Photo credit: @sjbarracuda
By Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Barracuda responded with a statement game of their own against the San Diego Gulls. After getting spanked 48 hours earlier, San Jose served up some revenge in a 5-2 victory over their Pacific Division rival on Monday afternoon at SAP Center.
With the win, San Jose reclaimed second place in the Pacific Division with 62 points while San Diego is currently in third with 60 points. This is San Jose’s second win in seven contests against San Diego this season.
San Diego (27-15-3-3) drew first blood in a wild back-and-forth first period. Adam Cracknell sent a go-ahead pass to Sam Steel from the red line to create a breakaway. Steel skated in and made a quick deke before sliding the puck between the five-hole of Cuda goalie Joesef Korenar (16-5-1) for his 14th goal of the season at the 4:02 mark of the first period.
San Jose (27-12-2-4) received the equalizer when Vincent Praplan fed a pass back to the right point to Jeremy Roy. Roy then sent a wrist shot through traffic that took a tricky bounce past Gulls goalie Jeff Glass (8-6-2) into the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season at the 5:48 mark. Evan Weinger received the secondary assist.
“I thought we played a helluva game tonight compared to the one we played other night,” said Cuda head coach Roy Sommer. “Big turnaround. I thought our details were a lot better. We were a lot harder to battle. We played a little reckless. You can win a lot more games than lose when you play like that.”
The Gulls regained the lead just 11 seconds into their first power play of the game. Keifer Sherwood sent a pass from the point over to the left slot where Cracknell one-timed the puck off the pads of Korenar. Sam Carrick was camped out in front to clean up the rebound for his team leading 25th goal of the season at the 8:13 mark.
San Jose would only need 18 seconds to even it back up on the very next shift. Jeffery Viel chased down the puck to the right slot, spun around and fired a cross-ice pass through the crease over to Alexander True, who buried the puck past Glass for his team-leading 16th goal of the season at the 8:31 mark. Anti Suomela received the secondary assist.
“I think it was another great team effort,” said True. “They helped me score some goals, (but) it was a team effort.”
True second his second goal of the game and 17th on the season on the power play. Francis Perron made a nice play to keep the puck in the Gulls zone during a clearing attempt. After skating around a defender, he fed a pass down low to Dylan Gambrell behind the net, who made a sweet backhand pass over to True, who one-timed a wrist shot past Glass at the 12:30 mark.
“To get that big goal was huge for us,” said Perron. “Then after that we just kept on going and kept it (the momentum) going playing a really good team.”
Maxix Letunov gave the Cuda a 4-2 lead with just a minute and half left in the period when he was able to redirect a Nick DeSimone wrist shot from the right point into the upper left corner of the net for his ninth goal of the season at the 18:31 mark. Praplan received the secondary assist for a two point afternoon.
In the second period, the Cuda had two quality chances to extend their lead only to be stoned by Glass. Weinger had a point-blank chance stopped in the first three minutes and Letunov’s wraparound attempt was denied by a sprawling Glass at the six-minute mark.
San Jose cashed in for the second time on the power play. Captain John McCarthy feathered a pass from the point toward the net that deflected off Rourke Chartier and onto the stick of Gambrell. Glass made the initial save, but wasn’t able to hold onto the puck as Chartier cleaned up the rebound top-shelf for his sixth goal of the season at the 10:38 mark.
There was no scoring in the third period as San Jose clamped down defensively only allowing five shots on goal by San Diego.
Tensions were high and things were chippy throughout the game with after the whistle skirmishes behind the net, including Glass taking exception to True barreling his way into him on a rush early in third period.
“We play these guys a lot and I’m sure we don’t like them and they don’t like us,” said True. “It’s going to get chippy out there sometimes and you saw that (out there) tonight.”
Korenar finished with 25 saves on 27 shots to earn his 17th win on the season. Glass made 33 saves on 38 Cuda shots in suffering the defeat.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 2/5 on the power play. San Diego was 1/4.
Gambrell played his first game since being reassigned by the San Jose Sharks. He now has 30 points in 32 AHL game this season (11G, 19A).
San Diego has out scored San Jose 29-16 in the last six head-to-head matchups.
The announced attendance was 6,027.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda travel out to Iowa to begin a three-game road trip as they take on the Wild on Thursday 2/21 at 5:00 pm at Wells Fargo Arena.