Welcome to the Barracuda Brief, your weekly one-stop shop for updates on the San Jose Barracuda. The Barracuda Brief will feature recaps, team news, quotes and other features to keep you up to date on the American Hockey League affiliate of the San Jose Sharks.
Shorthanded Gulls Draw First Blood
The San Diego Gulls recorded the first win by the visiting team in now 12 meetings between San Diego and the Barracuda all season. As the series started between the top two teams in the Pacific Division, four top players are missing from the Gulls as pointed out in the series preview.
With the Anaheim Ducks second round series taking place May 9 in Anaheim, Shea Theodore, Brandon Montour and Nic Kerdiles are all pressed into service in the pivotal Game 7 against the Edmonton Oilers.
The Barracuda lost out on a chance to jump to an early 2-0 lead in the series before the chance of these three key pieces of the Gulls’ success this season return to the flock.
May 5: Gulls Fly in Overtime
The two teams started the second round feeling each other out and getting the feel of the game. It was a departure from the smashmouth series against the Stockton Heat with a San Diego squad more aligned with the Barracuda’s style.
“It’s a totally different series than the Stockton series, which was real nasty,” said head coach Roy Sommer after Game 1. “This [game], they just kind of put us to sleep.”
San Jose jumped out to the early lead and got a power-play goal from Joakim Ryan as he wired a shot from the blue line past Jhonas Enroth. Later in the first, a pair of questionable calls against Tim Heed and then Barclay Goodrow seconds later put the Gulls on a two-man advantage. Gulls center Kalle Kossila scored less than a minute into the five-on-three power play to knot the score 1-1 going into the first recess.
In the middle of the third period, Ryan Carpenter’s monster postseason continued with his fifth goal in six games. John McCarthy was attacking the offensive zone and the puck bounced around in the slot as it was knocked off the Barracuda captain’s stick and Carpenter snapped the puck past Enroth.
— AHL (@TheAHL) May 6, 2017
San Diego evened the score with less than four minutes left when Nate Guenin’s wrist shot from the point found its way past Troy Grosenick. The two teams took the 2-2 score into overtime and only 38 seconds were needed as the speedy Kevin Roy poked the puck around a pinching Tim Heed and raced down the ice on a contested breakaway and snapping the puck past Grosenick who finished with just 13 saves on 16 shots.
“They did a good job. They’re hard to play against,” said Carpenter after the overtime loss. “We didn’t have as many grade A chances with all our shots. Have to find a way to get inside on Enroth. He’s a good goalie. All good goalies it’s harder for them when there’s traffic.”
The Barracuda domination of on the shot clock started early in the contest and continued throughout the game, but the high-danger chances were modest at best. The goal for more traffic in front of Enroth was a theme in post-game interviews.
“If you look at it, they had six scoring chances, three goals. I think the biggest thing is we have to get to Enroth. I talked to their coach in the last series [against the Ontario Reign] and he said he was the difference,” said head coach Roy Sommer. “You can tell that tonight, [Enroth is an] NHL goalie. If you don’t get in front of him, you’re not going to beat him.”
“I think we played pretty good. It’s one goal, overtime, it’s going to happen”, Marcus Sorensen said of the loss. “It’s a best of seven, we’re going to come back even better tomorrow.”
May 6: Barracuda’s Best
The Barracuda came out like a different team than Game 1. Nick DeSimone once again got the first goal for the Barracuda as his slap shot went far side on Enroth.
— San Jose Barracuda (@sjbarracuda) May 7, 2017
“Just had a good breakout there. Timo came in, he tried to take a backhander and it got blocked. I was just following it up, just tried to get it on net as quickly as possible.” I think their d-man was screening the goalie so [Enroth] couldn’t see much and luckily it hit the net and went in.”
“He really gets around the ice nice. He can really skate. It’s tough because we had to sit out a couple of guys that played for us all year regularly in [Patrick] McNally and [Dan] Kelly,” said of DeSimone’s play since arriving in San Jose about a month ago. “I just said we’re going to go with our best lineup.”
The pressure continued with Carpenter getting a power-play goal to complete the first period.
“I feel like I’m getting bounces with points and stuff. I feel like all year I’ve played pretty consistent and hard. Some nights it doesn’t go in, or hits a post, you set a guy up and it doesn’t go in,” said Carpenter, who leads the AHL postseason in scoring and had a goal and assist in the Game 2 win. “Right now it seems like I’m getting the bounces.”
“As a team, we played harder than we did last night,”
San Jose kept their foot on the gas in the second period with two greasy goals they were talking about after Game 1 came to fruition. Buddy Robinson made it 3-0 as he went bardown while getting knocked to the ice, impressively elevating the puck past Enroth while coming off his feet.
Sam Carrick got San Diego on the board a few minutes later but a goal by Adam Helewka as he crashed the net made it 4-1. Goodrow added the fifth goal just 40 seconds into the third period and the scoring was complete.
Timo Meier, who had two primary assists in the contest, played his most complete game as a professional. The physical play, tenacity when hunting the puck and overall skill was exactly what the Sharks envisioned when they used the ninth pick in 2015 on the power forward.
Series Shifts South
The next three games of the second round matchup now will shift south to the Valley View Casino Center in San Deigo. It is a difficult arena for visiting squads and the Barracuda did not record a win in San Deigo in five attempts during the regular season. That trend has to end if the Barracuda hope to advance.