sjbarracuda.com photo: The San Jose Barracuda continue to struggle as they lost to the Stockton Heat on Saturday at SAP Center in San Jose
by Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE, Calif- The San Jose Barracuda have been looking for an answer all season against their NorCal rival the Stockton Heat. They were left with even more questions after getting blanked in a 2-0 loss on Saturday afternoon at SAP Center.
Stockton have won two games in a row and all seven meetings this season against the ‘Cuda. San Jose have lost five of their last six games.
Stockton (22-7-2-3) scored their first goal on the power play at the tail end of the first period. Zac Leslie fed a pass from the point over to Austin Czarnik at the right slot. Czarnik then sent a cross ice pass over to Alan Quine who snapped home a wrist shot past a sprawling Zachary Sawchenko for his eighth goal of the season at the 19:50 mark.
Quine has become the latest ‘Cuda killer with 10 points (four goals, six assists) in five games against San Jose (12-19-0-2) this season.
The Heat had the ice tilted in their favor for most of the opening 20 minutes as they outshot the Barracuda 11-6.
“We had a few chances,” said co-head coach Michael Chiasson evaluating his team’s performance. “I wouldn’t say we had a lot of great chances. We gotta do a better job at getting to the net. We gotta have shot volume. There’s a lot of stuff we need to clean up in our game to get ready for tomorrow afternoon.”
Stockton doubled their lead at the 13:54 mark of the second period when Aleander Yelesin won a battle along the boards behind the goaline. He fed a pass to a wide open Byron Froese who skated out from behind the net, looked out in front before sneaking in a nifty backhand shot top-shelf on the short side past Sawchenko for his 12th goal of the season. Czarnik received the secondary assist for a two-point afternoon.
San Jose had two opportunities on the power play in the third period to get back into the game but Stockton’s penalty kill along with goalie Artyom Zagidulin kept the ‘Cuda off the scoresheet.
“Sawchenko played well tonight. Other than that I don’t think there’s a whole lot we can take from this game. I think there’s a lot of learning we need to do before tomorrow’s game,” said Chiasson.
Zagidulin stopped all 26 shots for the shutout and his 12th win of the season. He is currently 3-0 against San Jose this season. Sawchenko made 20 saves on 22 shots in the tough luck loss.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0-for-4 on the power play. Stockton was 1-for-3.
The shutout loss was the second-straight shutout against the Heat and third on the season for the Barracuda.
Czarnik with his two assists, now has thirteen points in eleven games with the Heat this season.
Jonny Brodzinski led both teams with five shots on net.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda conclude their four-game homestand against the Heat on Sunday 1/12 at 3:00pm.