Photo credit: @sjbarracuda
By Marko Ukalovic
The San Jose Barracuda proved why they are the best team in the AHL. They had an answer for every Stockton Heat goal and swept the two-game home and home series with a 4-2 victory on Saturday afternoon at the SAP Center.
San Jose (25-8-42-4) drew first blood with a buzzer beater at the end of the first period. On the power play Calvan Fitzgerald sent a pass over to Kyle Woods with a few seconds remaining and Wood’s one-timer from the point went off Heat goalie Tyler Parsons’ (6-5-1) pad and past his five-hole into the back of the net with one-tenth of a second left on the clock. Anti Suomela received the secondary assist on Wood’s fourth goal of the season at the 19:59 mark.
Five minutes earlier, Stockton’s (18-21-4-1) best chance to get the game’s first goal belonged to Alan Quine and Buddy Robinson as they skated in on a 2-on-0 opportunity but would make one pass too many any Robinson’s shot on goal was quietly handled by Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau (9-5-5) and the Heat were left frustrated.
Stockton tied the game up in the second period. Curtiz Lazar fed a pass over to Anthony Peluso and his fired a slap shot past Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau (9-5-5) that hit off the cross-bar and into the back of the net for his third goal of the season at the 7:41 mark.
San Jose regained the lead when Jeffery Viel fed a pass over to spring Evan Weinger, who raced into the Heat zone, split two Stockton defenders and beat Parsons with a wrister to the short side of the net for his eighth goal of the season at the 11:58 mark.
Despite being out shot 12-8 in the middle frame, San Jose headed into the second intermission with a one-goal lead.
In the third period, Stockton continued their success on the power play as they tied up the game in the first five minutes. Rourke Chartier was stopped on a short-handed 2-on-1 break by Parsons, who then fed the puck up to Ryan Lomberg. Longberg found Spencer Foo and Foo’s wrist shot sneaked inside the near post past Bibeau for his 12th goal at the 4:48 mark.
It wouldn’t take long for San Jose to regain the lead as Calvan Fitzgerald, who just came out of the penalty box was at the right place at the right time as the puck came right to his stick from Dylan Gambrell and skated in and fired a slap shot past Parsons for his third goal of the season at the 7:23 mark.
Jon Martin wrapped up the game for the Cuda with an empty-net goal at the 18:57 mark. The unassisted goal was his eight goal of the season for Martin.
Bibeau made 28 saves on 30 shots to earn his 10th win of the season. Parson stopped 28 of the 31 shots he faced in suffering the loss.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1/1 on the power play. Stockton was 1/2.
Cuda defenseman Jacob Middleton played in his 150th AHL game.
Alex True and Lazar exchanged fisticuffs with two minutes left in the second period.
San Jose wore a throwback jersey of the Kentucky Thoroughblades, one of the former minor leagues affiliates of the San Jose Sharks from 1996-2001.
Former San Jose Sharks Evgeni Nabokov and Dan Boyle served as honorary captains.
San Jose is 16-6 against Stockton at SAP Center.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda host the Iowa Wild on Tuesday, February 5 at 7:00 pm at SAP Center.