Barracuda Brief: Regular Season Ends with a Thud

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

The Week That Was: Kilpatrick Trophy Slips Away

The Barracuda had a chance to add to their list of hardware and take a home-ice advantage throughout the AHL playoffs. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins left the door open, and a win in regulation over the Bakersfield Condors would have moved the Barracuda to the top of the table. The Condors’ overtime winner dashed those efforts, but the first three rounds, should the Barracuda make it that far, will all start at SAP Center as the Western Conference champions.

April 11: Tucson Roadrunners 2 – San Jose Barracuda 1

In a hard-fought contest, the Barracuda started the final week of the season on the wrong foot. Tucson got an early 2-1 lead on San Jose on the strength of goals by two solid rookies. Christian Fischer hit the 20-goal mark to open the scoring at the 4:03 mark of the first period. The Roadrunners shut down the Barracuda’s power on all seven attempts with the man-advantage.

The Barracuda cut the lead to a goal as Adam Helewka’s breakaway backhander slid under Adin Hill and hit the far post. Ryan Carpenter crashed the net and was able to put back the rebound for the only San Jose goal. Hill finished with 32 saves for the first Tucson win in San Jose.

San Jose Barracuda forward Ryan Carpenter
Ryan Carpenter (Scott Dinn/San Jose Barracuda)

Quote of the Game: “I thought we were real flat, especially the first 25 minute until we scored in the second. Then our game picked up a little bit. Our powerplay usually wins us games, and we had an opportunity especially on a 5-on-3,” said head coach Roy Sommer. “You’re not going to win [every game]. We’ve won quite a few this year, especially at home. We’ve found ways to pull games out, but you can’t keep going to the well on that.”

April 13: Tucson Roadrunners 4 – San Jose Barracuda 3 (OT)

The Barracuda for most of the season has not let teams back into games, but nearing the end, the Roadrunners played spoiler in San Jose. After falling behind early on Tyler Gaudet’s goal in the first period, Joakim Ryan fired a shot from the point that was tipped by John McCarthy to tie the game after 20 minutes of action.

The Barracuda took the lead on Buddy Robinson‘s short-side laser of a wrist shot that whizzed by Hill’s mask.

The Barracuda extended their lead on Danny O’Regan’s powerplay tally. The Roadrunners used a pair of goals in the last four minutes of play from former Barracuda Jeremy Morin and Jamie McBain to force the overtime before Chris Mueller ended it just 50 seconds into the extra period, as he bowled into Troy Grosenick bringing both players and the puck into the net.

There was no call on the play, but after a lengthy conference, the officials awarded Mueller the game-winning goal and the last home game of the season was in the books despite protests from McCarthy and Grosenick.

“We shouldn’t have put ourselves in that spot but live and learn,” said Grosenick after the game. “Up two goals we shouldn’t be in a position for a referee’s call to make a difference.”

The blown lead was a theme McCarthy touched on as well.

“Obviously had the two-goal lead,” said McCarthy “We have to learn to close those games out. It’s disappointing.”

Quote of the Game: “The whole thing [is about] details and we forgot about them,” said Sommer. “We got caught deep on the tying goal and a turnover on the second goal. You lose a game, you learn a lesson…hopefully.”

April 15: Bakersfield Condors 3 – San Jose Barracuda 2 (OT)

The Barracuda were no match for Josh Currie. The one man Condor wrecking crew did all the scoring and San Jose’s last week of the regular season ended with a thud.

After the first period which had little action, The Barracuda executed a textbook tic-tac-toe play to take the early lead. Julius Bergman fed a cross-ice pass to Danny O’Regan in the right circle and the AHL Rookie of the Year sent the puck to the left post where Buddy Robinson was waiting to deposit his 17th goal of the campaign. Currie scored his first of the game as he danced around Tim Heed, caught in a rare mistake, before putting the puck through the arm of Grosenick.

Early in the third period, Currie added his second of the game to put the Condors up 2-1. Less than 30 seconds later Noah Rod’s drop pass to Nick DeSimone got both players their first AHL point as the right-handed DeSimone ripped Rod’s drop pass by Nick Ellis’ outstretched trapper.

The teams carried the tie into overtime before Currie completed the hat trick and put an end to the 2016-17 campaign for both clubs.

Playoff Match-up: Stockton Heat

The Stockton Heat and the San Jose Barracuda will face off in the first round of the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs. The two Northern California rivals played a dozen times during the 2016-17 season. At SAP Center, the Barracuda held a 3-3 record against the Heat and on the road were 4-2. The AHL plays a best of five series that kicks off on Friday.

San Jose Barracuda vs. Stockton Heat

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 21 – Stockton at San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 23 – Stockton at San Jose, 3:00 p.m.
Game 3 – Fri., Apr. 28 – San Jose at Stockton, 7:00 p.m.
*Game 4 – Sun., Apr. 30 – San Jose at Stockton, 4:00 p.m.
*Game 5 – Tue., May 2 – Stockton at San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
*if necessary