Anaheim Ducks prospect Nick Ritchie opened the scoring early, putting the Gulls up 1-0 just 1:48 into the first period, his ninth of the season. This set the tone for San Diego’s play early, as they hit the net hard and kept pressuring Barracuda goaltender Troy Grosenick. With the physical play ramping up during each ensuing shift, both clubs began trading penalties and punches until Gulls forward Chris Mueller put his team up 2-0.
When the Gulls came out for the second period, they struggled to stay out of the penalty box, playing an undisciplined game, while giving up endless scoring chances and turning the puck over in the defensive zone a myriad of times. Eventually, this led to the Barracuda notching two goals in a short period of time.
Tied at 2-2 after 40 minutes, the tables turned when the teams resumed play in the third period. San Jose struggled to stay out of the box and it was Gulls’ forward, and SoCal native, Nicolas Kerdiles capitalizing on one of the power-play chances, putting the Gulls up by one with only five minutes remaining in the period. However, with only 24 seconds remaining in regulation, Barracuda forward Scott Timmins buried a loose puck he picked up in front of the Gulls net, tying the game 3-3.
Overtime wasn’t enough either, although it did include a disallowed goal from the Barracuda and a missed penalty shot opportunity from the Gulls, the period ended with fists flying as the officials tried to regain control of the ice for the shootout, where San Jose eventually secured a 4-3 victory.
Discipline was a big problem for Gulls tonight and head coach Dallas Eakins said he used the second intermission to whip his team into shape. “I went in there and kicked their ass at first, and then tried to get them into a better mindset,” he said. “one thing we can’t get into is taking these minor penalties especially in a row, that’s where you get into trouble, and it reared its ugly head tonight and it ended up costing us.”
Defenseman Brandon Montour reiterated Eakins’ sentiments, adding, “We had to get back to basics, we took a lot of penalties in the second, we need to do what we usually do, it’s been successful for us.”
Gulls line combinations:
Nick Ritchie – Michael Sgarbossa – Stefan Noesen
Nicolas Kerdiles – Chris Mueller – Antoine Laganiere
Bryan Moore – Matt Bailey – Kenny Ryan
Joseph Cramarossa – (note: only 11 forwards) – Brian McGrattan
Jaycob Megna – Shea Theodore
Brandon Montour – Joe Piskula
Shane O’Brien – Stu Bickel
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