Photo credit: San Jose Barracuda Twitter (@sjbarracuda)
By: Ana Kieu
SAN JOSE — The San Jose Barracuda dropped a 6-4 decision to the Stockton Heat in Game 2 of the best-of-five opening series at SAP Center on Sunday afternoon.
The Heat poured in the goals in enemy territory in the opening period. They struck first when Mark Jankowski scored his first goal of the playoffs just 1:30 into the contest. Jankowski was all alone and he fired a shot that went past heavy traffic and into the Barracuda net to beat Troy Grosenick.
The Heat took a 2-0 lead with 7:38 left in the period when Austin Carroll picked up a pass from Mikkel Aagaard and put it in the net for his first goal of the playoffs.
Things got a little chippy as Zack Stortini and Rasmus Andersson dropped the gloves for a fight with 4:56 left in the period. As a result, Stortini received a roughing penalty and Andersson was called for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Mike Angelides had a screen in the front. This allowed Linden Vey to score a power-play goal, his first of the playoffs, to extend the Heat’s lead to 3-0 with 3:37 left in the period.
Garnet Hathaway put the Heat ahead 4-0 with his first goal of the playoffs. He scored on a breakaway with a backhand shot.
The Barracuda outshot the Heat 15-9, but found themselves in a deep hole as they trailed 4-0 after 20 minutes.
The second period began with the officials handing a hooking penalty to Brett Hulak just 64 seconds in. The Barracuda finally got on the board at 13:48 of the second period. Julius Bergman sent a pass to Joakim Ryan, who fired a long-range shot into the net for a power-play goal, his first of the playoffs.
John McCarthy cut the Heat’s lead in half just 79 seconds later. McCarthy received a pass from Barclay Goodrow, jamming the shot into the net for his first goal of the playoffs.
“I thought we kind of moved around pretty good,” McCarthy said when asked about the Barracuda’s power play. “We got some pucks to the net…Just gotta get some second chances to succeed.”
Ryan scored his second goal of the game and playoffs to pull the Barracuda within one with 8:59 left in the period.
After the game, Ryan told the media that he liked the Barracuda’s offense, but not their defense.
The Heat were back on top, 5-3, with 2:17 left in the period. A sneaky Hunter Shinkaruk blasted a shot that beat Grosenick blocker side for his first goal of the playoffs.
Timo Meier went to the box for high-sticking with just eight seconds left in the period. The Barracuda’s game improved as they outshot the Heat 24-14 and trailed 5-3 after 40 minutes.
Meier served the remaining 112 seconds of his penalty to start the third period.
The Heat only had two shots on goal midway through the period. The Barracuda’s power-play goals helped them stay close to their opponent in Sunday’s game.
Danny O’Regan was called for slashing late in the period. Once again, the Barracuda pulled within one, thanks to Buddy Robinson’s short-handed goal with 3:41 left in regulation.
Vey added an empty-net goal, his second of the game and playoffs, to seal the scoring and tie the best-of-five series 1-1.
Despite a valiant comeback, the Barracuda fell short and dropped a 6-4 decision to the Heat in Game 2. Grosenick made 14 saves in a losing effort for San Jose.
Gillies allowed three goals on 17 shots before being pulled in favor of David Rittich. Rittich made 11 saves in relief of Gillies.
“We haven’t given up a lot of chances,” Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer said when asked about what his team could improve in terms of defense. “We had too many offensive chances, five-on-five and a couple of allowed goals tonight where our defense got caught staying up and I just think we gotta do a better job denying the back of the net and not giving up those quick plays.”
The Barracuda finished the regular season with a 43-16-4-5 record. As a result, they became Western Conference Regular Season Champions and Pacific Division Regular Season Champions. They also went on a 14-game winning streak from January 21 to March 1.
Grosenick made 28-saves to earn his first pro playoff shutout on Friday. He went 30-10-5 in the regular season. He won the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender for 2016-17. In 49 appearances with the Barracuda this season, Grosenick ranked second in the league with 30 wins, 2.04 third in goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. He is the fifth goaltender in AHL history to reach 10 shutouts in a single season. He also put together a scoreless stretch of more than 248 minutes from November 19 to December 18.
Ryan Carpenter scored a pair of goals in the Barracuda’s 4-0 shutout victory over the Heat on Friday. He has seven points, four penalty minutes and a plus-seven rating in nine Calder Cup playoff games in his three-year career. He recorded four points, four penalty minutes and a plus-five rating in 11 games with the Sharks this season.
Tim Heed opened up the scoring for the Barracuda in what turned out to be the game-winning goal in a 4-0 win over the Heat on Friday. He wasn’t selected to the AHL All-Star Game in Lehigh Valley in January, but he was was voted to the second AHL All-Star Team at the end of the regular season. He finished in fourth place in the AHL with 56 points, 42 assists, 14 goals, eight power-play goals, four game-winning goals and ranks 15th overall in the league in points.
The Barracuda will head to Stockton Arena to face the Heat on Friday night. You can catch all the Game 3 action on AHL Live and AM 1220 KDOW.