By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE– The San Jose Barracuda defeated the Ontario Reign 4-2 for their first home win of the season. San Jose goals were scored by John McCarthy, Mirco Mueller, Jeremy Langlois and Nikolay Goldobin. After a long break between games, the Barracuda were very well-rested. The last time San Jose played was October 24, and that was a 3-0 loss to the Reign in Ontario. The break gave them a chance to practice and made the win all the more important. After the game, Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer said: “It’s big for us. The mood of the practices, everything’s going to be upbeat, their Halloween party’s tonight. So they can go have some fun, we have a day off tomorrow so it fits in good.”
Of the time between games, Sommer said that they had made good use of it: “I thought they had a good week of practice… I thought they went hard and everything was about going to the net and that’s where our goals were from tonight.”
The Reign were far from well-rested. Sunday’s game was their third in three days. The fatigue factor was something the Barracuda knew they should take advantage of. After the game, San Jose forward John McCarthy said:
They had a tough weekend, a lot of travel and we talked about kind of taking advantage of that in the first period, coming out… Because we know how it feels to be that team on the road. You come in after a long road trip and when a team’s all over you right away, it messes with your head.
Aaron Dell was in net for the Barracuda, with Peter Budaj at the other end for the Reign. Ontario has opted to use veteran goaltenders this season, with NHL veterans Budaj and Ray Emery playing as a tandem.
John McCarthy started the scoring for San Jose, 2:45 into the first period. Three Barracuda entered the Reign zone, with just two Ontario players defending. McCarthy went to the net and Trevor Parkes got the puck to him with a pass from the boards. Assists went to Parkes and Nikolay Goldobin.
The Barracuda also got the first power play, 7:44 into the period. Michael Mersch, Ontario’s leading goal scorer, went to the box for tripping. Just before that penalty expired, Nikita Jevpalovs went to the box for high-sticking. With 30 seconds left in the penalty, Mersch tied it up for the Reign. Assists went to Sean Backman (the Reign’s points leader) and Valentin Zykov.
Jevpalovs also took the Barracuda’s second penalty, this time it was hooking at 12:47.
The Barracuda were trailing by three shots at the end of the first period, and by the middle of the second they had only added four. The second period was far from shot-heavy, with the Reign only taking three by the ten minute mark. No penalties were called until the fourteen minute mark. The call was for holding and it went to Ontario’s Vincent LoVerde.
It only took Mirco Mueller four seconds to put a shot on net from the blue line. His shot went between two Barracuda skaters as they passed in front of the net and gave the Barracuda the lead. An assist went to Scott Timmins. It was the first goal from a Barracuda defenseman.
The Reign took the goal right back. Justin Auger won the puck behind the net and tried to wrap it around with a backhand. When that did not work, Ryan Horvat picked up the rebound and tossed the puck between Dell’s shoulder and the post. Dell’s vision was obstructed by his own defender and also Auger so he really did not have a chance. Assists went to Auger and Jonny Brodzinski.
The Barracuda had another power play chance at 15:34, when MacDermid went to the box for cross-checking. Nothing came of that, and the Barracuda shortly found themselves on the penalty kill when Patrick McNally went for hooking. That Reign power play did not last long, because Nic Dowd shoved Timmins face first into the glass. That evened the numbers up and put Dowd in the box for boarding.
The period closed with the teams tied at 2, and the Reign leading in shots 22-19.
The third period started with the teams playing four on four for a minute and one second. A 32 second power play for San Jose followed but did not produce a goal.
One of the Barracuda’s better chances came when Karl Stollery found himself in the slot with a clear view of the net. Unfortunately for him, his stick broke and the shot went wide. Seven minutes in and the Barracuda were keeping the Reign on their heels but Budaj was alert and preserved the tie with several saves.
The Barracuda were back on the power play at 9:38 to go, when Ontario’s LoVerde went for hooking. The resulting power play did not start especially well. The Barracuda spent several seconds chasing down the puck in their own zone and keeping it away from attacking penalty killers. The rest of the power play was broken up by stoppages and clears that limited scoring chances.
More four on four play commenced at 12:02 when Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Julius Bergman sat for two minutes. Samuels-Thomas was sent away for embellishment, while Bergman did time for tripping. Neither team profited from the penalties.
Back at even strength, San Jose’s Joakim Ryan escaped an attacking Ontario player in the Barracuda zone, then took the puck all the way to Reign territory. With Ontario defenders closing on him, he used a backhand pass to give the puck to Jeremy Langlois. Langlois carried it around behind the net before scoring with a wrap around.
Another four on four session began when Mirco Mueller and Ryan Horvat were confined with matching roughing minors. Neither team scored.
The Reign pulled their goalie in the final two minutes and it took the Barracuda nearly a minute to clear the puck out. Nikolay Goldobin followed it out and scored an empty-netter. Assists went to McCarthy and Peter Emanuelsson. With that goal and his assist, Goldobin had his first two points of the season in one game.
Final score: 4-2 Barracuda.
No Barracuda had more than three shots, but four had three: McCarthy, Ryan Carpenter, Patrick McNally and Goldobin. For Ontario, Mersch led in shots with six. San Jose’s Aaron Dell made 32 saves on 34 shots, while Peter Budaj made 25 saves on 28 shots.
The Barracuda next play on Saturday, November 7th against the San Diego Gulls in San Jose at 1:15 PT.