Barracuda make the playoffs with 2-1 victory over Heat and San Diego loss to Tuscon

April 14, 2018

AHL, San Jose Barracuda

Photo credit: @AHL

By Marko Ukalovic

In what turned out to be an elimination game on the seasonal finale, the San Jose Barracuda (34-26-4-4) were not going to be denied. Alexander True provided all the scoring and the Cuda held on in the final minute to defeat the Stockton Heat (34-28-2-4) 2-1 on Saturday evening at Stockton Arena. San Jose closed out the season on a six-game winning streak, their longest of the season.

What looked like an impossible scenario just a couple of weeks ago, the Barracuda are playoff bound thanks to San Diego’s 6-3 loss to Tuscon.

There was no scoring in an entertaining first period. Each team had chances to score only to be thwarted by the other team’s goaltender. Stockton dominated late in the period however they weren’t able to put a puck past Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau (23-14-4). He made five key saves late in the first period, including on Austin Carrol with five minutes left in the period.

He also received some help from defenseman Jacob Middleton who sacrificed his body diving down to make a save with Bibeau out of position with eight minutes remaining left.

Heat goalie Jon Gillies (17-16-5) stopped a breakaway chance by Rourke Chartier. Stockton out shot the Cuda 12-10 in the first period.

The Cuda would break the seal in the second period. Brandon Mashinter started a rush up the ice on the right wing side, his shot on goal was stopped, but not controlled by Gillies. Rookie forward Alexander True cleaned up the rebound for his 14th goal on the season at the  mark.

True, the 20-year-old native from Copenhagen, Denmark, would score his second goal of the night seconds after their second power play opportunity ended. True was able to take a pass in between the circles from Colby McAuley and fired a shot past Gillies for his 15th goal on the season. Ivan Chekhovich received the secondary assist.

Brett Findley would cut the lead in half at the 17:16 mark of the second period. He skated down the left-wing side, was able to collect the puck and snap a shot past the five-hole of Bibeau for his 12th goal on the season.

Bibeau would come up huge in the second period when he was able to stop a 2-on-1 short-handed chance by Stockton and robbed Rasmus Andersson on an odd man chance just two minutes into the second period.

Gillies kept the Cuda from increasing their lead twice in the third period. First, Rudolfs Balcers had a great scoring chance only to be stopped by Gillies. Then, Gillies stoned Adam Helewka on a pretty tic-tac-toe play from John McCarthy an Sasha Cmelevski with six minutes left.

Bibeau, reassigned back to Cuda, made 30 saves on 31 shots to earn the victory. Gillies, who stood on his head in the third period to keep it a one goal game, made 28 saves on 30 shots, suffering the loss.

GAME NOTES: San Jose went 0/3 on the power play. Stockton was 0/1. Their 10-game scoring streak on the power play came to an end.

San Jose finished 7-5 against Stockton this season.

UP NEXT: The Cuda will open up on the road in Tuscon as they take on the Pacific Division Champion Roadrunners in the first round of the AHL Playoffs.

2018 Calder Cup Playoffs San Jose Barracuda and Tucson Roadrunners

Game #1: Thursday, April 19, 2018 (7 p.m.) – SAP Center
Game #2: Saturday, April 21, 2018 (7 p.m.) – SAP Center
Game #3: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 (7:05 p.m.) – Tucson Convention Center
Game #4: Friday, April 27, 2018 (7:05 p.m.) – Tucson Convention Center
Game #5: Saturday, April 28, 2018 (7:05 p.m.) – Tucson Convention Center 
If necessary*


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