The San Diego Gulls were looking to sweep a home-and-home series against the San Jose Barracuda after taking the first game in Northern California 5-0. In the end, overtime was needed to determine a winner on Teddy Bear Toss Night, benefiting Rady’s Children’s Hospital.
A sloppy first period by the Gulls kept them scoreless through four power play opportunities, and the few chances they dug up in the offensive zone were met with a defense reading every move. To make matters even more challenging, Barracuda goaltender Troy Grosenick was putting on a clinic in net. The period ended with what fans thought was a Gulls goal just before the buzzer, leading to a raining frenzy of teddy bears, only to have the goal waived off after further review.
The second period did not kick off much better, as the only person keeping the score at zero early on was Gulls goaltender Anton Khudobin in his first start for the team since being sent down by the Anaheim Ducks earlier in the week. San Jose eventually found the back of the net and began dominating the play until the Gulls caught a break on a power play, with defenseman Shea Theodore firing a rocket behind Grosenick. It wasn’t long before the home team notched another goal, as Gulls forward Stefan Noesen cashed in on the power play, picking up a loose puck in front of the net to make it 2-1.
More high-intensity play began right from the drop of the puck in the third period and tempers were quick to flair, leaving both teams at each other’s throats all period long. Scoring chances were plentiful in both ends, with Barracuda forward Nikolay Goldobin finally breaking loose and using a rocket of a wrist shot to bring his team even on the scoreboard. The remainder of the period remained scoreless sending the game into overtime, which began with San Jose on a 14-second power play.
A non-stop overtime meant the teams remained 4-on-4 through the entire period until Noesen scored his second of the night, winning the game the game for the Gulls with 1:49 remaining on the clock, securing a series sweep for San Diego.
After the game, Noesen said it felt great to finally get his scoring going after having a rough start – “Our penalty kill has been a huge asset to us along with our power play, we had two good power play goals and a huge penalty kill at the end and the win in overtime.”
Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins was happy his team had begun to string together some wins after “things went sideways” recently, following a great start to the season, but said tonight’s game was trouble for everyone.
“The game was crazy, both teams had trouble controlling the puck,” said Eakins. “I called the time-out and told the guys to breathe.”
When asked what Khudobin brought to the team’s goaltending situation, since coming down from the NHL, Eakins noted, “[He is] certainly athletic. He made a couple of saves there, sprawling across the net that I am not sure many guys could pull off. I thought he was pretty settled in there, he came in here with an excellent attitude.”
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