Series Tied 1-1 After Barracuda Take 5-3 Win in Game 2Apr 18, 2019
The Gulls fell 5-3 to the San Jose Barracuda in Game 2 of the First Round tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego to knot the best-of-five series at 1-1. Despite the setback, Sam Steel recorded his first career playoff goal and added an assist while shorthanded to mark the first multi-point game of his postseason career. The rookie has recorded 1-2=3 points in the First Round series.
“We were just getting a little too cute with the puck,” said head coach Dallas Eakins. “Our strength last night was getting that puck below the hash marks and really grinding away and we weren’t doing it. We were looking to try to make play off the rush, rather than make their defensemen turn. As the game went on, I think we got better at it. We got our grit back into our game.”
Chase De Leo scored his first career playoff shorthanded goal and second goal of the series. His two goals match the pair he scored in the 2018 postseason with Manitoba (2-6=8). The shorthanded goal marked the third all-time shorthanded goal (last: Nic Kerdiles in Game 1 of the First Round, Apr. 21 vs. Ontario).
For the second game in as many nights, San Jose took the lead with the first goal of the game. Barracuda forward Jayden Halbgewachs led a odd-man rush as the Barracuda entered the Gulls zone and dished the puck around Josh Mahura to the center of the ice. Evan Weinger took the puck alone in the slot and faked a shot before putting it past Glass 12:19 into the game.
Max Jones took a roughing minor late in the opening period, but the Gulls were successful on the late penalty kill to go into the break. San Jose outshot San Diego 10-6 in the first 20 minutes of the game.
A little over five minutes into the second period, San Diego took two more penalties just seven seconds apart, both delay of game minors. The 1:53 of the two-man advantage resulted in another Barracuda score. In a scramble in front of the net, Glass appeared to cover the puck, but San Jose poked it free and added to their lead at the 5:44 mark of the second frame. T.J. Hensick was credited with the goal for his second of the series.
Following the goal, the Gulls remained on the penalty kill, but down just one player. It took 31 seconds for the Gulls to gain some momentum by scoring their third playoff shorthanded goal in club history.
The play started as Jacob Larsson attempted to dump the puck, but a San Jose defender grabbed it out of mid air and dropped it to himself. Before the Barracuda player could do anything with the puck, Sam Steel poked it away to create an odd-man rush. Steel drew the other San Jose defenseman towards him and passed to a wide open Chase De Leo who blasted it past Korenar’s glove. With the helper, Steel now has two assists in as many playoff games.
Shortly after, San Jose scored another goal to reclaim the two goal advantage. An unfortunate bounce from a blocked shot resulted in Jonathon Martin with the puck with Glass out of position. Martin shot the puck from an awkward angle that hit Glass and bounced into the net 9:27 into the middle period.
With time winding down in the third, San Diego turned the pressure on and did everything they could to tie the game up. Down by two goals, Welinski fired a wrist shot from the point and Justin Kloos got a stick on the puck to redirect it past Korenar with 4:14 left in the game. The score marked the first career postseason goal for Kloos who now has points in consecutive games to start his AHL playoff career. Andy Welinski and Trevor Murphy each picked up assists for their first points of the postseason.
San Jose added to its lead with an empty net goal by Halbgewachs with 1:57 to play in the third period. Weinger and Nick DeSimone received assists on the play.
The Gulls again pulled within one as a result of some hard work in front of the net. Cracknell got a loose puck below the goal line and immediately tried a wraparound attempt that Korenar was able to save. The San Jose netminder couldn’t find the rebound, however, and Sam Steel poked it over the goal line, cutting San Jose’s lead to 4-3 with just 27 seconds left.
Adam Cracknell an assist on Steel’s goal while Jacob Larsson also collected an assist for his third point of the series (1-2=3).
The Gulls were unable to find the tying goal though, as off the ensuing faceoff Weinger grabbed the puck and put it into the empty net from center ice, sealing San Jose’s Game 2 victory.
“It certainly got a little hand, a little scrambly at the end, but we need more of a complete effort,” said Gulls captain Jaycob Megna. “We need to get going right away, we can’t wait and chase the game until late in the period to get going and finally get through to their goaltender. We have to start earlier.”
The First Round series against the San Jose Barracuda will shift to San Jose for Game 3 on Monday, Apr. 22 (7 p.m.) and Game 4 on Wednesday, Apr. 24 (7 p.m.). The Gulls are 3-1 all-time in Game 3 of the postseason.