(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)
SAN JOSE– The San Jose Barracuda have quietly turned into a winning team in the AHL’s Pacific Division. They may not mean to be quiet about it, perhaps the deafening noise from their parent team’s struggles has just drowned them out. In any case, they now sit second in their division and, more impressively, had won five in a row, and seven of their last ten games. An overtime loss Sunday, by a score of 1-0, did not change any of that.
Sunday’s match was the second of back to back meetings with the San Antonio Rampage. Saturday night’s game ended 6-4 in San Jose’s favor, so they faced a motivated opponent Sunday afternoon.
San Jose started the game well, at both ends of the ice. They were rewarded with a power play when San Antonio’s Duncan Siemens was called for holding at 2:35. The Barracuda did not score and had another chance at 6:16 when San Antonio goaltender Spencer Martin was called for tripping. The power play started out fairly well but just as the second minute started ticking down, the Rampage found a deflected puck and attacked the Baracuda net two on one. The shooter was unlucky and hit the post. The pair had a second chance and shot again. This time, Aaron Dell’s quick glove sent the puck over the net. San Jose did not score on the power play but they scaped unscathed.
A few minutes later, the Barracuda had to kill their own penalty: a hooking call to John McCarthy. Not long after that one expired, the Barracuda were penalized again, this time to Langlois, also for hooking. They killed these all off, and despite a lot of zone time for the Rampage, the Barracuda skaters kept opposing shots to a bare minimum. The penalties kept coming, and the Barracuda finished the period on another power play, a slashing call to Nikita Zadarov.
By the end of the period, the shots were 9-6 San Jose.
The Rampage started the second by killing off the last of the Barracuda’s third power play, and then evening up the shot count at 9-9 before the five minute mark.
The next penalty went to the Barracuda, this time a kneeing call on Alex Gallant at 8:58. The kill was very efficient, not allowing the Rampage much time at all to sustain an attack. They were back on the kill at 13:51 when Micheal Haley went to the box for slashing. The fourth time around, the Barracuda penalty killers did not look as sharp, and the Rampage took over the shot lead in a still scoreless game.
By the end of the second, the Rampage led on the shot clock, 17-13.
Four minutes and seven seconds went by before the Barracuda recorded their first shot of the third period. By then, the Rampage also had just one. In the minutes that followed, the Barracuda seemed to wake up and spent a lot of time in the ofensive zone. Still, shots on goal were few and far between, goals non-existant. A media time out ended the San Jose surge, and when they returend, the Rampage took their turn on offense. They were no more successful and by the ten minute mark, the shots were 21-17 an Antonio and the score still 0-0.
The tension boiled over a few seconds past that mark in a multi-player skirmish, after Julius Bergman took a hard hit near the end boards. From that, San Antonio’s Reid Petryk landed in the box for charging. The Barracuda had a number of attempted shots but none hit the net during the two minute man advantage.
the Rampage had barely finished killing that penalty when the Barracuda’s Haley was called for hooking at 12:20. The Rampage added one shot to their tally, and in the final seconds of the power play they hit another post. It made a loud ringing sound, shot across the goal mouth and out.
In the final minutes, the Rampage were all over the Barracuda, but luck and posts seemed against the visitors. With 2:20 left in regulation, the shots were 26-17 Rampage, and the Barracuda were trapped in their own zone by icing calls and turnovers. The closest they got to the offensive zone was a neutral zone faceoff. A few brief skates through the Rampage zone was all San Jose could manage in the final seconds of the third.
The Rampage won the game on a wrist shot from Reid Petryk with 1:48 remaining in the OT session. An assist went to Marc-Andre Cliche.
With the one point, the Barracuda remain in the playoff picture, in seconds place in the division, but their winning streak ended at five.
Aaron Dell received the third star of the game for his trouble, making 26 saves on 27 shots.
The Barracuda next play on Wednesday against the Gulls in San Diego at 7:05 PT.