Ducks Prospect Nick Ritchie Leads the Way, But Gulls Fall to Barracuda 4-3

Gulls Barracuda AHL hockey 2015-11-13The San Diego dropped the first of a two-game series to the visiting San Jose Barracuda in a shootout loss, after earlier giving up the lead twice throughout a game wrought with penalties.

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:

Forwards

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

Defense

Jaycob Megna – Shea Theodore

Brandon Montour – Joe Piskula

Shane O’Brien – Stu Bickel

Andrew O’Brien

Goal

John Gibson

Matt Hackett

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