Barracuda Hunker Down Defensively, Even Series at 1-1
San Diego, Ca - The San Jose Barracuda (1-1) never trailed Thursday night at the Pechanga Arena and held off a late San Diego Gulls (1-1) (Anaheim Ducks) flurry to secure a 5-3 win, leveling the best-of-five first-round matchup at 1-1.
In the first, the Barracuda jumped out of the gates by dictating the pace of play and opened up the scoring with the only goal of the period at 12:19. Evan Weinger (1) received a give-and-go pass down the right wing, pulled it to his backhand as he crossed the face of Jeff Glass, and slid it in before crashing into the far post. The Barracuda ended the frame, outshooting San Diego by a final count of 11-to-six.
In the second, Jake Megna and Simon Benoit took back-to-back delay of game penalties, and on the five-on-three advantage, Ivan Chekhovich (2) poked in a loose puck from the crease that Glass failed to secure with his glove despite his best attempt to cover the puck. Still down by a man, the Gulls would take advantage of a San Jose turnover at their own line. Sam Steel intercepted the puck, rushed up ice on a two-on-one, and threaded a pass to Chase De Leo (2) who fired it in. But the Barracuda would go back up by two as Jon Martin (1) banked a shot from below the goal line off of Glass and in at 9:27. The Barracuda would take that 3-1 lead into the second intermission.
In the third, San Jose continued to be stingy defense until Justin Kloos (1) inched the Gulls back within one as he redirected a point shot past Josef Korenar at 15:46. The Gulls would pull Glass with less than two and a half minutes to go and Jayden Halbgewachs (1) would pot San Jose's fourth goal from just outside of the Gulls zone to make it 4-2. At 19:33, Korenar made a butterfly-style save but Sam Steel (1) jammed it past the goal line to make it 4-3. The Barracuda officially put the game away right off the ensuing center-ice draw as San Diego miss played the puck in the neutral zone and Weinger (2) netted his second of the game to seal the 5-3 win.
Korenar (1-1) earned the victory in his first playoff start by stopping 27 of 30 shots he faced while Glass (1-1) took the loss after giving up three goals on 22 shots.
The San Jose Barracuda return home on Monday and continue their best-of-five divisional semifinal series against San Diego Gulls. The first 4,000 fans in attendance to Monday's game will receive an orange Barracuda playoff rally towel and concession stands will feature a 20-ounce beer and hot dog special for just $5. All Barracuda Calder Cup action can be heard live on 1220 KDOW, the Sharks + SAP Center App and watched on watchtheahl.com.
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