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Barracuda vs Gulls Game 5 Preview: Chance to advance

The Barracuda are close to their first-ever second round series win.

Vince Rappleyea

Following last night’s 4-3 win over the San Diego Gulls in Game 4 of the Pacific Division Finals, the San Jose Barracuda now sit just one win away from doing something a San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate has never done: advance past the second round. San Jose will have the first of three chances to do just that tonight at the Valley View Casino Center at 7:00 PM for Game 5.

The closest a Roy Sommer-coached team has come was in 1999, when the then-Kentucky Thouroughblades took a 3-2 second round lead over the Philadelphia (now Lehigh Valley) Phantoms, only to lose Games 6 and 7 in the City of Brotherly Love. Now, Sommer and the Barracuda are hoping that three chances are the charm.

Last night, the Barracuda sealed their 3-1 series lead with a 4-3 win over the Gulls. San Jose jumped out to a 4-1 lead just under 16 minutes into the second period.

Three power play goals propelled San Jose to the three-goal lead, as the Barracuda remained hot with the extra man. The Barracuda has scored on six of 14 power play opportunities (42.9%) in its second round series, and now are fifth among AHL teams this postseason in power play percentage (19.4%), a far cry from the 1-for-22 spell San Jose went through in the first round.

Ryan Carpenter (goal, assist) and Barclay Goodrow (goal, two assists) each had multi-point nights. Carpenter expanded his lead in the playoff scoring race to three points (13 points in nine games) and Goodrow moved into a tie for fourth, as San Jose is tied with the Syracuse Crunch for the second-most players in the top 14 in scoring.

Yet the Gulls, facing a three-goal deficit in the third period, did not go quietly into the night. San Diego peppered Troy Grosenick’s net with 13 shots in the final 20 minutes of regulation.

The Gulls only managed to cut the lead to a goal with 17 seconds left, and face elimination on home ice tonight. Even if they manage to win tonight, San Diego will still need to win two road games on back-to-back nights next week at the SAP Center in order to eliminate San Jose.