By: Joe Lami
The San Jose Barracuda (3-3-0-1) won their first game at SAP Center on Sunday afternoon as they defeated the Ontario Reign (5-1-2) 4-2. After having eight days off, the Barracuda earned their revenge after losing to Ontario 3-0 last Saturday. For Ontario, it was their third game in three nights as they were coming off of two overtime losses to San Antonio on Friday and Saturday.
San Jose came out firing, netting their first of the night 2:45 into the first period. John McCarthy received a cross-crease pass from Scott Timmins jamming it into the right side of the net for the goal to cap off the 3-on-2 play. “They had a tough weekend. They had a lot of travel, and we talked about taking advantage of that in the first period,” said McCarthy. He did just that scoring his first of the year.
The goal also ended a 163-minute scoreless drought that’s been a burden to the Barracuda offense.“We’ve been struggling to score goals lately, so we emphasized to put pucks towards net in practice cause when you’re struggling you have to get those dirty ones to get rolling,” McCarthy added.
Ontario answered at the 10:33 mark of the first when Michael Mersch netted his fifth goal of the season. Sean Backman and Valentin Zykov picked up the helpers. It was Backman’s eighth assist in his eighth game of the year, as he inches towards the league lead in assists.
It was a slow second period until the 14:06 mark when Mirco Mueller scored his first goal for the Barracuda. The power play marker came just four seconds on the man advantage. The left-handed shot gathered the puck after Timmins won the draw and blew the shot past Reign goalkeeper Peter Budaj.
The lead wouldn’t last long, though, as the Reign stormed back just 49 ticks later when Ryan Horvat was able to jam a rebound past Aaron Dell to tie things at two heading into the third period.
San Jose ruled the third period, as the three in three caught up to Ontario in the third. The Barracuda eventually took the lead with just 3:10 left in the game, as Jeremy Langlois had a great individual effort on a 4-on-4. He went wide right on the rush and was able to tuck in the wrap-around past Budaj for the game winner. It was the first goal of the year for Langlois.
Head coach, Roy Sommer talked about taking advantage of the tired Reign, explaining the difficulty of playing three in three, “that team turned pucks over tonight, and they usually don’t do that.”
Nikolay Goldobin earned his second point of the evening scoring an empty-netter with 58 seconds left to seal the win.
Dell earned his third victory of the year making 32 saves in the win. “He (Dell) was good, he made a few special saves” added Sommer. It marked Ontario’s first regulation loss of the season, as they’ve dropped three straight.
The Barracuda have to wait until Saturday to take the ice again, as they will host San Diego in the first hockey doubleheader in San Jose. The 1:15 puck drop will be part of the first ever teddy bear toss for the Barracuda.