Fan Appreciation Night at Tech CU; Barracuda's postseason hopes end

The San Jose Barracuda's final home game of the season ended with the team eliminated from the playoffs.

Fan Appreciation Night at Tech CU; Barracuda's postseason hopes end

The San Jose Barracuda had the opportunity to fuel the small flame of the team's playoff hopes Saturday night at Tech CU. While not a must win game against the Colorado Eagles, it was the next best thing. A win would have set up the season's final two games against the Tuscon Roadrunners as a play-in for the playoffs. A loss left the Barracuda's fate in the Roadrunners' hands.

San Jose lost to Colorado 4-0 on Saturday night and saw the team's playoff hopes end just a few hours later at the hands of the Roadrunners. Tucson overcame a 4-0 deficit to score four unanswered goals in just over a period of play to force overtime. While the Roadrunners ultimately lost to the Texas Stars, 5-4 in overtime, the damage was done. Tuscon secured a spot in the AHL playoffs, eliminating the Barracuda in the process.

Barracuda team captain Andrew Agozzino spoke to the media following the team's loss and before the start of the third period for the Roadrunners about his team's chances moving forward.

"We'll see what the next period brings for them. But it's something that we talked about for a couple of weeks now. Let's just be within striking distance of them going into that weekend and give ourselves a chance," said Agozzino. "So hopefully...obviously, unfortunately, it was a loss tonight, but hopefully, we've done enough for the past couple of weeks to give ourselves a chance next weekend."

While Agozzino wanted to focus on the upcoming series with the Roadrunners, he also understood that this could have been the last game of the season at Tech CU.

"I really, really enjoyed the group here and the city and the fans," said Agozzino. "It's been quite a special place to play so far, but like I said, we're not really looking at reflection at this point. We're kind of looking towards hoping that this falls our way in the next half hour and get ready for next weekend."

The crowd was energetic for Tech CU's inaugural fan appreciation night. Players seemed to feed off the energy, finishing checks and adding a little extra after the whistle.

Former Barracuda, now Eagles' defenseman, Ryan Merkley did his best to get noticed. He gave Ozzy Wiesblatt a stick to the shins after the first whistle and a few crosschecks to boot. In the second period, Merkley got into it with Agozzino but didn't drop the gloves. Agozzino took it in stride.

"Just, you know, a couple of guys that are competing out there," said Agozzino postgame. "It doesn't matter if you're old teammates. The game gets hot, and you compete hard against one another, and that's what makes the game fun."

The Eagles scored one in the first period and another in the second. The Barracuda had several opportunities to score, but even when the players managed to get it past the shot blockers, goaltender Justus Annunen was there to stop the puck. Annunen made 33 saves in the shutout win.

San Jose pulled the goaltender with just under three minutes to play in the third period, but it was the Eagles who capitalized. Colorado scored two empty net goals to seal the win.

San Jose's final two games of the season are in Tuscon on Friday and Saturday.