The San Diego Gulls got a single goal Saturday night, and it looked for a while like that would be enough. But the third period was all San Jose Barracuda, and four third-period goals proved the difference in a 4-1 victory for San Jose at Pechanga Arena.
Benoit-Olivier Groulx broke a scoreless tie with 2:13 remaining in the second period for the game’s first tally. The Barracuda countered and then some in the third with goals by Patrick Holway, Evander Kane, Scott Reedy and Jaycob Megna.
The Gulls’ goal stood up for most of the night, and it was a good one. With San Diego on the power play, Danny O’Regan fed Vinni Lettieri with a hard pass at center ice. He moved over San Jose’s blue line with Groulx in tow, feeding the center with a pass to the left. Groulx let go a wrist shot wired to the top of the net for his first goal of the season.
San Diego, celebrating its Teddy Bear Toss night, flooded the ice with stuffed animals following the score. The teams went to the locker room before playing out the final minutes of the second period, switching sides and starting the third period.
The two goaltenders took center stage early in regulation, with Olle Eriksson Ek of the Gulls and Alexei Melnichuk of the Barracuda turning away dangerous chances in the opening period.
Ek made two saves just past the six-minute mark to keep San Jose off the board. His first came on Holaway, denying the defenseman with a poke check. The puck laid in the slot, where Jeffrey Viel tried to whack it past the Swedish netminder. Ek met his chance, deflecting the puck up and over the net.
Melnichuk would once again stand tall, denying the recently reassigned Buddy Robinson on a penalty shot attempt with 8:42 left in the opening frame.
Ducks reassign two to Gulls
The Anaheim Ducks announced that the club has reassigned defenseman Jacob Larsson and right wing Robinson to the Gulls.
Larsson, 24, has appeared in 159 career games with Anaheim, recording 23 points and 44 penalty minutes. The 6-2, 190-pound defenseman began 2021-22 with San Diego, recording seven assists and eight penalty minutes in 19 AHL games, ranking second among Gulls blueliners in assists and third in scoring.
Robinson, 30, had two points with a plus-2 rating in six games with Anaheim this season.