Gulls Eliminated by Chicago in Six Games Following 3-1 LossMay 27, 2019
San Diego fell 3-1 to the Chicago Wolves and were eliminated from the Calder Cup Playoffs in six games tonight at Allstate Arena. Sam Carrick scored the lone goal for San Diego on the power play to tie Adam Cracknell for the team-lead in goals (7).
The Gulls completed their season with the most wins in a single playoffs (9) after advancing to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in club history. With 17 all-time playoff wins, the Gulls lead the Pacific Division in wins and is the lone Western Conference club to advance to the Division Finals on three occasions since the inception of the current division format in 2015.
"I’ve never experienced a real team like this that loves each other so much. They support each other through the adversity of being in last place to scraping and clawing to get in the playoffs to playing 11 overtimes and getting here to today," said head coach Dallas Eakins. "It’s amazing. Tonight’s not a successful night, it’s painful, it’s hurtful, it’s disappointing and it’s all of those things because the tightness of the group. We just needed a bounce or two to make it in the Finals.
San Diego came out of the gates strong, recording the first nine shots of the game before Chicago’s first scoring opportunity eight minutes into the opening period. The Wolves then had a couple of chances to claim the first goal of the game, most notably a shot by Tye McGinn that went off the crossbar.
The first frame ended in a scoreless tie with the shots at 12-5 in favor of the Gulls. Both teams stayed disciplined as there were no penalties through 20 minutes of action.
Chicago started the middle period controlling the shot totals in a similar fashion as San Diego in the first frame. The Wolves best scoring chance came as Stefan Matteau took a pass from Keegan Kolesar and split the Gulls defensive pair for a breakaway. All alone, Matteau challenged Boyle with a wrist shot, but Boyle used his blocker to stop the shot and keep the game even.
Each team was given a chance on the power play in the second period, Chicago getting the first chance on a too many men minor by San Diego. The Gulls held them in check and stayed hot on the penalty kill, marking their 13th consecutive kill. T.J. Tynan and Jake Bischoff each took penalties, but San Diego was unable to capitalize on either of their power play chances.
The Gulls 13 straight successful penalties killed dating to Game 2 of the series on May 18, set a new club postseason record. The previous mark of 11 was set from Apr. 23-29, 2016 (span of three games).
The third period began still without a goal for either side as Chicago took a 19-18 lead in shots thanks to a strong middle period by the Wolves.
The game’s first goal came at the 12:28 mark of the third and final frame, 52:28 into the game as Chicago got on the board. It marked the first goal Boyle surrendered in 112:28 at Allstate Arena dating to Game 2 of the series.
Defenseman Nic Hague fired a low shot at Boyle and Curtis McKenzie was in front of the net to redirect the puck past Boyle’s glove and into the net.
The Wolves doubled their lead just 19 seconds later as a turnover in the Gulls zone gave defenseman Griffin Reinhart a clean look from the blue line. The shot was again redirected and got past Boyle low, giving Chicago a 2-0 lead.
Not long after, the Gulls drew a penalty for interference and McKenzie was sent to the penalty box. On the power play, Ben Street took a shot from the faceoff circle and Wolves goaltender Oscar Dansk made the save. Dansk was unable to secure the rebound however and Sam Carrick was able to put the puck in the back of the net on a second chance with 5:09 remaining in the game.
Almost tying the game was Gulls captain Jaycob Megna who hit the post with just a few minutes remaining. Shortly after, Chicago scored their third goal of the game as McKenzie netted his second of the night on a glove side wrist shot from the slot with 3:05 left on the clock.
The Gulls pulled Boyle from the net for an extra attacker with 2:30 left, but it was not enough as the final horn sounded and the Wolves came away with a 3-1 win to advance to the Calder Cup Finals for their sixth time in club history (first since 2008).
"These players to a man truly loved each other and I mean that in the word love," added Eakins. 'I’ve never experienced a group like this and I think that’s why it hurts so badly."