Photo credit: @sjbarracuda
By Marko Ukalovic & Alexandra Evans
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Julius Bergman’s first goal of the season couldn’t have come at a better time as it proved to be the game winning goal in a 5-3 San Jose Barracuda rebound victory over the visiting San Antonio Rampage at SAP Center.
Special teams played a huge role in the game as the Barracuda took advantage of their power play opportunities throughout the game, while the Rampage were stymied by the Barracuda’s penalty kill.
Forward Rourke Chartier started the scoring off with his second goal of the season when he blasted a shot from the left point past Rampage goalie Sam Brittain for a power play goal just five minutes into the first period. The Barracuda coming into the game had a woeful power play as they were just 8-for-59 (13.6%) before Chartier’s goal. Calvan Fitzgerald and Jeremy Roy received the assists on the play.
“It’s always good getting on the board first,” said head coach Roy Sommer. “Our power play was effective I guess enough. We scored three goals. We haven’t done that in a while since the Texas game. We just got pucks to the net, kept it pretty simple and was effective.”
The Rampage would tie it up just 45 seconds into the second period when Brandon Ranford scored his seventh goal of the season after getting the rebound off a shot from Sam Blais that found his stick and put it past backup goalie Antoine Bibeau from the left slot.
The Barracuda would continue their success on the power play when Rampage defenseman Mason Geertsen threw a vicious elbow to the head of the Chartier that earned him a major penalty and a game misconduct ending his night just 1:49 into the second period. The hit also ended Chartier’s night as well as he went off the ice with an upper body injury and did not return to the game.
“It’s unfortunate cause he’s just coming back off an injury,” said John McCarthy on Chartier’s injury. “To see a hit like that, you never want to see that so we hope he gets back quickly.”
Defenseman Jeremy Roy made the Rampage pay when he scored his third goal on the season while the Barracuda had a 6-on-4 advantage during a delayed penalty at 3:16 of the second period. Marcus Sorensen picked up his seventh assist. McCarthy then tipped in a Fitzgerald slap shot from up at the point seconds before the major penalty on Geertsen expired to increase the lead to 3-1. It was McCarthy’s 2nd goal on the year.
The Barracuda were able to kill off a 5-on-3 power play opportunity the Rampage had midway through the second period when Michael Brodzinki and Brandon Bolig went to the sin bin 90 seconds apart. McCarthy was stopped on a shorthanded breakaway during the 5-on-3 kill.
The Ramapage didn’t go away into that gentle Thanksgiving Eve night as they scored the next two goals. Forward AJ Greer cut the lead to 3-2 when he scored on a pretty backhander with less than four minutes remaining in the second period after taking a cross-ice pass from Andrew Agozzino and was able to put a deke on Bibeau scoring into an empty net. The Barracuda turned the puck over at the blue line that led to the 3-on-2 rush that produced Greer’s fourth goal on the season. Nicholas Meloche tied the score with his first goal on the season at 6:54 of the third period after taking a pass from Blais and wristing a shot top-shelf past Bibeau from the right slot.
Bergman’s heroics came late in the third period when he rifled in a shot from the right point that beat Brittain through the five-hole to give the Barracuda the lead with 8:50 reaming. Brandon Mashinter gathered the puck from behind the net and slung a pass back up to Bergman setting up the defenseman’s first goal of the season.
Fliip Sandberg iced the game with an empty-net goal with 45 seconds left in the game to seal the deal for the Barracuda. It was his fifth goal of the season, tying him for the team lead with Sorensen.
Bibeau stopped 27 out of 30 shots to earn his fourth victory of the season. While Brittain, who made his first start of the season, received the loss with 25 saves on 29 shots.
NOTES: The Barracuda were 3-7 on the PP, the Rampage were 0-4. The Barracuda improved their record to .500 at 7-7-0-1. They now have 15 points and are tied with the San Diego Gulls for fifth place in the Pacific Division.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda head down to Southern California to take on the Ontario Reign on Friday evening at 7 pm.