Ten days after the Sharks’ season ended at the hands of the Oilers at the SAP Center, another elimination game will take place in San Jose. This time, it’s the organization’s top minor league affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda, facing elimination in win-or-go-home Game 5 against the Stockton Heat.
The Barracuda split the first two games in San Jose and the next two in Stockton, failing to put away the Heat in Game 4 despite holding a 3-2 lead until the final five minutes of the third period. Although they’ve split the series, the Barracuda have gotten some strong performances up front.
With six points in four games, Ryan Carpenter leads the Barracuda and is tied for the AHL lead in postseason scoring. Carpenter did not score in Game 4, and will look to get back on the scoresheet with the season on the line.
Rookie forwards Timo Meier and Marcus Sorensen rejoined the Barracuda after the Sharks were eliminated. Meier’s scored two points (a goal and an assist) in three games, while Sorensen is yet to record a point in the series.
Fellow rookies Kevin Labanc and Danny O’Regan have each scored three points in four games. Another rookie, Rourke Chartier, leads the Barracuda and is second among all players this postseason with five assists.
If the Barracuda are to advance, they will need much more from goaltender Troy Grosenick. Grosenick, the Baz Bastien award winner as the AHL’s best goalie, has experienced firsthand the variance in a small sample size that’s doomed the postseasons of many goaltenders within the Sharks organization.
In four games, Grosenick has posted an .893 SV% and 3.03 GAA. The 27-year-old Grosenick shut out the Heat in Game 1, but has allowed 12 goals on the 84 shots (.857 SV%) he’s faced in the last three games.
Should San Jose move on, they’ll face the winner of tonight’s other Game 5 in the Pacific Division. The Ontario Reign kept their season alive with a 4-1 win over the San Diego Gulls last night, and head back to the home of Ron Burgundy.
For fans in San Jose still craving to see in-person postseason hockey, tickets are on sale for as little as $10. Locally, the game can be heard on 1220 KDOW, online at www.kdow.biz, and seen on www.ahllive.com.