by Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE, Calif- The San Jose Barracuda had a nice President’s Day weekend. They jumped out to an early lead and then took control of the game in the third period to defeat the Pacific Division leading Tuscon Roadrunners 6-3 on Monday evening at SAP Center.
San Jose have won two in a row after losing eight in a row. Tucson have lost five out of their last seven games are only one point ahead of Stockton for the top spot in the Pacific Division. They finished 2-4-0-1 on their road trip.
San Jose (16-25-3-2) drew first blood 27 seconds into the game. Jonny Brodzinski started a rush out of the ‘Cuda zone. Joachim Blichfled sent a pass from center ice that sprung Jeffery Viel on a breakaway. Viel made a deke to get Roadrunners goalie Ivan Prosvetov down before depositing a backhander into the back of the net for his ninth goal of the season goal. It was the quickest goal of the season for the Barracuda.
“I had a lot of speed and it was a nice saucer pass from Blichey (Blichfeld). (I) just faked a shot and went back in. That was a pretty nice goal and it got us going at the start of the game,” said Viel.
The Barracuda doubled their 38 seconds later. Lukas Radil centered puck out in front from behind the net into the middle of a mad scramble. Lean Bergmann and Thomas Gregoire were in the middle of the scramble trying knock in the puck when Radil recovered it just to the left of the crease and poked it past Prosvetov for his fourth goal of the season at the 1:05 mark.
“I think quick getting on the forecheck and (getting) some offensive zone time, that allows everybody to get involved in the game early. Playing with a leads helps everybody. (It) helps the D, the goaltending a little bit. It was two good games for us this weekend,” co-head coach Jimmy Bonneau said.
Tucson (30-16-1-2) cut the lead in half with under six minutes left in the opening frame. Hudson Fasching knocked down Nick DeSimone, stealing the puck from him. He skated in and wired a wrist shot past ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar for his 17th goal of the season at the 14:08 mark.
San Jose outshot Tucson 13-11 in the opening 20 minutes.
Tucson scored the equalizer on the power play over five minutes into the second period. Andy Miele sent a cross ice pass over to Kyle Capobianco who fed it back up to the point over to Jordan Gross. The Roadrunners defenseman fired a slapshot over the pad of Korenar for his ninth goal of the season at the 5:43 mark.
San Jose regained the lead late in the middle frame. DeSimone found Maxim Letunov, who was playing in his first game back since being reassasigned by the Sharks, and he skated into the left slot before firing a wrist shot top-shelf into the right corner for his 11th goal of the season at the 16:28 mark.
Despite spending time with the Sharks recently, Letunov, (1G, 1A tonight), leads San Jose in points with 42 on the season.
“It’s been a great experience out there, the dream come true,” said the Moscow native about his time with the Sharks. “Not just playing in the first game but then scoring in the second (game) as well. Coming (back) down here there’s a lot of opportunities to play, (so I’m) just trying to work hard to deserve to go back up there.”
Tucson once again evened the score thanks to Fasching’s second goal of the night. Beau Bennett led a an odd man rush while on the penalty kill. Bennett sent a cross ice pass over to Fasching who tapped home the puck past Korenar for a short-handed goal, his 18th goal of the season, at the 17:40 mark.
Fasching now has six goals in six games against the ‘Cuda this season.
The tie wouldn’t last long as San Jose reagained their third lead of the game on a 5-on-3 power play. Halbgewachs had posession of the puck when he sent a pass out to Trevor Carrick at the right slot. The ‘Cuda defenseman rifled a bomb of a one-timer past Prosvetov for his ninth goal of the season 18:42 mark. Brodzinski received the secondary assist.
The three goals in a span of 1:46 ended a wild middle frame that saw Tucson out shot San Jose 9-7 in the period.
San Jose received an insurance goal late in the third period. Letunov found Carrick just above the left faceoff circle where Carrick blasted a shot that trickled past the 5-hole of Prosvetov for his 10th goal of the season and second of the night at the 13:36 mark.
“It’s weird. They kinda just been coming in waves for me. Not really changing much (to my game), just throwing it on net and sometimes they just happen to go in, get that lucky bounce. That was the case tonight,” Carrick said.
The ‘Cuda sealed the deal with an empty net goal from Viel, his second of the game and 10th goal of the season at the 14:32 mark.
Korenar finished the night 25 saves on 28 shots to earn his ninth win of the season. Prosvetov stopped 23 of the 28 shots he faced in the losing effort.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1-for-3 on the power play. Tucson was 1-for-6.
San Jose is now 3-3 against Tucson this season and they snapped a three-game home losing streak.
Carrick’s goal snapped a 10-game goal-less draught. It also was his 200th AHL point. He is now second in the AHL among defenseman with his 10 goals.
San Jose has given up 10 short-handed goals this season.
Defenseman Jacob Middleton was reassigned back to down to the ‘Cuda by the Sharks and played in the game as he finished with a +1.
The announced attendance was 3,714.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda travel down to San Diego to take on the Gulls on Saturday 2/22 at 7:00pm at Pachenga Arena San Diego.