By: Joe Lami
SAN JOSE, Calif.- For the second night in a row the San Jose Barracuda fall to the Pacific division leading Ontario Reign. On Saturday night, the Reign prevented head coach Roy Sommer from tying the all-time AHL wins record with a 2-1 victory in San Jose. The loss also creates six points of separation between first and second in the Pacific.
The Reign jumped out to an early 1-0 lead at 12:31 of the first period. Kurtis MacDermind netted his third of the season on a shot from the left point that dinked off the left post and in. Nic Dowd picked up his first of two assists on the play.
San Jose found the equalizer four minutes later. Trevor Parkes scored his ninth of the season going five-hole on Peter Budaj, who picked up his 22 victory of the season. The beautiful play was set up by Bryan Lerg, who handed the puck to Parkes in the slot. Jeremy Langlois earned the other assist on the lone goal for the ‘Cuda.
“A lot of it has to do with their goalie. When he needed to make a save he did,” Sommer commented.
Sean Backman scored the game winner with just .49 seconds left in the first period. Michael Mersch and Dowd picked up the helpers on the goal.
Ontario played stellar defensive hockey the rest of the way, especially in the third period where they allowed just two shots from San Jose. “They really lock it down. That’s a fact. They know how to protect a lead and give credit to their coach, but we got to find a way to beat them,” said Lerg.
Ben Smith played his second AHL game of the season after being sent down by the Sharks on Friday. He cleared the waivers process in time to suit up for the Barracuda. Smith finished a -2 in the contest, playing with Nikolay Goldobin and Scott Timmins. Smith, however, was just happy to get back on the ice and play and hopes to get his game where in needs to be to get back to the NHL, “I want to play and just control what I can control right now. Getting my game back to where it needs to be and tonight’s a start. I’m just looking forward to getting more ice time, more shifts and more games in,” he added.