May 13, 2017
The San Diego Gulls were eliminated from the Calder Cup Playoffs by the San Jose Barracuda tonight after falling 2-0 in Game 5 of the Pacific Division Finals. Troy Grosenick stopped all 34 shots to earn his second shutout of the postseason and lead the Barracuda to the Western Conference Final for the first time in their history to face the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Gulls’ second season in San Diego came to a close at Valley View Casino Center after the club advanced to the Division Finals for the second consecutive season. The Gulls also set a club record with 43 wins and finished the regular season with the third-highest win percentage in the AHL (.669).
“Success sometimes isn’t winning or winning a championship. I think success is, at the end of the day, knowing you did your absolute best,” said Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins. “With the way our lineup has been, especially with the injuries, we couldn’t squeeze any more blood from the stone.”
“All of our guys gave us everything they had, I know that for sure, and I want them to know that not only are we grateful what they did for our organization and us. They really supported each other. They should find that success feeling knowing that they did everything they could to win.”
San Jose’s Barclay Goodrow opened the scoring for the second consecutive game with his fourth goal of the playoffs and third of the series. As the trailing man on an odd-man rush, Goodrow accepted a pass in the slop from Jacob Middleton and snapped a shot that beat Gulls goaltender Jhonas Enroth on the glove side to give the Barracuda a 1-0 lead at 10:24 of the first period.
After an even first 20 minutes, the Gulls trailed 1-0 despite having outshot the Barracuda 13-12, tied for the most shots San Diego has had in the opening period this postseason.
Adam Helewka doubled San Jose’s lead to 2-0 at 14:00 of the second period with another power-play goal, their seventh of the series. As the Barracuda have done all series, Helewka converted a rebound off of Julius Bergman’s point shot to continue the trend of finding rebounds around the net and taking advantage of their opportunities. .
Despite San Diego steering the most shots on net in a period this postseason (15), the Gulls found themselves trailing 2-0 with 20 minutes remaining in regulation and their season on the line.
At 14:31 of the third period, Barracuda defenseman Timo Meier was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for charging Stu Bickel. With a five-minute man advantage, San Diego was only able to generate three shots and one high-quality chance as San Jose killed off the major penalty.
San Jose closed out the remaining nine-plus minutes on the clock to earn their spot in the Western Conference Final.
“They’ve got a great goalie, they’re a good team, there’s a reason they have the best record in the league during the regular season,” said Gulls defenseman Jaycob Megna. “We tested them a bit tonight, more than we had in the last couple games, we played really well, we just couldn’t get a bounce.”
The Gulls season came to a close, but head coach Dallas Eakins had one last thought before closing out his final press conference.
“I think this is a marriage made in heaven. We’ve got an organization that is committed to this community, that we’re going to come out. The one thing they know is that we’re going to come out and give you everything we have,” added Eakins. “We already know and we feel that our fans and this community is giving us everything they have. This building is an incredible place to play, an inspiring place to play, and there’s no better place to play than here in San Diego.
“We’re grateful to have the opportunity, it’s a privilege, and we’re always going to pay you back with our commitment and our work ethic.”
1. Troy Grosenick (SJ)
2. Barclay Goodrow (SJ)
3. Adam Helewka (SJ)
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