The San Jose Barracuda share congratulations after their win over Ontario Reign at the Toyota Sports Performance Center in El Segundo on Sun Apr 11, 2021 (@sjbarracuda photo)
by Marko Ukalovic
EL SEGUNDO, Calif—The San Jose Barracuda scored three goals in the first period as they dominated the Ontario Reign in a 5-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at the Toyota Sports Performance Center.
San Jose’s win gave them 24 points as they continue to occupy fourth place in the Pacific Division and the final playoff spot. Ontario have lost four of its past five games.
The Barracuda (9-8-4-2) opened the scoring early on in the first period. Alex True picked up the puck after a multi-player collision along the right boards and quickly found a wide open Sasha Chmelevski in front of the crease and he snapped home a wrist shot past Reign goalie Matt Villalta for his first goal of the game and his fourth goal at the 4:00 mark.
Chmelevski didn’t take long to double the ‘Cuda’s lead to 2-0. Once again it was True setting up his winger. True spun away from an Ontario defender and found Chemelevski in the right slot. The Orange County native then fired home a wrist shot top-shelf past Villalta for his two-goal afternoon and fifth of the season at the 6:36 mark.
Ontario (9-15-3-0) cut the lead in half just under two minutes later. A failed clearing attempt by San Jose was intercepted by Lias Andersson and he sent the puck back up to the point where Austin Strand fired a shot through a body of traffic past ‘Cuda goalie Zachary Sawchenko for this first goal of the season at the 9:04 mark.
San Jose regained its two-goal lead when Nicolas Meloche led an odd-man rush down the left wing. Meloche centered a pass over to Brinson Pasichnuk who lasered home a wrist shot top-shelf past Villalta for his first career AHL goal at the 13:52 mark.
The Barracuda outshot the Reign 10-9 in the opening frame.
San Jose went up 3-1 more than halfway through in the second period as Scott Reedy also scored his first career AHL goal. Joel Kellman sent a cross ice pass from the right slot over to Reedy who beat Villalta with a well placed wrist shot at the 13:52 mark.
The Barracuda out shot the Reign 13-11 in a penalty free middle frame.
San Jose put the game way late in the third period when Jacob Middleton intercepted a pass inside the ‘Cuda zone. Middleton raced down the ice on a breakaway where his initial shot was saved by Villalta but the veteran defenseman cleaned up his own rebound with a backhander for his third goal of the season at the 14:25 mark.
Sawchenko finished the game stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced to earn the victory. Villalta made 27 saves on 32 shots in the losing effort.
GAME NOTES: San Jose went 0-for-2 on the power play. Ontario was 0-for-1.
The Three Stars of the Game were: 1) Chmelevski 2) True 3) Pasichnuk
UP NEXT: The Barracuda host the Texas Stars on Tuesday 4/13 at 6:00pm at Solar4America Ice.