.
Jeffery Viel has also helped in Barracuda point production, tallying 12-11=23 points in 48 appearances this season and ranking fifth among San Jose skaters. Viel ranks tied for second in scoring against the Gulls, recording 2-3=5 points in seven meetings. The Rimouski, Quebec native kickstarted a three-game point streak with a career-high three-point effort on Feb. 17 vs. Tucson (2-1=3). Viel went on to score a goal in each of the two following games.