sjbarracuda.com photo: San Jose Barracuda forward Timo Meier (28) finds the back end of the net as he scores on the Ontario Reign’s defenceman Matt Roy (3) at SAP Center on Wednesday night in AHL action
By Ana Kieu
SAN JOSE — The San Jose Barracuda dethroned the Ontario Reign with a 5-1 victory at SAP Center Wednesday.
The defense was strong in the opening period. It was a goaltending duel as Barracuda goalie Troy Grosenick and Reign backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff made the necessary saves to keep the game scoreless.
Things got chippy late in the period when Zack Stortini dropped the gloves with Paul Bissonnette for an action-packed fight. Both players received five-minute majors for fighting and two-minute minors for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Barracuda and Reign skated to a scoreless tie after 20 minutes. Shots were 16-9 in favor of San Jose.
Timo Meier broke a scoreless deadlock halfway through the second period. Meier collected a pass from Barclay Goodrow and fired the puck into the net, beating Zatkoff short-side for his 13th goal of the season.
The Barracuda took a 2-0 lead when Danny O’Regan sent a pass to Meier, who tipped it into the net to beat Zatkoff for his second goal of the game and 14th of the season.
The Barracuda outshot the Reign 28-16 and led 2-0 after 40 minutes.
The Reign cut the Barracuda’s lead in half when T.J. Hensick scored a power-play goal — his 14th overall — after Colin Blackwell went to the box for hooking at 13:48 of the third period.
However, the Barracuda extended its lead to 3-1 with 7:29 left in the period. Tim Heed fired a shot from the right point past Zatkoff for his 14th goal of the season.
Joakim Ryan’s shot missed the net, but Buddy Robinson tipped it in for his 15th goal of the season, extending the Barracuda’s lead to 4-1 with 4:03 left in the period.
48 seconds later, Adam Helewka collected a pass from Joakim Ryan and put it into the net for his 13th goal of the season, expanding the Barracuda’s lead to 5-1.
The Barracuda (42-14-2-5) beat the Reign (33-20-10-0) by a score of 5-1. Grosenick finished with 23 saves in a San Jose victory.
Zatkoff made 33 saves in a losing effort for Ontario.
“They (Barracuda) don’t always go in for you,” head coach Roy Sommer said when asked about his thoughts on tonight’s power play opportunities. “But they get a lot of good looks. I think we’re leading the whole American Hockey League in power-play percentage…As long as you’re getting the looks and you’re getting some quality chances on it…The PP (Power Play) and PK (penalty kill) ebbs and flows are normal…I don’t think there’s a lot of stuff to worry about. We only had three of them tonight.”
O’Regan was named to the 2016-17 AHL All-Star Team.
Sommer celebrated his 60th birthday. He was born on April 5, 1967 in Oakland, Calif.
Sharks reassigned Meier to the Barracuda.
The Barracuda head to Stockton Arena to face the Stockton Heat (32-25-4-2) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PST on AHL Live and AM 1220 KDOW.