Heat edge Barracuda 3-1, win season series 9-1

San Jose Barracuda couldn’t catch up to the Stockton Heat at the SAP Center on Sun Apr 3, 2022 closing out their season series for 2021-22 (image from the San Jose Barracuda)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE — Some endings come mercifully.

The crescendo for the San Jose Barracuda in their season series with the Stockton Heat concluded with a 3-1 victory by the Pacific Division leading Heat on Sunday afternoon at SAP Center.

San Jose has tied its season worst losing streak of seven games with nine game remaining. Stockton has won eight of their past nine games as they continue to lead the AHL in points with 87. San Jose went 1-7-1-1 against their division rival this season.

Neither team was able to breakthrough on the scoreboard in the scoreless first period.

San Jose had jump in their legs to begin the game and outplayed Stockton in the opening frame as the outshot the Heat 10-5.

“I thought our compete was there tonight,” said ‘Cuda head coach Roy Sommer. “We didn’t give up much after the first two periods. Way better effort from everyone. I thought everyone gave it their best tonight.”

Stockton (41-12-4-1) drew first blood on the power play to open the second period. A shot from the left slot pinballed around in the crease before Byron Froese poked the puck home for his 18th goal of the season at the 2:34 mark.

The Heat needed just six seconds to double its lead as they scored on the next shift. Johannes Kinnvall found Connor Zary just inside the blue line. Zary snapped a wrist shot past ‘Cuda goalie Alex Stalock for his 11th goal of the season.

Stalock kept San Jose (20-36-2-2) in the game with a brilliant desperation save near the halfway mark of the middle frame. Martin Pospisil had an empty net to shoot at but his quick shot was gloved out of mid air by Stalock while he was down on his stomach leaving a bewildered Pospisil in utter disbelief.

“He (Stalock) made some big stops for us when it counted. He gave a chance to win. We only got two goals by their goalie Wolf (in two games). You’re going to need more than two goals to beat that team,” Sommer said.

San Jose cut the lead in the half on the power play to start the third period. Artemi Kniazev blasted a slap shot past Heat goalie Dustin Wolf for his sixth goal of the season at the 1:38 mark.

Justin Kirkland added an empty net goal with 57 seconds left to seal the deal for Stockton. It was his 18th goal of the season.

Wolf finished the afternoon stopping 27 of the 28 shots he faced in sweeping San Jose this weekend. Stalock, who played his best game since being acquired by San Jose, made 25 saves on 27 shots in the losing effort as the ‘Cuda failed to get give him any goal support this weekend.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished 1-for-7 on the power play. Stockton was 1-for-4.

‘Cuda backup goalie Zachary Emond flew in from Orlando earlier today and flew into the Bay Area an hour and a half before the opening faceoff.

The Three Stars of the Game were: 1) Wolf 2) Zary 3) Stalock

UP NEXT: San Jose travels out to Bakersfield to take on the Condors on Wednesday 4/5 at 10:30am at Mechanics Bank Arena.

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