Photo credit: @sjbarracuda
By Marko Ukalovic
The San Jose Barracuda were determined and played like a desperate team after a heartbreaking loss 24 hours earlier. They were rewarded for their effort in a 5-3 victory over the San Diego Gulls in Game 2 to even up their best of five series at one game apiece on Thursday night at Pachenga Arena in San Diego, Calif.
San Jose (0-1) drew first blood with Evan Weinger skated in and made a great deke forehand to backhand and slid the puck past Gulls goalie Jeff Glass as he literally crashed into the net for his first goal of the playoffs at the 12:19 mark. Jayden Halbgewachs and Cuda captain John McCarthy were credited with assists.
The Cuda doubled their lead on a five-on-three power play early on the power play. Gambrell put a shot on net and TJ Hensick was able to tap it past a sprawling Glass as he reached back for the puck to no avail. Hensick’s second goal of the playoffs came at the 5:44 mark. Ivan Chekhovich received the secondary assist.
San Diego (1-0) cut the lead in half 31 seconds later, thanks to a turnover by Cavan Fitzgerald led to a two-on-one odd man rush led by Sam Steel. Steel fed a pass over to Chase De Leo, who buried the puck past Cuda goalie Josef Korenar for a short-handed goal at the 6:15 mark.
San Jose regained their two-goal lead when Maxim Letunov made a pass to Jon Marin below the goal line. Martin then made a heads-up play by banking the puck off of Glass that rattled between his pads into the back of the net for Martin’s first goal of the playoffs at the 9:27 mark. Chekhovich recorded his second assist on the evening.
San Diego didn’t go quietly in the third period. Andy Welinski sent in a shot towards the goal that Justin Kloos was able to redirect past Korenar for his first goal of the playoffs at the 15:46 mark.
Halbgewachs iced the game after taking a pass from Weinger and buried the puck into an empty net with Glass pulled for an extra attacker at the 18:03 mark.
Korenar stopped 27 of the 30 shots he faced to earn his first career playoff victory. Glass made 22 saves on 25 shots in the tough luck loss.
Steel scored with 27 seconds left, but it too little, too late for San Diego as Weinger scored an empty-net goal with 22 second remaining.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1/5 on the power play. San Diego was 0/2.
Things got chippy at the end as seven combined players received roughing minors at the end of the game.
The announced attendance was 6,010.
UP NEXT: The series shifts back up to San Jose on Monday, April 21 at 7:00 pm at SAP Center.