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Gulls Bi-Weekly Report 13: Season Wrap-Up
By Thomas Harrington
The San Diego Gulls are going back to the Calder Cup Playoffs! It took until the second to last night of the regular season, but the Gulls clinched a spot when Colorado lost to San Jose. The Gulls had an up and down final three weeks of the season, going 3-4-1. It was good enough to secure San Diego a playoff spot and a date with San Jose in the first round of the playoffs.
Gulls Come Up Short Against San Jose and Bakersfield
Things didn’t start out great for the Gulls when they hosted San Jose. The Barracuda got things started, with two goals in the opening period, but Ben Street made it 2-1 with three seconds left in the first. In the second, Adam Cracknell scored the lone goal to tie the game up. In the third, neither team could find the back of the net until, with just under five minutes to go in regulation, San Jose scored to make it 3-2, and the Gulls weren’t able to get one back.
The Bakersfield Condors then came to town, and they had a great first period, storming out of the gate and making it 3-0 in the first. Their third goal was scored with just 15 seconds left in the opening frame. Late in the second, Sam Carrick scored to put the Gulls on the board, and Corey Tropp scored halfway through the third to make it 3-2. San Diego wasn’t able to get the third goal and dropped their second straight game by a 3-2 score.
Late Goals Boost Gulls
Stockton then came to San Diego, and the Gulls were looking to get back to their winning ways. Neither team was able to score in the first or second, but Cracknell gave San Diego the 1-0 lead just over two minutes into the third period. Unfortunately, Stockton tied the game less than seven minutes later, and then scored the gamewinner with just 13 seconds left in regulation.
The Gulls then traveled to San Jose in an effort to get back on track. It looked like the first would end in a scoreless tie, but Kalle Kossila scored with 13 seconds left to make it 1-0. In the second, San Jose tied the game less than three minutes into the period. A few minutes later, Brent Gates Jr., playing in his fourth career game after joining the Gulls on an ATO, scored his first career goal to make it 2-1. Late in the period, San Jose tied the game up again. In the final period, the Barracuda took a 3-2 lead, but Justin Kloos tied the game up at 3-3. With less than six minutes to go in regulation, Street scored the gamewinner, and the Gulls skated off with a 4-3 victory.
Gulls Split Final Home Games
The Gulls then returned home to take on Ontario for the final time this season. Less than two minutes into the game, Tropp made it 1-0, and Luke Gazdic made it 2-0 exactly one minute later. Carrick scored to make it 3-0 before the first was over. In the second, Kloos and Chase De Leo scored to extend the lead to 5-0. In the third, Ontario got on the board to make it 5-1, but Carrick scored his second of the night, giving him 30 this season, and the Gulls won 6-1.
The next game was San Diego’s final home game of the regular season and San Jose was in town. Halfway through the first, Kloos scored to make it 1-0. In the second, the Barracuda took over, as they scored three unanswered goals to make it 3-1. Halfway through the third, San Jose made it 4-1. The Gulls weren’t going to give up though, and Street made it 4-2 a few minutes later. With eight seconds left in the game, Tropp managed to score, and San Diego lost 4-3. If the Gulls had won this game, they would have clinched a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
San Diego Finishes Season In Tucson
San Diego then traveled to Tucson for the last two games of the regular season. Before San Diego’s first game in Tucson was over, the Colorado Eagles had lost to the San Jose Barracuda, sending the Gulls to the playoffs. Tucson took the lead just a few minutes into the first period, but Street tied the game up just over a minute later. A couple minutes later, Tucson retook the lead. In the second, Sam Steel tied the game at 2-2 with a powerplay goal. Tucson retook the lead a couple minutes later, but Sam Carrick tied the game with just 20 seconds left in the second period. In the third, neither team was able to find the back of the net, and the game went to overtime. It looked like the game was going to a shootout, but Tucson scored the gamewinner with just seconds left in the extra session. It was a weird goal, as the puck just found a hole in Kevin Boyle.
The Gulls were determined to end the season on a high note, but neither team was able to score in the first period of the next game. In the second, San Diego started to take over. Street got the scoring started early in the period, but Tucson tied it up a few minutes later. In the final five minutes of the period, Carrick and Steel both scored to put the Gulls up 3-1 after two periods. Early in the third, Cracknell scored to make it 4-1. Tucson needed to win this game, or they would not qualify for the playoffs. They gave it their all to come back in this one, and made it 4-2 shortly after Cracknell’s goal. With the goalie pulled, the Roadrunners scored again to make it 4-3, but San Diego didn’t allow any more goals and won their final game of the season.
After missing the playoffs a season ago, the Gulls are back in the postseason and will face their rivals to the north, the San Jose Barracuda, the team who defeated them in the playoffs two years ago. Game one will be this Wednesday.
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April 14th, 2019