Gulls Make Playoff Push

San Diego's pro hockey team is in a tight post-season fight

The American Hockey League playoffs are coming. The question is, will they return to San Diego?

With four games to play the Gulls are in one of the tightest division battles in professional hockey. San Diego could do anything from finishing 2nd in the Pacific Division and having home ice in the first round of the playoffs … or finish in 5th place, missing the post-season altogether.

Yup, this is gonna be a barn burner.

Right now here’s how the standings look:

1)    Bakersfield 83 pts.
2)    San Jose 77 pts.
3)    San Diego 75 pts.
4)    Tucson 74 pts.
5)    Colorado 73 pts.

Only the top four advance. The Barracuda have five games left while everyone else only has four to play, and that’s why Wednesday night’s 4-3 Gulls win in the Bay Area was such a big deal. San Diego needs every point it can get as it tries to catch San Jose and hold off the Roadrunners and Eagles.

“We knew we were in for a fight,” said Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins. “San Jose is trying to lock down their spot and we don’t want them to get away from us. Tucson winning their game, this was a massive game for us. I thought our guys showed a ton of fight. I’m sure some of them were checking scores as things were going on but it’s not something I talk to the team about.”

The remaining schedule for the Gulls is not easy. They host their long-time rivals from Ontario on Friday then play their final regular season home game on Wednesday against San Jose. After that it’s two straight in Tucson, a pair of games that could very well end up determining who gets a playoff spot.

The good news for the Gulls is bad news for the Ducks: Anaheim is not good. The parent club is missing the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons so instead of the Ducks taking all of the best Gulls for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, this year there’s a very good chance the reverse could happen and Anaheim will send some of its talented young players down for some Calder Cup Playoffs experience after their regular season ends on Friday night. That list might include:

LW Max Jones
C Sam Steel
D Jaycob Megna
D Jacob Larsson
D Andy Welinski
D Brendan Guhle

All of them have seen substantial playing time in the National Hockey League this season. Any of them would be a huge help to getting America’s Finest City into the post-season.

Of course that brings up the potential for a scheduling dilemma. The Sockers and Seals are already in the MASL and NLL playoffs. Adding the Gulls means Pechanga Arena is going to be one very busy place … but I think it’s probably a problem they won’t mind having to deal with.

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