Gulls close in on first place with 5-1 win over San Jose

SAN DIEGO -- Dustin Tokarski stopped 36 of 37 shots and defenseman Shea Theodore scored twice one minute, 34 seconds apart in the second period as the San Diego Gulls defeated the San Jose Barracuda, 5-1, Wednesday evening at Valley View Casino Center.

The victory was the Gulls seventh straight at home, their longest streak in their two seasons in the American Hockey League. The team had won six straight twice last season and once earlier this season.

The two-goal game was Theodore's second in his 134-game professional career. He also scored twice for the Norfolk Admirals in the first period of a 5-4 loss to Syracuse Crunch on Nov. 8, 2014. The Admirals moved to San Diego following the conclusion of the 2014-15 season.

Defenseman Brian Cooper, Scott Sabourin and Kalle Kossila also scored as the Gulls (38-15-3-2) won for the 10th time in the last 12 games, 14th in their last 17, 20th in their last 24 and 27th in their last 32.

Two players from each team -- Gulls right wing Max Gortz and defenseman Jaycob Megna and San Jose left wing Alex Gallant and right wing Jon Martin -- receiving game misconduct penalties for their roles in four simultaneous fights with 1:04 to play.

Another fight broke out four seconds later with Gulls defenseman Stu Bickel receiving a 10-minute misconduct penalty for continuing an altercation, a five-minute major for fighting and two-minute minor for slashing. Barracuda defenseman Dan Kelly received a five-minute major for fighting.

Cooper opened the scoring 10:53 into the first period putting a wrist shot past San Jose goaltender Troy Grosenick for his third goal of the season and first since March 3 in a 4-1 victory over the Tucson Roadrunners.

Theodore scored a power-play goal at 3:53 in the second period and an unassisted goal at 5:27 before a crowd announced at 6,555.

Defenseman Tim Heed spoiled Tokarski's bid for his second shutout of the season with a power-play goal 3:27 into the third period.

The Gulls increased their lead to 4-1 on Sabourin's goal at 14:13 of the third period. Kossila scored an empty-net goal with 2:37 left.

Tokarski made 13 saves in the first period and 16 in the second to win his seventh consecutive decision, improving to 16-6-0-1.

Grosenick made 21 saves for the Pacific Division-leading Barracuda (38- 14-2-4), the San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate.

The Gulls killed three of San Jose's four power-play opportunities and scored on one of their three.

The Gulls, the Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate, are 5-0-0-0 against the Barracuda this season at Valley View Casino Center. The home team has won all 10 games in the series this season.

The Gulls will next play Friday at Bakersfield, the Edmonton Oilers AHL affiliate. Their next game at Valley View Casino Center will be Saturday, also against Bakersfield.