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San Jose Barracuda (0-1) vs. San Diego Gulls (1-0)
THU, APR. 18 | 7:00 PM
Pechanga Arena | San Diego, CA
LISTEN | WATCH | GGAME NOTES
Playoff Primer: After Wednesday’s 6-5 overtime loss, the Barracuda look to even the Divisional-Semifinal series at 1-1 on Thursday against the Gulls at Pechanga Arena. The Barracuda are the only team in the AHL’s Pacific to reach the dance in all four years of its existence. During the regular season, San Jose went 4-5-0-1 against SD and 3-1 in the final four meetings. The Barracuda are 10-14 in Calder Cup playoff games all-time and 2-3 in playoff series’. In the only prior playoff meeting, San Jose went 4-1 against the Gulls in the 2017 Divisional Final, including winning all three games in San Diego to close out the series.
About Last Night: The Barracuda exploded offensively on Wednesday, netting three goals within the first six minutes and 15 seconds, ending starting netminder Kevin Boyle’s night early. But San Diego would respond with three unanswered themselves to draw even in the first and chase Antoine Bibeau from the game. In San Jose’s 24 career Calder Cup playoff games, it was just third time its starting goalie was chased from the game and the fourth time it chased the opposing starter from the game. After San Jose netted a pair in the second, SD stormed back with two more before claiming the 6-5 win in overtime. Five different San Jose skaters found the back of the net in the loss, and three recorded multi-point nights. The only two playoff overtime losses in franchise history have come at the hands of the Gulls.
Winning Pedigree: Nine different skaters on San Jose’s roster boast winning pedigrees at the junior, NCAA or international ranks (T.J. Hensick – CCHA, Rourke Chartier – WHL, Alex True – WHL, Jeffrey Viel – QMJHL/Memorial Cup, Antti Suomela – Finnish Elite League Champion, Francis Perron – QMJHL, John McCarthy – NCAA, Dylan Gambrell – NCAA, Antoine Bibeau – QMJHL). Prior to Wednesday, 11 Barracuda skaters had Calder Cup playoff experience under their belt.
That’s a Wrap: The Barracuda concluded the regular season on Saturday in Colorado, falling 3-2 to the Colorado Eagles. San Jose finished with a regular-season record of 39-22-4-4 (H:22-1-1-1/R: 17-12-2-3), the second-best in franchise history. San Jose finished with a plus-30 goal differential, scoring 41 more goals than they did a season ago.
True That: San Jose forward Alex True concluded his stellar sophomore regular-season just one goal shy and three points shy of Barracuda single-season watermarks in both categories. The Denmark native set a new franchise record with six game-winning goals. True finished the regular season first on the Barracuda in points (55), first in goals (24), second in assists (31) and third in shots (142).
Dynamic Dezy: Nick DeSimone netted his 14th goal of the season on Friday, tying him with Tim Heed (2016-17) for the most goals in a single season for a San Jose d-man. Among all AHL defensemen, DeSimone finished the regular season T-seventh in points (46), T-sixth in goals, T-12th in assists (32), T-ninth in power-play goals (5) and T-11th in shots (154).
Gambo Good: On Wednesday, in his pro playoff debut, Dylan Gambrell netted a goal and added an assist. Among AHL rookies during the regular-season, Gambrell finished T-10th in points (45), T-fifth in goals (20), T-13th in shots (147) and ninth in points-per-game (.88). Gambrell also skated in eight games up top with the Sharks.
Henner Heating Up: On Wednesday, T.J. Hensick collected his second career three-point effort in the Calder Cup playoffs. During the regular season, the 12-year vet finished with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 23 games, including five multi-point outings.
Backend Boost: San Jose Sharks 2018 first-round pick Ryan Merkley made his pro debut on Friday as he recorded a pair of shots in San Jose’s 3-1 win at Colorado. Merkley, 19, just completed his third full season in the OHL, totaling 71 points (14 goals, 57 assists), 66 penalty minutes and a plus-four rating between the Guelph Storm and Peterborough Petes. Among OHL d-men, Merkley finished second in points, T-ninth in goals, first in assists and first in power-play assists (33).