As the San Diego Gulls prepare to face either the Bakersfield Condors or Colorado Eagles in the best-of-seven Pacific Division Finals beginning next week, Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins had words of encouragement.
“I think it says a lot about our group in there, those guys that lace up their skates,” Eakins said following his team’s defeat over the San Jose Barracuda 5-2 on the road Wednesday in Game 4 of the First Round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, where they clinched the series win. “They’re a tight group. Obviously, they know that playing on the road is tough to do, but they welcome the challenge. I think it says tons about our leadership group. Even the leadership of the younger guys, jumping in there and playing a real solid road game.”
San Diego advances to the Pacific Division Finals for the third time in four seasons, and is the only team in the division to advance beyond the First Round on multiple occasions. With their third series win all-time, the Gulls also matched Texas (three in 2018) as the only Pacific Division clubs to win three series’ since the division’s inception in 2015.
The Gulls join Toronto (4) as the only AHL clubs to advance to the Division Finals on three or more occasions (Grand Rapids, Hershey and Syracuse have done so twice each and are currently still in the midst of their respective First Round series’).
San Diego won both road contests of the series to improve to 7-0-2-0 their past nine road games dating to the regular season, in addition to points in 24 of the last 28 road contests (18-4-4-2).
The Gulls success Wednesday to grab the Calder Cup Playoffs series means the team will have some time off.
“It’s going to be nice to let the bodies recover,” said Gulls center Sam Carrick. “Not everyone is playing at 100 percent right now so guys are going to be able to heal up a little bit here in a week. We want to keep the momentum going at the same time. We’re not going to take too much rest here and get out of shape. We’re going to keep the pedal to the metal here and probably have some hard practices to stay in game shape. We’ll be ready to go for the next series.”