March 9, 2021
The San Diego Gulls (9-5-0-0) and San Jose Barracuda (4-3-2-0) will compete against each other tonight at the Solar4America Ice in San Jose in a rubber match of their three-game series. It is the third meeting in five days for the rivals of the Pacific Division.
The teams split the first two games last weekend in Irvine in a back-to-back set, including an overtime thriller on Saturday March 6th. The game was largely decided by goalkeeper Olle Eriksson Ek, who started his first career as an American Hockey League wins in his first game ever. The Swedish netminder stopped 39 of 41 shots and became the second youngest goalkeeper to win a game for San Diego.
“It was like a normal game, you’re always a bit nervous,” said Eriksson Ek at his first start. “It helps you focus, but nothing crazy. When you feel good, you play good too – that’s important. “
After Andrew Agozzino had ended the regulation with two draws, he found the final point for the winning goal in overtime. It was his fourth game in a row with a goal (4-0 = 4) that was not his career high.
It was also a big night for the rookies when Benoit-Olivier Groulx scored a goal and assist for his first career multi-point game (1-1 = 2). Maxim Golod posted two assists (0-2 = 2) for his first career AHL points.
“It was the energy. It was a good rebound game and a lot of it was the speed we created through the neutral zone and it takes a lot of energy to play that way, ”said assistant coach David Urquhart of what went on in the last Game heading must be achieved in today’s competition. “If you want to get into the pre-exam or move the puck quickly, you need to have good energy, so we’d love to see that [tonight] also.”
The seagulls want to come out of the gates strong and match the energy of a few nights ago. San Jose remains on the hunt for the seagulls and sits at 10 points with five games in hand as quirks appear early in the season.
Alexi Melnichuk is one of three netminders on San Jose’s roster who could see the net tonight. Melnichuk earned the start of both games this weekend and helped the team score three out of four possible points.
Another player to see tonight is Maxim Letunov. On Saturday Letunov lit the lamp for his first of the year. The third year professional led the Barracuda a year ago in the ranking (40) and assists (28) and received the award “Most Valuable Player”. He also ran in five games with the Sharks and scored his first NHL goal.
After the game, San Diego will visit Bakersfield at Mechanics Bank Arena on Wednesday March 10th (6pm).