Thomas Bordeleau battles for a puck behind the net at Tech CU Arena on Saturday DEC 3, 2022. (San Jose Barracuda)
by Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE — It was a night made for tossing teddy bears and scoring power play goals.
The San Jose Barracuda scored three consecutive goals on the man advantage as they came back from a one-goal deficit to defeat the Tucson Roadrunners 4-2 on Saturday evening at Tech CU Arena.
San Jose snapped a two-game losing streak and are 1-2 on their current six-game homestand. Tucson has lost two in a row after ending the month of November winning four of its last five games.
It was the annual Teddy Bear Toss Night and first one at the new building. Fans had to wait till the second period to flood the ice with the hundreds of stuffed animals as Tucson (10-7-1-0) drew first blood in the first period.
Victor Soderstrom found Jan Jenik in the right slot and Jenik fired a one-timer past ‘Cuda goalie Strauss Mann for his third goal of the season at the 5:49 mark.
San Jose (11-9-0-1) scored the equalizer with its first power play goal late in the second period. A shot from the point by Ryan Merkley pinballed off of Jasper Weatherby and then Luke Johnson past Roadrunners goalie Jon Gillies into the back of the net. It was Jonhson’s fifth goal of the season at the 18:17 mark.
“I thought it might have been a high stick, so I didn’t sell it too hard. It was a big goal too, so it was nice to see it go in,” Johnson said.
A blizzard of stuffed animals flew onto the ice from the 2,478 in attendance. Due to the lengthy delay, both teams went into the locker rooms for the second intermission.
I thought our second was our best period. It’s nice to have the power play goals, nice to get the two points,” ‘Cuda head coach John McCarthy said.
Once the middle frame resumed, the Barracuda finished off the period with its second power play goal. William Eklund sent a rink wide pass over to Thomas Bordeleau who blasted a one-timer past Gillies for his team leading 10th goal of the season at the 19:08 mark.
“It’s fun to get the win. We’re right back at it tomorrow so there’s not a lot of time to feel good about yourself and stuff like that. You gotta get right back at it,” Bordeleau said.
A scary situation happened early in the third period when Bokondji Imama slammed Artemi Kniazev from behind into the boards injuring Kniazev, who was able to walk off under his own power to the locker room but did not return to the game. The play resulted in a five-minute major to Imama and a game misconduct who was ejected from the game.
San Jose made Tucson pay as they scored an insurance goal with its third unanswered power play goal just halfway through the third period near the end of their five-minute power play. Merkley, who finished with two assists, set up Eklund who snapped home a one-timer past Gillies for his sixth goal of the season at the 11:10 mark.
‘Cuda defenseman Montana Onyebuchi sealed the deal for San Jose when he cleaned up a rebound off of an Ozzy Wiseblatt shot for his second goal of the season at the 17:10 mark.
Jean-Sebastian Dea completed the scoring with his 10th goal of the season at the 18:29 mark. Adam Cracknell and Laurent Dauphin were credited with assists.
Mann finished the game stopping 22 of the 24 shots he faced to earn his third victory of the season. Gillies made 32 saves on 36 shots in the losing effort.
GAME NOES: San Jose finished 3-for-8 on the power play. Tucson went 0-for-3.
The Three Stars of the Game were: 1) Bordeleau 2) Johnson 3) Merkley
UP NEXT: San Jose and Tucson conclude their two-games series on Sunday 12/4 at 3:00pm at Tech CU Arena.