Gulls Fall 4-3 to Barracuda in Final Home Game of Regular SeasonApr 10, 2019
The Gulls concluded their 2018-19 home schedule with a 4-3 loss to the San Jose Barracuda at Pechanga Arena San Diego. Despite the setback, the Gulls remain just two points from clinching a berth in the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs as they enter the final two games of the regular season.
“We played pretty well in the first, played how we needed to play,” said Gulls defenseman Jake Dotchin. “In the second we got a bit too cute, a bit too fancy, tried to do things we haven’t done in a couple months here. It came back to bite us. There’s no time for sulking or being pissed off. You have to pick your head up and go get two points in Tucson.”
After a Gulls faceoff win, Justin Kloos and Jack Kopacka took the puck up the ice for a two-on-two rush. Kopacka made a pass to Kloos who was able to beat the Barracuda defender and chip the puck past Korenar’s blocker for the first goal of the game. With the goal, Kloos has now scored in three consecutive games (3-0=3), the longest goal-scoring streak of his professional career. Benoit also picked up an assist on the play.
A series of penalties going against the Gulls forced them to the penalty kill, including 59 seconds of a five-on-three. San Diego escaped the remainder of the period with the 1-0 lead as they successfully stopped all three of San Jose’ power play opportunities.
San Jose evened the score midway through the second period on a deflection by Francis Perron. After the Barracuda won an offensive zone faceoff, Thomas Gregoire took a long shot from just inside the blue line that caromed off Perron and past Kevin Boyle, tying the game with 8:27 left in the middle frame.
A few minutes later, the Barracuda took their first lead of the night. After a Gulls defensive zone turnover, Maxim Letunov passed the puck in front of the net to Jon Martin, who was waiting alone in front of the Gulls net. Martin quickly fired a wrist shot through Boyle’s pads, putting San Jose ahead 2-1 at the 14:27 mark of the second period.
Another faceoff win for San Jose resulted in another goal for their third consecutive score. John McCarthy tied up Sam Carrick in the faceoff circle and Evan Weinger took the puck and attempted a shot at the net. With ten seconds left in the period, Boyle was unable to see the puck until it was too late and a last second effort to make a save wasn’t enough to stop the goal.
San Jose extended the lead to three midway through the third period with a breakaway goal. Francis Perron took the puck over the San Diego blue line before sending Maxim Letunov in alone. Letunov faked to the backhand before lifting a wrist shot over Boyle’s blocker, putting San Jose ahead 4-3 with 10:02 to play in the third period.
Midway through the third period, John McCarthy was sent to the penalty box on a slashing minor, bringing out the Gulls power play. Corey Tropp took a pass from Max Jones in the slot and threw it to Ben Street on the opposite side of the ice. Street stopped the bleeding with 6:15 remaining on his seventh goal of the season, his first on the man advantage.
The Gulls pulled within a goal in the waning moments of the third period. Tropp collected a pass in the corner of the offensive zone from Chase De Leo and took the puck to the net. After Korenar made a couple of quick saves, the puck bounced back to Tropp and the veteran winger buried a shot just underneath the crossbar, cutting the San Jose lead to 4-3 with seven seconds left in regulation.
Despite the late tally, it would be too little and too late for the Gulls as the Barracuda prevailed to close out the season series. San Diego posted a 6-4-0-0 record this season and own a 23-14-2-1 all-time record against San Jose.
“We just have to come out and play the way the San Diego Gulls can play,” said Tropp. “That stretch over the course of the season should give us all the confidence to go into a tough building and find a way to win. I think it’s a great opportunity. This is what you play for. Obviously we would’ve liked to clinched here tonight. Things like this in pro sports happen. We have to wash it, learn from it and look at the great opportunity in front of us.”
The Gulls will conclude their 2018-19 regular-season schedule with back-to-back matchups against the Tucson Roadrunners on Friday, Apr. 12 (7:05 p.m. PT) and Saturday, Apr. 13 (7:05 p.m. PT).