Gulls beat Barracuda 5-2 to win series 3-1

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Despite the best regular season start in the four years in Silicon Valley, the San Jose Barracuda weren’t able to do enough to force a Game 5 as their season came to an end in a 5-2 loss to the San Diego Gulls in Game 4 of their best of five series on Wednesday evening at SAP Center.

A couple of bad turnovers resulted in San Diego capitalizing on their chances and were the difference in the game. San Diego awaits the winner of the Bakersfield-Colorado series while San Jose will have time to think about failing to get out of the first round, despite being the number two seed.

San Jose (1-3) got off to the quick start they desired 50 seconds into the game. Lukas Radil brought the puck into the Gulls zone and gave it off to Alexander True. The Danish forward skated around to the left circle and fired a wrist shot that sneaked under the five-hole of Gulls goalie Jeff Glass (3-1) for his first goal of the playoffs.

“I’ve been more comfortable this year going into my second year,” said True. “Everybody in the organization, all my teammates, everyone around here has done a good job letting me develop and I can’t thank everyone around here enough for that.”

San Diego (3-1) scored the equalizer late in the opening 20 minutes. Corey Tropp picked up a loose puck behind the net and quickly centered a pass out in front to a wide-open Sam Carrick, who one-timed the puck past Cuda goalie Josef Korenar (1-3) in a bang-bang play for his second goal of the playoffs at 15:46 mark.

San Jose had the ice tilted in their favor for the first 15 minutes as they had a 10-1 shot advantage at one point. However, San Diego gained momentum in the final five minutes and closed the gap to 11-10 heading into the first intermission.

The Gulls gained their first lead early on in the second period while on the power play. Sam Steel fed a pass over to Kalle Kossila, who found Andy Welinsky at the left point and fired a slap shot past the short side of Korenar for his first goal of the playoffs at the 3:43 mark.

San Diego extended their lead to 3-1 after a failed clearing attempt by San Jose. Steel happened to be in the right place at the right time when Max Jones deflected the puck right to Steel in the middle of the circles and wired a wrist shot into the top left corner for his third goal of the playoffs at the 6:43 mark.

“It’s disappointing,” said Cuda captain John McCarthy on the early playoff exit. “I think it’s important to remember how this feels. To have the regular season like we had and then to fade in the playoff is disappointing for sure.”

San Jose cut the deficit to one goal on the power play. Dylan Gambrell back-handed a pass over to the left point where Nick DeSmone was waiting. DeSimone skated into the middle and fired a laser past Glass for his first goal of the playoffs at the 13:39 mark. McCarthy received the secondary assist.

San Diego controlled the play for most of the middle frame out shooting San Jose 13-9.

The Gulls opened the third period by doubling their lead thanks to another failed clearing attempt by the Cuda. Jack Kopacka intercepted a pass at the blue line, skated down the left wing and sent a cross-ice pass over to Matt Berry. Berry then sent a pass in front of the net that Adam Cracknell tipped in past Korenar for his second goal of the playoffs at the 5:12 mark.

“Had a really good regular season,” said Cuda head coach Roy Sommer. “I thought we were solid, did a lot of good things. And then in the playoffs I didn’t think we had enough (to advance).”

Chase De Leo iced the game and the series for San Diego with an empty-net goal with 1:53 left in the game.

Glass made 30 saves on 32 shots to earn his 4th win of the series. Korenar finished with 25 saves on 29 shots in suffering the defeat in what was a stellar rookie season.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1/2 on the power play. San Diego was 1/3.

San Diego’s Max Jones suffered a lower body injury when with 2:39 left in the second period when he received a hard hit along the boards in front of his team’s bench.

The announced attendance was 3,175.

San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic: Do or die situation for Barracuda tonight; Cuda must take advantage of home ice in Game 4

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

On the San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic:

#1 The pressure’s on the Barracuda, who lost a tough 4-2 game three on Monday night. To stay alive in the series, they have to win Game 4 tonight at SAP Center.

#2 The Barracuda’s Matt Fonteyne took three on two pass and fed it to the Jon Martin, who took a wrist shot for a five-hole goal past the Gulls goalie Jeff Glass for the game’s first goal.

#3 The Gulls got back with the two Sams, Sam Carrick fed a centering pass to Sam Steel, who shot a one timer in the top left corner to tie it at 19:29 in the first period

#4 Ben Street and Chase De Leo each scored a goal to make it 3-1 and the Gulls never looked back eventually getting a two-goal win.

#5 The Barracuda are going for all the marbles tonight. After watching how the Gulls operate in these first three games, how do you see head coach Roy Sommer preparing the club for tonight?

Marko Ukalovic does the Barracuda podcasts each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Gulls down Barracuda 4-2, take 2-1 series lead

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Despite getting two goals from forward Jon Martin, it wasn’t enough for the San Jose Barracuda as the San Diego Gulls held on for a 4-2 victory in Game 3 of their best of five series on Monday night at SAP Center.

It’s now a do-or-die situation for San Jose as they face their first elimination game on Wednesday night.

San Jose (1-2) drew first blood early in the first period. Matt Fonteyne led a three-on-two rush down the right lane. He fed a pass to an incoming Martin, who skated in and using the Gulls defender as a screen, and snapped a wrist shot past the five-hole of Gulls goalie Jeff Glass (2-1) for his second goal of the playoffs at the 2:48 mark.

San Diego (2-1) scored the equalizer right at the end of the opening 20 minutes. Sam Carrick carried the puck behind the net and fed a centering pass to a wide open Sam Steel, who one-timed the puck into the top left corner for his second goal of the playoffs at the 19:21 mark.

Cuda goalie Josef Korenar (1-2) was impressive in the first period, stopping 11 of the 12 shots he faced including two separate point-blank chances from Kalle Kossila in the first five minutes and Kiefer Sherwood in the last five minutes.

San Diego gained their first lead of the game on the power play early in the second period. A shot from the point bounced around a scrum in front of the net. Ben Street collected the puck skated out to the middle of the circles and fired a wrist shot into the top right corner, beating a screened Korenar for his first goal of the playoffs at the 3:41 mark. Max Jones and Carrick were credited with assists.

The Gulls extended their lead to 3-1 when Justin Kloos led a two-on-one odd man rush down the left wing. He found a wide open Chase De Leo, who skated in all alone and made a fore-hand to back-hand move sliding the puck just underneath the glove of Korenar, for his third goal of the playoffs at the 16:47 mark.

“It didn’t seem like a playoff game for some of em,” a disappointed head coach Roy Sommer said regarding his team’s performance. “I was kind of disappointed in half our forwards were engaged and half the defensemen.”

The Cuda cut the deficit to a goal when Jon Martin scored his second goal of the evening.  Jacob Middleton’s shot from the slot hit the post and the rebound caromed over to Maxim Letunov that bounced off his stick over to Martin, who was camped out just to the left of the net and he buried the puck top-shelf for his third goal of the playoffs at the 18:44 mark.

It’s always nice to contribute (offensively),” said Martin. “Our linemates Maxi (Letunov) and Matty (Fonteyne) were flying out, they made things nice and easy. It starts on our end. We’re getting the pucks out and getting on the fore-check.

Adam Cracknell sealed the deal with an empty-net goal after Steel won the race to a loose puck and centered it to a wide-open Cracknell.

“You know what our backs are against the wall now,” said Cuda captain John McCarthy. “We gotta worry about Wednesday, take a look at it (the video) tomorrow, figure out what we gotta fix (in our game) and go from there.”

Glass made 20 saves, including two back-to-back saves with three minutes left in regulation, on 22 shots to earn his second win of the playoffs. Korenar made 32 saves on 35 shots in suffering the tough luck loss.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0/1 on the power play. San Diego was 1/4.

Evan Weinger snapped his two-game point streak. The rookie forward still leads the Cuda in points in the series with four.

The announced attendance was 5,848.

UP NEXT: Game 4 is on Wednesday, April 24 at 7:00 pm at SAP Center.

Barracuda take down Gulls 5-3, even series at 1-1

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.

Gulls edge Barracuda 6-5 on controversial goal in overtime

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

The playoffs are a whole different beast and if the first game of the opening round series between San Diego Gulls and the San Jose Barracuda is an indication on of what we’re in for you better strap on your helmet and don’t even think about blinking.

In a game that featured both starting goaltenders getting yanked in the first 10 minutes of the game, San Diego was the last man standing in a 6-5 victory on the final controversial goal on Wednesday evening at Pachenga Arena in San Diego, Calif.

Max Jones sent in a shot on goal that Cuda goalie Josef Korenar had stopped and had the puck covered with is glove. Keifer Sherwood crashed into Korenar sending the puck into the net for the game-winner at the 1:13 mark of overtime.

The Cuda argued the whistle should have blown to stop play, but to no avail as the referees ruled it a good goal for Sherwood, his second of the evening..

San Jose (0-1) drew first blood early in a wild first period. Kyle Wood found Ivan Chekhovich at the left point. Chekhovich fired a shot that TJ Hensick was able to redirect the puck past Gulls goalie Kevin Boyle for his seventh career playoff goal at the 3:17 mark.

The Cuda doubled their just over two minutes later. Alex True fed a pass down below the goal to Jeffery Viel. Viel, playing in his first AHL playoff game, was able to sneak his wrap around attempt past the five-hole of Boyle for his first goal of the playoffs at the 5:27 mark. Anti Suomela received the secondary assist.

Less than a minute later San Jose jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Hensick passed the puck to a wide-open Dylan Gambrell, who worked his away from behind the net, snapped a wrist shot past Boyle at the 6:15 mark. That would be the end of the night Boyle. Jeff Glass relieved Boyle after he gave up three goals on just seven shots.

San Diego (1-0) answered back with the next three goals. Simon Benoit fed a pass over to Jacob Larsen at the right point where Larsen was able to wire a wrist shot through a screened Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau into the back of the net at the 7:10 mark.

Then, 37 seconds later, Ben Street centered a pass over to Sam Carrick, who buried a shot past Bibeau for his first playoff goal at the 7:47 mark.

San Diego scored the equalizer less than three minutes later. Carrick found Keifer Sherwood, who skated in and beat Bibeau with a wrist shot. That would be all for Bibeau as Korenar replaced Bibeau, who gave up three goals on eight shots.

Korenar made a fantastic left pad save on Jake Dotchin, while San Diego was on a power play late in the opening 20 minutes to keep the game tied heading into the first intermission. Both teams had 13 shots apiece.

San Jose regained the lead just under five minutes of the second period. Gambrell threaded a pass over to Chekhovich, who slapped it past Glass for his first professional playoff goal in his fifth career playoff game at the 4:47 mark. Hensick received the secondary assist for a three-point night (1G, 2A).

The Cuda extended their lead to 5-3 when Evan Weigner worked his way around the net, then fed a backdoor pass over to a wide-open John McCarthy. The captain buried the puck into the back of the net for his first goal of the playoffs at the 10:34 mark. Jayden Halbgewachs was credited with the secondary assist.

San Diego cut the deficit to a one goal late in the middle frame.  Carrick blasted a puck from the and Corey Tropp poked home the rebound past the five-hole of Korenar from just above the crease for his first goal of the playoffs at the 14:47 mark.

Chase De Leo got things all even once again under two minutes later. He tipped the puck out of mid-air past Korenar for his first goal of the playoffs at the 16:35 mark. Justin Kloos and Sam Steel were credited with assists.

The third period was scoreless as San Diego outshot San Jose 13-9.

Glass (1-0) made 27 saves on 29 shots in relief to earn the win. Korenar (0-1) made 31 saves on 34 shots in suffering the hard luck loss.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0/3 on the power play. San Diego was 0/2.

Defenseman Ryan Merkley made his playoff debut for San Jose in just his third game with the team.

The announced attendance was 5,709.

UP NEXT: Game 2 between the Barracuda and Gulls is set for Thursday, April 18 at 7:00 pm at Pachenga Arena in San Diego, Calif

San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic: Cuda battle Gulls in San Diego tonight for Game 1 of Calder Cup Playoffs

sjbarracuda.com photo: The San Jose Barracuda share congratulations, concluding their final home game on Saturday April 6th at SAP Center in San Jose. The Barracuda prepare for Game 1 tonight in San Diego in the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs.

On the SJ Barracuda podcast with Marko:

#1 First game tonight in San Diego between the Gulls and Barracuda. How did the two teams match up throughout the season?

#2 Pachenga Arena is noted for it’s sellouts, loud fan support, and one of the toughest venues to play in the AHL. Will this make much a difference to the Barracuda, who’ve played there numerous times this season?

#3 Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer prepares this team to face the Gulls. Is this expected to be an offensive series because the Gulls can play some defense?

#4 There are a number of players who finished the regular season in double figures for goals scored. Talk about the top three: Alexander True (24), Francis Perron (18) and Nick DeSimone (14) and the job they did on scoring this season.

#5 Talk about the goaltenders Antoine Bibeau and Josef Korenar. Can the Barracuda expect to start Bibeau for most of these playoff games?

#6 The Sharks, the Cuda’s parent team, are on the brink of elimination. Do you see the Cuda getting some of those fans for some home games if the Sharks do get eliminated in their first round series with the Vegas Golden Knights?

Join Marko throughout the AHL Calder Cup/San Jose Barracuda post season for exclusive coverage and podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Barracuda hold for 4-3 win over Gulls, secure home ice for playoffs

sjbarracuda.com photo

by Marko Ukalovic

The San Jose Barracuda are starting to peak at the right time with the playoff right around the corner. They scored four unanswered goals and held on late for a 4-3 victory over the San Diego Gulls on Wednesday evening at Pechanga Arena.

With the win, San Jose clinched home ice for the first round of the playoffs and remain only two points back of Bakersfield for first place in the Pacific Division with two games left in the season.

San Diego (35-24-3-4) drew first blood halfway through the first period when Jack Kopacka sent a pass over to Justin Kloos, who chipped the puck underneath the cross-bar past Cuda goalie Josef Korenar (23-8-2) for his 18th goal of the season at the 9:46 mark.

San Jose (38-21-3-4) scored the equalizer in the second period. Maxim Letunov won a faceoff back to the point where Thomas Gregoire fired a shot on net where Francis Perron tip the through the five-hole of Gulls goalie Kevin Boyle (24-13-1) for his 18th goal at the 11:33 mark.

The Cuda gained the nearly three minutes later when Letunov centered a pass from below the goal line out to the low slot where Jon Martin slid the puck past Boyle for his 11th goal of the season at the 14:27 mark.

San Jose took control of the game going up 3-1 with 10 seconds left in the middle frame. Captain John McCarthy won a face off over to Evan Weinger. Weinger sneaked a wrist shot past Boyle through a sea of traffic for his 10th win of the season at the 19:50 mark.

The Cuda scored their final goal halfway through the third period when Martin poked a Perron pass over to Letunov that sent him on a breakaway. Letunov made a nice backhand-to-forehand move to deke out Boyle for his 12th goal of the season and third point of the night at the 9:48 mark.

San Diego wouldn’t go away quietly. Ben Street scored a power play goal for his seventh goal of the season at the 13:45 mark. Then, Corey Troop concluded the scoring with seven seconds left when he scored his 20th goal of the season at the 19:53 mark.

Korenar made 29 saves on 32 San Diego shots to earn his third consecutive win, while Boyle (24-13-1) suffered the loss after giving four goals on 33 shots.

GAME NOTES: San Jose struggled on the power play going 0/6. San Diego was 1/3.

The announced attendance was 8,036.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda travel to Colorado for the final two games of the season on Friday, April 12 at 6:05 pm at Budweiser Events Center.

Gulls get late goal, edge Barracuda 4-3

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Barracuda came out flat early and had a couple of bounces go against them late in a disappointing 4-3 loss against the San Diego Gulls in a Pacific Division battle on Wednesday night at SAP Center.

Jack Kopacka fed a pass over to Matt Berry, who centered a pass out in front of the net, where Ben Street got a piece of it, and then had the puck deflect off Nick DeSimone’s stick into the back of the net for the game-winning goal late in the third period. Street’s sixth goal of the season came at the 14:32 mark.

The Cuda had a chance to give themselves a comfortable cushion of six points over the Gulls with five games left, but now have their So Cal rival hot on their heels with only a two-point margin separating the twp teams between second and third place in Pacific Division.

“It was disappointing,” said Cuda head coach Roy Sommer. “To be honest with you, I thought we would’ve had a way better effort. We were playing some pretty good hockey the past three games. To play like that in a playoff type of atmosphere, not enough guys showed up (to play) for us.”

San Diego (34-23-4-3) drew first blood late in the first period. Matt Berry skated in at the left slot and centered a pass over to Kalle Kossila, who one-timed the puck over the glove of Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau (14-13-5) into the back of the net for his 14th goal of the season at the 19:47 mark. Josh Mahura received the secondary assist.

San Jose (35-21-3-4) weren’t able to capitalize on their only power play in the period as they were outshot 13-9 in the opening frame. Their best scoring chance came when defenseman Kyle Wood had a point-blank shot stoned by Gulls goalie Kevin Boyle (23-12-1) halfway through the period.

San Jose tied the game up on the power play to open up the second period. Alex True fed a pass over to Cavan Fitzgerald at their own blue line. Fitzgerald put on a skating clinic dancing around two Gulls defenders at center ice, then skated into the Gulls zone and from the left slot snapped a beauty of a wrist shot top self into the far right corner for his seventh goal of the season at the 2:56 mark.

San Diego regained the lead when they capitalized on a 3-on-2 odd man rush. Street centered a back-handed pass over to Corey Tropp whose shot was initially saved by Bibeau, but wasn’t able to keep the puck in his glove. Brent Gates Jr. cleaned up the rebound for his first goal of the season at the 6:32 mark.

Bibeau made a huge point-blank save on Justin Kloos on a tic-tac-toe attempt with six minutes remaining in the period with San Diego on the power play.

TJ Hensick scored a highlight reel goal to even up things late in the middle frame. Jeffery Viel fed a pass over to Hensick at the left blue line. Hensick then danced around Kopacka and skated into the middle of the faceoff circles and rifled a wrist shot through three defenders past Boyle on the right side for his fifth goal of the season at the 15:19 mark.

“We put ourselves in a situation we didn’t want to be in after tonight,” said Hensick. “This group has been mentally tough all year. We’ll find a way to bounce back, regroup, have a positive practice tomorrow and get ready for Friday.”

Jon Martin received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for spearing Jake Dotchin with less than three minutes left in the middle frame. Bibeau was the Cuda’s best penalty killer in that final 2:46 stretch, making three huge saves, including a breakaway attempt on Berry, to keep the score tied at two heading into the second intermission. Dotchin never returned to the game.

In the third period, San Jose killed off the rest of Martin’s major penalty as San Diego wasn’t able to generate any quality chances.

San Jose used the power play to their advantage once again. Jayden Halbgewachs sent the puck down low to captain John McCarthy from the right slot. McCarthy tried to jam the puck home creating a mad scramble in front of the net. After an unsuccessful attempt from Alex True, Wood knocked home the rebound past Boyle for his fifth goal of the season at the 8:42 mark.

“I knew once J-Mac (McCarthy) got it he was gonna try to jam it (past the goalie),” said Wood. “I was just waiting there backdoor, (waiting) for something to happen. Lucky it bounced to me and I kinda just chipped it in. It was a big goal at the time.”

The lead wouldn’t last long as Chase De Leo skated into the slot, threw a shot on net that caromed off Bibeau right on to the stick of Kloos, who buried the rebound into the back of the net for his 16th goal of the season at the 10:03 mark.

Boyle stopped 33 of the 36 shots he faced to earn his 23rd win on the season. Bibeau, who kept the Cuda in the game from start to finish, made 34 saves on 38 shots in suffering the tough luck loss.

“I don’t think we showed enough desperation tonight,” said McCarthy. “I thought our game was a bit too casual. At this time of the year we gotta find a way to win the next game and come out with a better effort on Friday.”

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 2/4 on the power play. They have scored a power play goal in four consecutive games. San Diego was 0/4. The Cuda are a perfect 20/20 on the penalty kill in their last five games.

Forward Dylan Gambrell was back in the lineup for San Jose after being reassigned by the San Jose Sharks.

Help on the way: Ivan Chekhovich and Vladislav Kotkov were assigned to the Cuda this week from their respective junior league teams. Marcus Vela made his Cuda debut this past Sunday after completing his collegiate career at the University of New Hampshire.

Bibeau was named the Cuda’s 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The award is given to the player in recognition for their outstanding contributions to the San Jose community.

The announced attendance was 2,963.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda host the Grand Rapids Griffins in a weekend series starting Friday, April 5 at 7:00 pm at SAP Center.

Special teams key in Barracuda’s 3-2 win over Gulls

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

San Diego may be America’s Finest City but it has been a House of Gorrors for the San Jose Barracuda for more than a year. Thanks to a late power play goal in the third period by Alex True, San Jose reversed their fortunes with a 3-2 regulation victory over the San Diego Gulls on Wednesday evening at Pechanga Arena.

It was the first victory in San Diego this season (1-3) and the first win since January 20, 2018. With the much-needed win, the Cuda have tied the Gulls for second place in the Pacific Division with 73 points.

True’s heroics came when Cavan Fitzgerald sent in a low shot from the point that gave captain John McCarthy a chance, but was initially stopped by the Gulls’ goalie Kevin Boyle. True pounced on the rebound and punched it in for his team-leading 23rd goal on the power play at 15:16 mark of the third period.

San Jose (33-20-3-4) drew first blood early in the first period. Jeffery Viel executed a big body check during a battle for a puck inside the Gulls’ zone that resulted in a loose puck gathered up by TJ Hensick. Hensick quickly fed it over to Dylan Gambrell, who snapped a wrist shot far side past Boyle (22-10-1) for his 18th goal of the season at the 6:30 mark.

The Cuda doubled their lead when Francis Perron fed a pass over to Nick DeSimone in the high slot. DeSimone wasted no time and fired a shot just underneath the glove of Boyle for his 12th goal of the season at the 13:44 mark.

San Diego (33-21-4-3) cut the lead in half with just three seconds left in the opening frame. Sam Carrick won a faceoff over to Chase De Leo, who fed it over to Ben Street, who wired a shot past Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau (13-12-5) for his fifth goal of the season at the 19:57 mark.

The Gulls drew even late in the second period. Adam Cracknell was able to poke home a shot from close range for his 16th goal of the season at the 14:15 mark. The goal snapped six-game goal-less drought for Cracknell. Street and Brent Gates Jr. were credited with assists.

Despite outshooting the Gulls 13-5 in the middle frame, San Jose went into the second intermission tied up at 2-2.

In the third period, San Jose were in penalty trouble to start the third period. Their penalty kill unit responded by killing 1:18 of a 5-on-3 opportunity as Bibeau made some big saves to be the best penalty killer for the Cuda.

Bibeau, who played one of his best games of the season, was finally rewarded with a victory, making 23 saves on 25 shots to push his record to a game over the .500 mark. Boyle stopped 23 of the 26 pucks he faced in suffering the defeat.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1/3 on the power play. San Diego was 0/3.

The announced attendance was 6,934.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda return back home to host the Ontario Reign on Friday, March 29 at 7:00 pm at SAP Center.

San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic: Race in playoff standings tightening as Cuda battle San Diego tonight

sjbarracuda.com photo: The score explains the results of the last game between the San Jose Barracuda and the Tucson Roadrunners. The Barracuda will be in San Diego tonight trying to get back into the win column.

On the Barracuda podcast with Marko:

#1 Marko in recent weeks the Barracuda have fallen from grace looking like a sure lock team for post season but fell on hard times will this be a scratch and claw how shaky is it now for them to make the AHL playoffs?

#2 Has promoting some of the key players they had from earlier this season to their parent club the Sharks taken away from their talent pool and as a result this is what you see now?

#3 Tough road trip so far they lost by a goal on Sunday 2-1 to the Tucson Roadrunners this is a game they really wanted to get but the Roadrunners are always a very vibrant and resisting club on their home ice and this was a late goal on a tip shot from the Roadrunners Michael Bunting that sank the Barracuda’s game.

#4 The Roadrunners have closed the gap now and are just four points behind the Barracuda and the Barracuda move onto San Diego tonight how crucial of a game is this with wiggle room getting less and less in the playoff race for San Jose?

#5 With some of the players getting promoted this season and you see the depth on defense changing how much pressure has this been put upon on goaltender Antoine Bibeau?

Marko does the SJ Barracuda podcasts each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com