by Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE, Calif- Old habits die hard. Unfortunately for the San Jose Barracuda their habit of blowing third period leads is one that has been hard to break. The San Diego Gulls came back from a two-goal third period deficit as Maxime Comtois scored the game winning goal in overtime to secure a 4-3 victory on Saturday afternoon at SAP Center.
Justin Kloos led an odd-man rush, as San Diego caught San Jose on a bad line change, his shot was initially saved by ‘Cuda goalie Zachary Sawchenko but Comtois crashed the net and batted home the rebound for his ninth goal of the season with 2:11 left in the extra session.
San Jose were actually the Churros for a day and wore specially themed jerseys to celebrate the occassion. It’s a tradition that started with the San Jose Giants. the minor leauge affilate of the San Francisco Giants.
The Churros (17-27-4-2), despite earning a point, have lost two games in a row and three out of their last four. The Gulls have won two in a row and five out of their last six. They have climbed back into fourth in the Pacific Divison with 63 points, one ahead of Ontario.
San Diego (28-8-5-2) drew first blood early in the first period. Christ Mueller led a 2-on-1 rush up the ice. He fed a cross ice pass over to Alex Dostie who buried a wrist shot past Sawchenko for his 11th goal of the season at the 5:35 mark.
San Jose evened the score in the final five minutes of the opening frame. Sasha Chmelevski fed a pass out to newly acquired Anthony Greco, playing in his second game as a member of the ‘Cuda. Greco skated down the left wing and lasered a wrist shot far side past Gulls goalie Kevin Boyle for his first goal in a Churro uniform at the 15:40 mark.
The Barracuda gained the lead less than two minutes later. Nick DeSimone sent in a shot from the right point where Jeffery Viel redirected the puck with his stick into the back of the net for his 13th goal of the season at the 17:26 mark.
There was no scoring or penalties in the second period that saw both goalies make key saves. San Jose outshot San Diego 12-10 in the middle frame.
San Jose looked to have put the game away just 22 seconds into the third period with an insurance goal. Joachim Blichfeld won a battle along the boards behind the net as he checked the puck away from Jani Hankapaa with a hard hit. Blichfeld quickly centered a pass in front to a trailing Jayden Halbgewachs who blasted a one-timer past Boyle for his team leading 17th goal of the season.
The Gulls responded back right away to cut the deficit to one-goal.