By Matthew T.F. Harrington
photo credit San Jose Barracuda: SJ Barracuda take to the net in 6-4 win over San Antonio Rampage Saturday night
SAN JOSE, Calif. – The goal judges at the SAP Center deserve a raise after Saturday. They were kept busy turning on the San Jose Barracuda’s goal lamp 6 times in a late game 2 of a double-header at the Shark Tank. Their trigger fingers must have been sore after flicking the switch 7 times for the parent club in a 7-0 Sharks win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in an afternoon matinee as part of game one.
“It makes you want to have a night like that,” said Barracuda forward Ryan Carpenter. “It looks fun when you score seven goals and don’t give up any. We were getting close but gave up a few too many. It was fun to play tonight.”
“It was a good night for the organization,” added Barracuda coach Roy Sommer. “We pulled 4 points out of the SAP center.”
The Barracuda (16-10-2-3) beat the San Antonio Rampage 6-4 to run the team’s season-high win streak to 5 games while holding down 2nd place in the Pacific Division. Michael Haley netted two goals and contributed an assist while Barclay Goodrow and Nikolai Goldobin continued 4-game point streaks. Ryan Carpenter joined Goodrow and Goldobin as Barracuda players with a goal and an assist while John McCarthy and Trevor Parkes had a pair of assists each in the blowout victory.
“When you have winning streaks it’s not just one line every night,” said Haley. “It’s just not realistic. We’ve been doing a great job of all lines going. It’s great spreading the wealth.”
Despite playing last night in Bakersfield the Rampage (15-14-7-0) looked like the fresher team out the gate. They tested netminder Troy Grosenick early, with Mat Clark firing a shot from the right boards that found its way into the back of the net 3:26 into play.
Clark’s odd angle goal, as well as a raucous crowd of over 6,000 including San Jose Earthquakes rowdy supporters the Ultras, gave the Barracuda just the motivation they needed. San Jose responded with three unanswered goals to close out the period. Captain Bryan Lerg and AHL All-star Barclay Goodrow scored 22 seconds apart in the 6th minute of the period while Michael Haley added a goal of his own late in the frame.
“It was a great atmosphere, especially for a late game,” said Haley. “The boys fed off it. Especially after they got the first goal. We fed off the fans and got a quick 3 to answer.”
Lerg’s goal at the 6:20 mark came on the breakaway after Jeremy Langlois drew a San Antonio defender at the Rampage’s blue line. Langlois flicked a pass to Lerg who drove to the net, faking a slap shot before pushing the puck to his backhand to beat goalie Roman Will. Trevor Parkes also picked up an assist on the captain’s 8th goal of the year.
While Lerg’s finish looked effortless, Goodrow’s strike took an act of will power. The team’s leading scorer withstood a check to the back to wrist in a rebound of a Julius Bergman point shot for his 14th of the year. He now has 3 goals and an assist over the last four games.
The Barracuda controlled the game for the remainder of the period, finally adding a power play goal on perfect passing by San Jose’s assist leader Ryan Carpenter. Carpenter circled the corner boards to Will’s right, shaking a defender before firing the puck cross-ice to a waiting Haley for his 21st helper of the year. Haley slipped his 10th goal of the campaign into the open net for a 3-1 lead.
Haley tallied the Barracuda’s first goal of the second on a sequence of passing to set up a perfect shot that the Golden State Warriors would be proud off. Nikolai Goldobin, protecting a 3-game point streak, passed up a shot to Will’s right, feeding a streaking John McCarthy up the win. McCarthy passed on a shot while being marked by a defender in the slot, instead shoveling the puck up to Haley for the finish 1:53 into the third.
“With Goldobin, he likes to do the fancy plays behind the net,” said Haley on his linemate. “John and I try to stick more North-South. It worked out well today. (McCarthy) and I were talking about how we weren’t chasing as much, we were making plays. Hopefully we can continue like that tomorrow.”
The Rampage wouldn’t be denied though, answering back just 1:07 later. Steve Henley managed to poke a puck past Grosenick in a netfront scramble to make it 4-2.
The Barracuda would restore the 3 goal lead at 5-2 6:17 into the period after a blue collar effort by Goldobin. The first-round pick fired a shot on Will from the left faceoff circle, then emerged from a six-man scrum with the puck behind the goal line. The Russian forward skated the puck behind San Antonio’s net before dipping below the goal line and turning to face the net. From there, he ripped the puck to his left to tie Haley with 11 goals this season.
McCarthy picked up his second assist of the night on the goal while Haley made it a three-point night with the primary helper.
While the game seemed out-of-hand entering the 3rd, a quick strike from the Rampage gave the visitors new life. 48 seconds into the final period of regulation Nikita Zadorov blasted a point shot that managed to find its way into the back of the Barracuda net to pull San Antonio within two at 5-3.
“You’ve got to put a team away,” said Carpenter. “When you score 6 you shouldn’t let a team hang around. Maybe it’s natural to let off the gas.”
Normally the assister, Carpenter became the assisted 4:28 into the period. The Barracuda’s leading point-getter managed to beat Will for his 6th goal of the season after receiving a pass from Trevor Parkes. Carpenter’s shot trickled past Will and skidded into the net with Parkes camped out in the crease. Goodrow also assisted for his 5th multi-point game this season.
“The goalie was standing still,” said Carpenter. “It slowly creeped behind him. It helps having a big body go to the net. I’m sure the goalie saw it out of the corner of his vision. I’m sure that had something to do with it.”
The Rampage would get a goal late in the 3rd after Langlois was checked out of the play near the San Antonio blue line. Lerg would confront the Rampage checker but while referees tried to split up the altercation at one end, play advanced to the Barracuda end. Defenseman Chris Bigras took advantage, scoring his 6th of the year with 4:33 left in regulation.
The Barracuda nearly matched the parent club with 7 goals, but an unselfish act by Goodrow resulted in an opportunity missed. With the Rampage net vacated, Goodrow streaked up the right side with Petter Emanuelsson a step behind. Instead of sliding the puck into the net, Goodrow dropped the puck to his linemate who was returning to action after missing the last three games with an injury. Emanuelsson’s shot clanked off the outside of the goal post. San Jose would fail to score into the empty net, settling for the 6-4 win.
“That shows you the unselfishness of Barclay,” said Sommer. “He was alone, by himself. All he had to do was tap it in. That’s real unselfish of him, but there’s a time and place for that stuff. Finish a team off when you can.”
After meeting for the first time this year, the two teams will meet again tomorrow. It doesn’t give the Barracuda much time to enjoy their winning ways.
“We’re feeling good, but this is the minors,” said Haley. “You go home, get something to eat, have a nap or have a sleep and you’re right back at it tomorrow. You can’t ride the wave too high. You have to keep an even keel.”
When the Barracuda take the ice Sunday against the Rampage, they’ll be looking to continue their streak but also push their coach to history. Sommer currently sits in second place all-time in wins as an AHL coach with 633, 3 behind Fred “Bun” Cook’s total. After tomorrow, the Barracuda hit the road for 3 contests.
“It’s around the corner,” said Sommer. “We’re probably going to be on the road, but that’s how it goes.”