Gulls Win Game 3 to Put Barracuda on the BrinkApr 22, 2019
San Diego defeated the San Jose Barracuda, 4-2, to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series tonight at SAP Center. Dating to the regular season, the Gulls have earned points in eight straight road games (6-0-2-0) and earned points in 23 of their last 27 road contests (17-4-4-2). The Gulls also improved to 4-1 in Game 3 all-time.
Eight different skaters recorded points to help San Diego improve to 4-1 all-time in Game 3 of playoff series. The Gulls are one win from advancing to the Pacific Division Finals for the third time.
Jeff Glass stopped 20 shots to earn his second win of the series while also improved to a perfect 3-0 with a 1.65 goals-against average and .946 save percentage in three career road postseason games. In allowing only 22 San Jose shots, the Gulls set a club playoff record for the fewest shots allowed over three periods (24 in Game 2 of the First Round, Apr. 22, 2017 @ Ontario).
Tied for the Calder Cup playoff lead in goals, De Leo added his third in as many games played this playoffs. De Leo joined Chris Mueller as the only other player to open a postseason or series with a goal in each of the first three games. Mueller accomplished the feat in Games 1-3 of the First Round, Apr. 21-28, 2016 against the Texas Stars.
Sam Carrick added two assists, for his second multi-point game and fifth point of the series against San Jose. With 5-7=12 postseason points collected over two postseason runs with the Gulls, Carrick took sole possession of the club lead for all-time playoff scoring. In addition, Carrick is now tied for the lead in points (1G/4A5) and assists in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
The Gulls and the Barracuda traded shots in the opening period, but for the third consecutive game of this series, San Jose got on the board first. Matt Fonteyne stole a pass that was intended to break the Gulls out of their own zone and flipped it to Jonathon Martin. Charging down the left wing, Martin fired a shot from the inside of the faceoff circle and past Jeff Glass 2:48 into the game.
San Diego had several chances to tie the game, including a redirection on an odd-man rush by Justin Kloos soon after the opening goal. Later on, Corey Tropp rang a shot off the post and a one-timer by Sherwood from the slot that nearly trickled through with five minutes remaining before intermission.
It wasn’t until the final minute of the opening frame when the Gulls cashed in on their best shot of first period. Max Jones played the puck to Carrick who took it behind the San Jose net and fought off a Barracuda defenseman. Just as a second defender was about to reach him, Carrick slid the puck out into the slot where Sam Steel was all alone. With only 39 seconds left in the opening 20 minutes of the period, Steel shot the puck far-side, beating Glass on his blocker side. The score marked Steels’ third consecutive game with a point and his second with a goal.
"It was good, obviously. Anytime you score the first goal, the odds of you winning the game go way up," said Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins. "We know that. It’s something that we’re going to continue to really harp on. Not only do we want to get the first one, we’d like to get the second one too. Good response after falling behind early. Anytime that you go through a game and give up single digit shots on net for all three periods, it’s going to be a good night."
Early in the second period, Francis Perron took a two-minute cross-checking minor and the Gulls cashed in on their second power play chance of the night. Carrick passed into the slot and Jones fired a shot, but the attempt was blocked. Ben Street took the rebound that was sliding away from the net, curled around and took another chance, this time beating a screened Korenar 3:41 into the middle frame.
De Leo broke up a play in his own zone and flipped the puck forward to Kloos as time was winding down in the second period. Kloos showcased his patience with the puck and waited for the perfect time to slide the puck back to De Leo for a breakaway opportunity. Faking a wrist shot, De Leo brought the puck to his backhand and scored for his third consecutive game with a goal. The score, coming at the 16:47 mark of the second, marked the first time in the postseason that the Gulls have owned a two-goal lead.
The Gulls’ two-score lead didn’t last long as a series of whacky bounces resulted in a San Jose score just under two minutes later. The goal came with 1:16 left in the second period, marking Martin’s second score of the night.
With just over three minutes left in the game, Glass denied San Jose on both of possibly their best two looks of the final period. The first was a blocker save on Alexander True and the rebound came out to Martin, who was denied of a hat trick with another pad save by Glass.
Right after, San Diego sealed the deal with an empty-net goal with 1:16 remaining in the game. Adam Cracknell shot the puck down the ice and Steel raced down the ice to void the pending icing call. Instead, the puck continued around the boards and Kiefer Sherwood collected it and slid it to Cracknell for San Diego’s fourth score of the game.
San Jose’s Dylan Gambrell had another chance late in the game to give the Barracuda life, but another incredible glove save by fully spread out Glass from his side denied the opportunity.
"That close-out game is always the hardest one to win," added Eakins on the Gulls ability to eliminate San Jose in Game 4 Wednesday. "We’ve got to go in and not be hesitant and hope to win it. We have to go in and really take control of the game."
The Gulls and Barracuda resume the series with Game 4 on Wednesday, Apr. 24 (7 p.m.). San Diego can eliminate San Jose with a win.