Reign squeeze out late goal to beat Barracuda 4-3

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

In a game that went back and forth, the Ontario Reign scored the game-winning goal with just 38 seconds left in the game to defeat the San Jose Barracuda 4-3 on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Business Bank Arena. The loss was the third in a row for San Jose as they have lost three straight games for the first time this season.

Zach Mitchell moved every one away from the net and spun a backhand pass over to the slot to a wide-open Sam Herr, who buried the puck past Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau for the game-winning goal at the 19:22 mark of the third period. It was Herr’s sixth goal of the season.

Ontario (15-23-4-2) drew first blood halfway through the first period on the power play. Kale Clague sent a pass over to Phillipe Maillet and his shot beat Bibeau (10-6-5) for his 10th goal of the season at the 10:07 mark. Matt Luff received the secondary assist.

San Jose (26-11-2-4) evened up the game five minutes later when Jayden Halbgewachs fired a shot on goal that banked off the shin guard of Jon Martin past Reign goalie Cal Petersen (6-12-3) for his ninth goal of the season at the 15:30 mark.

The Barracuda went up 2-1 under two minutes later. Nick DeSimone sent a pass over to defensive linemate Jacob Middleton at the left point and Middleton blasted a shot top-shelf past Petersen for his third goal of the season at the 17:24 mark. Jeffery Viel received the secondary assist.

San Jose was burned once again taking a trip to the sin bin. Just 16 seconds later after Middleton’s goal, Ontario evened it up six seconds into their second power play when Maillet scored his second goal of the game and 11th goal of the season at the 17:40 mark. Matt Roy and Luff received assists on Maillet’s second power play goal.

The Cuda had a short-handed opportunity halfway through the second period when Rourke Chartier and Anti Suomela led an odd-man rush. Chartier fed a pass over to DSimone whose shot was blocked. Chartier collected the rebound and his wraparound attempt was stoned by Petersen.

Despite being short-handed throughout the middle frame, San Jose outshot Ontario 20-7 in the second period, but weren’t able to break the deadlock heading into the second intermission.

Early in the third period, the Cuda had a great opportunity to take the lead when Martin led a four-on-two odd man rush, but his shot whistled off the post.

Francis Perron gave the Cuda the lead six seconds into a power play after Curtis McDemond went into the penalty box for boarding. Chartier won the face off over to DeSimone who passed it over to Perron on the left side and his wrist shot beat Reign goalie Cal Petersen for his team-leading 15th goal and seventh of the power play at the 12:36 mark.

Brad Sutter was credited with the equalizer as the puck bounced in off his body late in the third period. Ontario’s captain scored his 13th goal of the season at the 16:48 mark. Nikita Scherbak and Alex Lintuniemi received assists.

Petersen played on top of head as he stopped 52 of the 55 shots he faced. The 55 shots were not only a season-high, but a franchise record for San Jose. Bibeau finished with 33 saves on 37 shots, including a breakaway attempt by Maillet that prevented a hat trick, in suffering the tough luck loss.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1/4 on the power play. Ontario was 2/5.

Manny Weiderer suffered an injury less than three minutes in the first period. He did not return to the game.

The announced attendance was 8,921.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda return home on Tuesday 2/12 to host the Tuscon Roadrunners at 7:00 pm at SAP Center.

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