By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE-The San Jose Barracuda defeated the visiting Texas Stars by a score of 5-1 Sunday. The game featured Nikolay Goldobin’s first AHL hat trick, and a fine performance from goaltender Al Stalock. Stalock made 21 saves on 22 shots. Jeremy Langlois and Ryan Carpenter each scored a goal, and Gus Young had three assists.
Both teams had played the night before, the Barracuda in Bakersfield and the Stars in Stockton. Even the recent arrivals, Stalock and Tierney, played Saturday with the Sharks. The Barracuda won their Saturday game 5-4 in a shootout. The Stars lost theirs 7-6, also in a shootout. Both teams had reason to be a little weary Sunday, but it did not show. Sunday’s game was fast and entertaining.
The first penalty of the game went to the Barracuda’s Jesse Mycham. The Barracuda killed it off with alacrity.
8:40 into the game, Nikolay Goldobin scored to put the Barracuda up by one. Chris Tierney sent the puck up from behind the goal line, where Goldobin’s arrival was well-timed. With a quick lift, he put the puck over the Texas goaltender’s glove. Assists went to Tierney and Gus Young.
The Barracuda set the pace for the rest of the period. Several shots on net went right into Deslauriers’ clutches, as the Barracuda did not have enough traffic in front of the Texas goaltender.
With just 2:25 left in the first, the Stars caught San Jose off guard and tied the game. Stalock caught Dickinson’s wrap-around shot with his pads but only by diving across the crease. The puck went under him, changed direction somewhere underneath the goalie, and trickled across the goal line. An assist went to Greg Rallo.
San Jose’s Jeremy Langlois took the lead back when he caught a long pass near the faceoff dot in the Stars’ zone, deked his way around Brennan Evans and then beat the goaltender with a backhand from in close. Assists went to Goldobin and Young.
The Stars took a penalty early in the second period, and Brendan Ranford went to the box for delay of game. The Barracuda power play had some good looks but their best chances were for tip-ins that did not work.
As the penalty ended, the Stars went the other way immediately, then got pushed back, only to get a breakaway chance, followed by more o-zone time. The Barracuda were very much on their heels but Stalock kept the puck out.
As the game reached its midpoint, San Jose pulled themselves together. At 10:35, Tierney beat a Texas defender near the faceoff circle and got a pass to Goldobin for a shot. Desrosiers stopped the first shot but Goldobin picked up his rebound and put it around the goaltender to give the Barracuda a 3-1 lead.
The Stars took another penalty, this time to Travis Morin for tripping. San Jose’s power play was less dangerous-looking than it had been, but it was not a liability. After the penalty expired, the Barracuda continued to keep Texas at bay, limiting their shots mostly to the outside and getting the puck out quickly.
By the end of the second period, the score was 3-1 Barracuda, the shot count was 17-14 Barracuda.
San Jose jumped right back in to start the third period. They skated in three on two to extend the lead. Ryan Carpenter carried the puck to the hash marks and passed it to Barclay Goodrow. Goodrow’s shot came back out for Carpenter to pick up and put in the net. Assists went to Goodrow and Trevor Parkes.
A few minutes later, Goldobin escaped the neutral zone and darted unfettered to the Texas net where he wrapped the puck around the goalie and in goal for a hat trick. The goal was unassisted.
The Texas team had a power play opportunity at 9:49 when Alex Gallant went to the box for interference. It was a much better power play than their first and they held the zone relentlessly. They still failed to gain any ground on the four goal deficit.
Final score: 5-1 San Jose. The win puts the Barracuda in the playoff picture for the moment. They are in third place out of seven teams in the Pacific Division.
The Barracuda next play on Wednesday against the Stockton Heat.
There was plenty of roster activity from the Sharks on Sunday. As the Sharks started a four day break in their schedule, they sent forward Chris Tierney and goaltender Alex Stalock to play with the Barracuda. Matt Tennyson was sent down a couple of days earlier, and officially Stalock’s and Tennyson’s assignments are for “conditioning” purposes. This limits the stay to 14 days. Historically, these assignments were used to bring players back from injury, but there is no strict language in the rules saying that a conditioning assignment cannot be used to keep a player tuned up when he is not playing much with the NHL club. It is likely that both Tennyson and Stalock will be back with the Sharks soon.