by Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE, Calif- The third period has been a period of woe for the San Jose Barracuda this season. It proved to be that once again as the Onatrio Reign scored three unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes for a 3-1 victory over their Pacific Division rival on Saturday evening at SAP Center.
The two teams are going in opposite directions heading into the All-Star break. Ontario is riding a three-game winning streak. While San Jose has dropped their past three games.
San Jose (14-22-1-2) drew first blood in the first ten minutes of the first period. Sasha Chmelevski scored an unassisted goal at the 7:47 mark for his eighth goal of the season.
The Reign outshot the Barracuda 12-10 in the opening frame as they had the only power play opportunity but weren’t able to cash in.
The second period was scoreless as San Jose controlled play in the middle frame as they outshot Ontario 13-9 while killing two penalties in the period.
Ontario (20-18-4-1) started their comeback early in the third period. Paul LaDue scored his fifth goal of the season at the 3:22 mark. Sheldon Rempal recorded his 12th assist on the season.
San Jose had a chance to regain the lead when Brett Sutter went into the sinbin at the 12:38 mark for slashing. However the Reign penalty kill, led by Reign goalie Matthew Villalta, was successful killing off Sutter’s penalty.
Ontario scored the game winning goal with 1:08 left in the game when Sutter set up Tobias Bjornfot who snapped a wrist shot past ‘Cuda goalie Zachary Sawchenko for his third goal of the season.
Matt Luff iced the game for Ontario with an empty net goal with 20 seconds left to seal the deal for the Reign. Mikey Anderson was credited with an assist on Luff’s fifth goal of the season.
Villata (4-3-1) made 30 saves on 31 shots to earn his fourth win of the season. Sawchenko (3-2-1) finished with 28 saves on 30 shots in suffering the defeat.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0-for-3 on the power play. Ontario was also 0-for-3.
The three stars of the game were 1) Bjornfot 2) Chmelevski 3) LaDue
The announced attendance was 5,718.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda return after the All-Star break on Friday 1/31 as they travel down to San Diego to take on the Gulls at 7:00pm at Pachenga Arena.