Gulls miss playoffs after ending season with 3 straight losses

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Gulls needed a single standings point in their final three games to clinch a berth in the Calder Cup playoffs, but they fell short of the 2018 postseason after a 6-3 loss to the Tucson Roadrunners on Saturday night.

Three consecutive losses to close the regular season mean the Gulls will sit out the playoffs for the first time since they joined the AHL in 2015.

The San Jose Barracudas defeated the Stockton Heat in regulation to tie the Gulls with 76 standings points, but they clinched a postseason berth over San Diego because of tiebreaker rules.

After the loss, Head Coach Dallas Eakins spoke about the Gulls’ 1-6 slide to end the year, and about the role that losing players to NHL call-ups played in their struggles:

“I don’t think it was just the exit of players, I think the exit of players going up [to the Anaheim Ducks] — obviously defensemen that we lost going up — were a big part of us getting that puck moving the one way, but that’s life in this league. That’s why we have a team, is to put players into the NHL and we are very proud that our NHL team has made the playoffs every year and that we’ve had a small hand in that. But this will not discount how gut-wrenching this is for our team, for me.”