Headline Sports podcast with Marko Ukalovic: As AHL season canceled NHL will have call ups concern

AHL and NHL images from bellyupsports.com

On Headline Sports with Marko:

#1 With the cancellation of the AHL season does that set the backdrop for the NHL to cancel it’s season?

#2 AHL president David Andrews said on Monday after further review that continuing the season would not be feasible.

#3 Translation of the AHL cancellation most likely the league is bleeding money on staff, personnel, and paying players while the season has been suspended and the AHL couldn’t withstand the hit anymore.

#4 Also how much of a concern should the NHL have as they contemplate their return and how practical is it that they would come back?

#5 Also how would the NHL handle not having a crop of players to call up if they do come back and have injuries during a second half of a NHL season and there is no AHL to make call ups from?

Join Marko Ukalovic each Wednesday night for Headline Sports podcast at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic: How Covid 19 ordinance will keep Cuda games real quite

sjbarracuda photo: Stat graphic from Tuesday night’s game in Stockton between the San Jose Barracuda and Stockton Heat

On the Barracuda podcast with Marko:

#1 Santa Clara County announced on Monday due to Covid 19 Virus that no more crowds of over 1000 people may assemble for any type of meetings or events which would effect the San Jose Barracuda who has their games in SAP Center. Although the Barracuda play in a 17,000 seat capacity building they usually draw no more than 3500 fans but the place will further be empty by the new ordinance from the county.

#2 The Barracuda (21-27-5-2) got a huge win over the Stockton Heat (30-17-4-4) at Stockton Arena, the win was the first against the Heat this season and the Cuda picked up their six consecutive game where they have scored a point.

#3 Barracuda goaltender Josef Korenar stopped 22 out of 26 shots in goal but the Barracuda provided enough offense to get Korenar the win.

#4 The Barracuda’s Lukas Radil had himself an evening scoring his first two goals and four point game of his career.

#5 It’s onto San Diego for a Friday night face off with the Gulls Marko sets this game up for us.

Join Marko for the Barracuda podcasts each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com


Barracuda use four-goal second period to bury the Heat 7-4

sjbarracuda photo

by Marko Ukalovic

STOCKTON, Calif- Better late than never has never applied more to the San Jose Barracuda when it comes to the Stockton Heat. The ‘Cuda used a four-goal second period outburst to take control of the game to defeat their NorCal rival 7-4 on Tuesday evening at Stockton Arena.

San Jose finally snapped their nine-game losing streak against Stockton this season, while extendeing their point streak to six games. San Jose is now 1-7-1-1 against Stockton. The Heat currently sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 68 points.

Stockton (30-17-4-4) drew first blood 46 seconds into the first period. Heat captain Byron Froese fired a shot on net that ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar saved but couldn’t control the rebound. Buddy Robinson crashed in and cleaned up the rebound for his 17th goal of the season. He is second in goals for the Heat.

San Jose (21-27-5-2) scored the eqaulizer just under five minutes later. Maxim Letunov led a rush up the ice. He fed a pass over to Danil Yurtaykin who then found Lukas Radil and the Czech forward completed a tic-tac-toe goal with a wrist shot that beat Heat goalie Jon Gillies for his fifth of the season at the 5:30 mark. It snapped an eight-game goal-less draught.

Stockton regained the lead on the power play late in the opening frame. The Heat only needed nine seconds to light the lamp when Martin Pospisil jammed home a loose puck that Korenar struggled to keep from going past the goaline. Glen Gawdin and and Adam Ruzicka were credited with assists on Pospisil’s third goal of the season at the 19:18 mark.

San Jose tied it up for a second time early in the second period in what began a span of three-unanswered goals for the ‘Cuda. Keaton Middleton received a pass from Sasha Chmelevski and skated into the Heat zone. The ‘Cuda defenseman snapped home a wrist shot past Gillies on the shortside for his fourth goal of the season at the 2:03 mark. Radil picked up the secondary assist.

The Barracuda gained their first lead of the night when Danil Yurtaykin fired a shot past Gillies just over two minutes later. The rookie forward scored his second goal of the season at the 4:35 mark. It was his first goal since November 13, 2019, ending a 29 game skid.

Before the Heat could even blink after Yutaykin’s goal, Tristan Langan set up Ivan Chekhovich who buried a wrist shot past Gillies for his fourth goal of the season at the 5:10 mark. For Langan his helper was his first point in the AHL.

That ended the evening for Gillies who was replaced by backup netminder Artyom Zagidulin. Gillies finished the night giving up four goals on 12 shots in 25:10 of action.

Stockton stopped the bleeding over two minutes later when Rob Hamilton sent in a shot on the net where Robinson, was once again at the right place at the right time, tapped home another rebound for second goal of the game and 18th of the season to cut the lead to one-goal at the 7:24 mark.

San Jose regained a two-goal lead when Jeffery Viel led a rush up the ice. He fed a pass over to Anthony Greco who found a trailing Jonny Brodzinski with a drop pass. Brodzinski fired a wrist shot past Zagiudukin, who was screened on the play by his own defenseman, for his 14th goal of the season for the red-hot foward at the 12:09 mark.

The Heat pressed back just 31 second later as they closed out the scoring in a wild middle frame. Korenar failed to clear the puck from his crease as his attempt went right on the stick of Froese and he scored into an empty net for his 19th goal of the season. Alexander Yelesin and Hamilton were credited with assists.

The Barracuda dominated the second period as they out shot the Heat by a 2-to-1 margin 14-7.

San Jose wrapped up the game with two goals in a span of 13 seconds late in the third period. First Yurtaykin fed a pass over to Radil who skated down the left wing and buried a wrist shot to the far side past Zagidulin for his second goal of the night and sixth of the season at the 16:09 mark.

Then Jayden Halbgewachs scored his team leading 19th goal at the 16:22 mark to ice the game for the Barracuda. Chmelevski and Middleton picked up the helpers on the play.

Korenar played an outstanding game making 22 saves on 26 shots to earn his 12th win of the season. Zagidulin stopped 16 of the 19 shots in suffering the loss.

GAME NOTES: San Jose went 0-for-3 on the power play. Stockton was 1-for-3. The Heat came into the game with the league number one power play at 25.5%.

Six different skaters scored goals for the ‘Cuda.

Radil’s two goals were his first multi-goal game of his career.

Yutaykin with his 1G, 2A finished with his first ever three-point game in his career.

Ruzicka now has one goal and three assists in four games against San Jose this season.

The announced attendance was 1,639.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda continue their three-game roadtrip when the travel down to San Diego to take on the Gulls on Friday 3/13 at 7:00pm at Pachenga Arena.

Gulls comeback to stun Barracuda with 3-2 overtime win

photo from sjbarracuda.com

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif- The San Diego Gulls flipped the script in their favor a night after the San Jose Barracuda came back from a two-goal deficit. This time around they would have the last laugh as Isac Lunderstrom scored the game winning goal with three seconds left in overtime to complete a 3-2 come from behind victory for the Gulls on Saturday evening at SAP Center.

Lunderstrom finished off a give-and-go with Josh Mahura with a wrist shot from the left wing that beat ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar for his sixth goal of the season at the 19:57 mark of the extra session.

San Jose, who have played four of their last five games in overtime, had its season high three-game winning streak snapped. However they have earned a point in a season high five-game point streak. They finished their six-game homestand with a 3-1-2 record. With the win, San Diego is in sole position of fourth place in the Pacific Division with 66 points.

It was a war of attrition on special teams between the two divsion rivals. The Barracuda struck first early in the first period with a short-handed goal. With Keaton Middleton in the sinbin for cross checking, Jeffery Viel raced in from the right wing and his shot had Gulls goalie Kevin Boyle knock the net loose but not off its bearings. The puck was still live and Evan Weinger quickly tucked it into the net for his ninth goal of the season at the 1:50 mark. It was also Weinger’s third short-handed goal of the year and the Barracuda’s sixth of the season.

San Jose (20-27-5-2) doubled its lead on the power play late in the opening frame. Jeffery Viel centered a pass from behind the end line that deflected off the skate of Anthony Greco over to Jonny Brodzinski who blasted a one-timer past Boyle for his 13th goal of the season at the 16:47 mark.

Brozinski has five goals in his last four games and is on a current four-game point streak.

Shots were even at 11 for both teams in the first period as the Barracuda controled the majority of play.

San Diego (29-18-6-2) cut the lead in half on the power play early in the second period. Brendan Guhle sent a pass back up to the right point where Mahura sent in a shot on net that Chris Mueller redirected the puck past the five-hole of Korenar for his 19th goal of the season at the 5:59 mark.

The Gulls scored the equalizer with a short-handed goal of their own, their 17 of the season, over five minutes into the third period. Simon Benoit set up Sam Carrick who wrapped around a shot past Korenar for his 22nd goal of the season at the 5:48 mark. Carrick leads the Gulls with four short-handed goals.

San Diego gained momentum and dominated the rest of the period as they had San Jose on their heels outshooting them 10-4.

The Gulls had two glorious chances to end the game earlier in overtime but Korenar made two spectacular saves to keep the ‘Cuda in it. The most notable was stopping Carrick on a 2-on-0 breakaway where the puck was on the goaline but Korenar somehow kept it from crossing the line at the 2:50 mark.

Boyle finished the evening stopping 24 of the 26 shots he faced to earn his eighth win of the season and fourth in a row for the Gulls backup goaltender. Korenar made 31 saves on 34 shots suffering the tough luck loss.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1-for-5 on the power play. San Diego went 1/2.

Viel registered two assists in the game, his eighth multi-point performance of the season and fifth helper in his last three games.

Saturday’s game was the third-straight between the Barracuda and Gulls that needed overtime to decide it.

The announced attendance was 3,661.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda travel out to Stockton to take on the Heat to start a three-game road trip on Tuesday 3/9 at 7:00pm at Stockton Arena.

Halbegwachs overtime heroics give Barracuda 3-2 comeback win over Gulls

sjbarracuda.com photo

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif- Jayden Halbgewachs has a nack for scoring game winning goals in overtime. His latest extra session heroics came just 37 seconds into overtime to give the San Jose Barracuda a 3-2 comeback victory over the San Diego Gulls on Friday evening at SAP Center.

Trevor Carrick fed a pass up to Halbgewachs at the blue line. The left winger skated in and moving against the grain, threaded a backhander past Gulls goalie Anthony Stolarz for his team leading 18th goal of the season. He has scored three of the four overtime winners for the ‘Cuda and his second against San Diego this season.

San Jose have won three in a row for the first time all season. San Diego had their two-game winning streak snapped. The point they earned making it to overtime has them tied for fourth with Ontario in the Pacific Division with 64 points.

“I wish we could be having this conversation, let’s say in the beginning of November,” co-head coach Michael Chiasson said about his team’s longest win streak of the season. “But we’ll take it. From the first trip (when ) we went to Iowa, our game has really turned around. It was very helter skelter at times. But I think there’s a lot for us to build on and some stuff to be happy about,”

San Diego (28-18-6-2) drew first blood early in the first period. Justin Kloos skated out from behind the net and peppered a shot on ‘Cuda goalie Zachary Sawchenko that leaked out to Anderw Poturalski whose rebound chance was also stopped by Sawchenko. Kloos crashed the crease and cleaned up the second rebound into the back of the net for his 11th goal of the season at the 5:45 mark.

San Jose (20-27-4-2), who were out 15-11 by San Diego in the opening frame, had a short-handed chance on a 2-on-1 rush but Stolarz stood his ground and kept the puck out of his net.

The Gulls doubled their lead with a short-handed goal two minutes into the second period. Alex Broadhurst skated in on a breakwaway that Sawchenko stoned away. Broadhurst gathered the rebound and centered a pass out to Chase De Leo who buried a one-timer past Sawchenko for his ninth goal of the season at the 2:05 mark.

The Barracuda cut the lead in half late in the second period. Stolarz misplayed the puck that saw two attempts at an empty net sail high and wide by Sasha Chmelevski and Halbgewachs. Chmelevski retrieved the puck along the left boards and quickly turned around and fired a shot on net that beat the Gulls netminder on the shortside for his 11th goal at the 18:05 mark.

San Jose rode that momentum until the final six seconds of the middle frame. Holding possession inside the Gulls zone, Nikolai Knyzhov sent a cross ice pass along the point over to Nick DeSimone. The New York state native then snapped home a wrist shot past Stolarz for the equalizer and his fifth goal of the season with just six seconds left in the period.

“Desi (DeSimone) has done a really good job here the last five or six games. His game is starting to trend back in that direction. We’re at a point right now where guys have to continue to do that for themselves and Desi has put himself in that situation,” said Chiasson.

DeSimone has scored in back-to-back games and continued his point steak to four games for San Jose.

“I definitely had a long dry spell there,” said DeSimone when asked about his current point streak. “That’s always tough. You kinda wonder when it’s going to end. Offense is gonna come so you try not to worry about it too much but you know it’s always back there.”

San Diego had the ice tited in their favor in the second period outshooting San Jose 13-8. Yet they headed into the second intermission deadlocked after the ‘Cuda’s two goals in a span of 1:48.

Sawchenko (6-4-2) finished the evening with a career high 42 saves on 44 shots to earn his sixth victory of the season. Stolarz made 24 saves on 27 shots in the losing effort.

“I’ll be honest, my rebound control wasn’t great tonight. The D-core and the forwards came back and took away those second chances. That was huge. I tried to weather the storm the best I could,” said Sawchenko.

The third period featured descent scoring chances by both teams but neither could end the game in regulation. San Diego out shot San Jose 16-7.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0-for-3 on the power play. San Diego went 0-for-5.

Tevor Carrick played in his 400th professional game (393 AHL, 7 NHL).

‘Cuda defenseman Michael Downing played in his 100th AHL game.

Danil Yutaykin returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with an upper body injury.

San Jose wore a cowboy themed specialty jersey in honor of “Cuda Country Night”. A Roy Sommer bobblehead was given away to the first 4,000 fans. Sommer and his son Mo performed the ceremonial faceoff before the game.

The announced attendance was 4,542.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda conclude its six-game homestand versus the Gulls on Saturday 3/7 at 8:00pm at SAP Center.

Brodzinski’s two goals power Barracuda past Wild 5-1

sjbarracuda.com photo

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif- Jonny Brodzinki is riding high on a huge wave of goals. He powered the San Jose Barracuda with two goals in a 5-1 convincing victory over the Iowa Wild on Wednesday evening at SAP Center

San Jose swept the two-game series with Iowa and went 3-1 in the season series. The Wild have lost two in a row for the first time since January 10th and 11th to San Diego and Bakersfield.

The ‘Cuda held one of the league’s highest scoring offenses to one goal in 123:20 minutes of action in the past 48 hours.

“One of our problems was we struggled to hold on to games,” said co-head coach Jimmy Bonneau regarding his team’s poor third period play this season. “I don’t know if it’s…I wouldn’t say less on the line. Cause in this league, especially more than anything, you play for a lot of everything. I think we’re learning how to win, learning how to manage games.”

San Jose (18-27-4-2) drew first blood less than three minutes into the first period on the power play. Just as the first penalty of their 5-on-3 opportunity had expired, Trevor Carrick sent a pass down low to Maxim Letunov. The sophomore forward then sent a backhand spin-o-rama pass to Joachim Blichfeld at the backdoor who buried the puck into an open net for his 16th goal of the season at the 2:42 mark.

“I always know Blichie (Blichfeld) is (stationed) backdoor ready to shoot. Before I got the puck I saw he was ready to shoot. So gladly it got through (to) him and he put it in the net,” said Letunov.

Iowa (36-17-4-3) had two power plays of their own in the opening frame but the ‘Cuda penalty kill led by goalie Josef Korenar kept the Wild scoreless. Iowa outshot San Jose 11-10 after 20 minutes.

The ‘Cuda doubled their lead early in the second period. Ivan Chekhovich picked up a loose puck near the crease. He skated behind the net and centered a pass out to the slot where Evan Weinger blasted a one-timer past Wild goalie Mat Robson for his eighth goal of the season at the 3:57 mark.

San Jose scored an insurance goal early in the third period. Letunov led a rush into the Wild zone. He fed a pass into the slot for Jeffery Viel who fired a wrist shot that was saved by Robson. However, the Wild backup netminder couldn’t control the rebound and Brodzinski slid the puck past Robson’s five-hole for his first goal and 11th of the season at the 1:41 mark.

Iowa spoiled Korenar’s shutout bid with a power play goal under four minutes later. A give and go between Bennan Menell and Sam Anas led to Anas finding JT Brown open in the slot and Brown lasered a one-timer past Korenar for his ninth goal of the season at the 5:28 mark.

The Barracuda regained their three-goal lead when Nick DeSimone skated in from the point down the right wing and roofed a shot top-shelf past Robson for his fourth goal of the season at the 12:16 mark. Chekhovich received the lone assist on the goal for a two-point night.

Brodzinski iced the game for San Jose 25 seconds later with his second goal of the contest. He intercepted a clearing attempt by the Wild. From the right slot he wired a wrist shot past Robson to the short side for this 12th goal of the season at the 12:41 mark.

Brodzinski has four goals in his last two games against the Wild.

“Sometimes you get the puck luck and that’s kind of how it’s been going (for me). Last probably 10 games before this there was one that kicked off the D-man’s foot, came right to me. It seemed like I was catching that one clean and it fell right in the glove. This one I don’t catch (it) right and I kinda fan on it and it goes five-hole. That’s just how the puck is going (in) for me right now,” Brodzinski said.

Korenar, fresh off his career high 42 save performance on Monday, stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced to earn his 11th win of the season. Robson made 26 saves on 31 shots in the losing effort.

It was a nice change of scenery for the second year netminder to have some goal support which had been lacking for him earlier in the season.

“I felt so much better after we won the game in overtime (on Monday). It gives you such confidence. Hopefully that continues,” said Korenar.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1-for-4 on the power play. Iowa was 1-for-6.

Weinger’s goal snapped an 11-game goal-less draught for the forward.

With his two helpers, Letunov now leads the ‘Cuda with 38 points and 26 assists.

Jayden Halbgewachs had his three-game point streak snapped.

Anas’s assist gave him 65 points on the season, which leads the AHL.

The announced attendance was 2,571.

UP NEXT The Barracuda continue their six-game homestand on Friday 3/6 as they host the San Diego Gulls at 7:00pm at SAP Center.

San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic: Barracuda looking for second win against Wild tonight

sjbarracuda photo: The San Jose Barracuda host the Iowa Wild tonight at SAP Center as the Barracuda attempt to win their second game against the Wild

On the Barracuda podcast with Marko:

#1 The San Jose Barracuda (18-27-4-2) edged out a close contest with the Iowa Wild (36-16-4-3) on Monday morning 2-1.

#2 The Barracuda were playing a pretty decent team in the Wild on Monday and they went all out on defense to prevent Iowa from piling on goals.

#3 Jonny Brodzinski provided all the offense San Jose would need scoring two goals opening the game at 0:29 with a goal and an overtime goal

#4 The Barracuda’s Josef Korenar (10-16-2) stopped 42 shots and played much of the game standing on his head but his prevent defense kept the Wild out of the game.

#5 It’s Iowa again tonight as the Barracuda hope to sweep the Wild in the second of two games

Marko Ukalovic does Barracuda podcasts each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Brodzinki’s OT winner spark Barracuda with 2-1 win over Wild

sjbarracuda photo: San Jose Barracuda get a one goal victory thanks to a Jonny Brodzinki goal against the visiting Iowa Wild at SAP Center on Monday

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif- Jonny Brodzinki had been in a mini-slump of late. His two goals provided all the offense the San Jose Barracuda needed to defeat the Iowa Wild in 2-1 overtime victory on Monday afternoon at SAP Center.

Nick DeSimone fed a pass to Brodzinki down the left wing then cut back into the middle in between two Wild defenders and sniped home a wrist shot from the right wing to the far side past Wild goalie Kaapo Khakonen for the game winning goal, his second of the game and 10th of the season at the 3:20 mark of overtime.

San Jose snapped their two game losing streak and four game overtime losing streak. Iowa had their three game winning streak snapped as they sit in second place in the Central Division with 79 points.

San Jose (18-27-4-2) drew first blood just 29 seconds into the first period. Maxim Letunov fired a shot on net stopped by Khakonen but Brodzinki was Jonny on the spot as he cleaned up the rebound from just outside the crease for his first goal of the contest and ninth goal of the season. It was the second quickest goal scored to start a game by the ‘Cuda.

The Wild out shot the Barracuda 15-12 in the opening frame.

Iowa (36-16-4-3) scored the equalizer on the power play half way throug the second period. ‘Cuda defenseman Mike Downing fumbled behind the ‘Cuda net. Connor Dewar pressured Downing and was able to intercept the puck. He centered a pass out to Sam Anas who fired a one-timer past Cuda goalie Josef Korenar for his 19th of the season at the 9:19 mark. It was Anas’ seventh play power goal as well.

There was no scoring in the third period as Iowa dominated the play outshooting San Jose 15-3. However Korenar stood stall in the net forcing the game into overtime.

Korenar finished with a career high 42 saves on 43 shots to earn his 10th victory of the season. Khakonen made 25 saves on 27 shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0-for-3 on the power play. Iowa went 1-for-5.

San Jose hosted their second “Cuda Classroom Day” of the season.

Brodzinski snapped a six-game goal-less draught.

Kahkonen was named the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for February after he posted an 8-1-0 record and led the league in nearly every goaltending category.

Anas leads the AHL in points with 64.

Cody McLeod and Jeffery Viel exchanged fisticuffs at the 6:12 mark of the third period.

Thomas Gregoire picked up an assist and continues to pace Barracuda defensemen in assists (19) and points (24)

Letunov collected two assists to add to his team-leading 36 points

The announced attendance was 3,953.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda continue their six game homestand on Wednesday 3/4 as the finish their season series with the Iowa Wild at 7:00pm at SAP Center.


Gulls comeback to take down Barracuda in 4-3 overtime win

sandiegogulls.com photo

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif- Old habits die hard. Unfortunately for the San Jose Barracuda their habit of blowing third period leads is one that has been hard to break. The San Diego Gulls came back from a two-goal third period deficit as Maxime Comtois scored the game winning goal in overtime to secure a 4-3 victory on Saturday afternoon at SAP Center.

Justin Kloos led an odd-man rush, as San Diego caught San Jose on a bad line change, his shot was initially saved by ‘Cuda goalie Zachary Sawchenko but Comtois crashed the net and batted home the rebound for his ninth goal of the season with 2:11 left in the extra session.

San Jose were actually the Churros for a day and wore specially themed jerseys to celebrate the occassion. It’s a tradition that started with the San Jose Giants. the minor leauge affilate of the San Francisco Giants.

The Churros (17-27-4-2), despite earning a point, have lost two games in a row and three out of their last four. The Gulls have won two in a row and five out of their last six. They have climbed back into fourth in the Pacific Divison with 63 points, one ahead of Ontario.

San Diego (28-8-5-2) drew first blood early in the first period. Christ Mueller led a 2-on-1 rush up the ice. He fed a cross ice pass over to Alex Dostie who buried a wrist shot past Sawchenko for his 11th goal of the season at the 5:35 mark.

San Jose evened the score in the final five minutes of the opening frame. Sasha Chmelevski fed a pass out to newly acquired Anthony Greco, playing in his second game as a member of the ‘Cuda. Greco skated down the left wing and lasered a wrist shot far side past Gulls goalie Kevin Boyle for his first goal in a Churro uniform at the 15:40 mark.

The Barracuda gained the lead less than two minutes later. Nick DeSimone sent in a shot from the right point where Jeffery Viel redirected the puck with his stick into the back of the net for his 13th goal of the season at the 17:26 mark.

There was no scoring or penalties in the second period that saw both goalies make key saves. San Jose outshot San Diego 12-10 in the middle frame.

San Jose looked to have put the game away just 22 seconds into the third period with an insurance goal. Joachim Blichfeld won a battle along the boards behind the net as he checked the puck away from Jani Hankapaa with a hard hit. Blichfeld quickly centered a pass in front to a trailing Jayden Halbgewachs who blasted a one-timer past Boyle for his team leading 17th goal of the season.

The Gulls responded back right away to cut the deficit to one-goal.

Reign win seasaw battle over Barracuda 4-2

sjbarracuda.com photo

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif- Luck can be tricky thing. In a game they mostly dominated, the San Jose Barracuda were on the end of some tough luck in a 4-2 loss to the Ontario Reign on Wednesday evening at SAP Center.

A fluky bounce led to a 2-on-0 breakaway for Giovanni Fiore who lifted a backhand top-shelf past ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar for what proved to be the game winning goal, Fiore’s fourth of the season, at the 10:52 mark of the third period.

Both teams split their last two games against each other. San Jose is 3-5-0-1 on the season against its SoCal rival. Ontario have a seven game winning streak on the road and jumped ahead of San Diego for fourth place and the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division with 60 points.

Ontario (27-20-5-1) drew first blood on the power play in the first period. The Reign took advantage of a 5-on-3 opportunity. Paul LaDue sent in a shot from the left point that was initially saved by Korenar but the rebound leaked out to Carl Grundstrom who buried it home for his 11th goal of the season at the 10:57 mark.

The Reign hadn’t registered a shot on goal for almost the first 11 minutes of the opening frame until their two-man advantage. The ‘Cuda (17-27-3-2) had outshot the Reign 8-0 but goalie Matt Villalta made key point blank saves to keep the Barracuda off the scoreboard.

“We had a really solid game,” said Sasha Chmelevski regarding his team’s performance. “I don’t think we had the right breaks at the right time and sometimes that costs you.”

San Jose scored the equalizer 38 seconds into the second period. Jayden Halbgewachs placed a shot on net. Danil Yurtaykin collected the puck and performed a spin-o-rama pass over to a wide open Manny Wiederer who tapped home the puck into an empty net while falling down for his third goal of the season.

Ontario regained the lead thanks to another trip to the sinbin by San Jose. Blaine Byron won a face off back up to Paul LaDue at the point. LaDue’s slapshot was redirected off Tim Schaller’s body for a power play goal, his first goal of the season at the 6:31 mark.

“There were times we pushed the pace, and there were times where they kinda took it to us. It was one of those games. It was a little back and forth. It was enough that I thought we did enough positive things,” said co-head coach Michael Chiasson.

The Barracuda tied the game back up on the power play late in the middle frame. Ivan Chekhovich led a rush up the ice. He fed a pass over to Halbgewachs who quickly sent it over to Chmelevski. The rookie forward then made a nice forehand-to-backhand move to finish off a pretty tic-tac-toe goal for his 10th goal of the season at the 18:27 mark.

“I just went to the net and Halbs (Halbgewachs) found me. I just wanted to be patient with the puck cause I knew the goalie was going to wait for me to make a move. So I was glad that I scored,” Chemelvski said.

With his two helpers, Halbgewachs notched his 11th mutli-point game of the season.

“I’m trying to work, just be consistent every single game. I think that is what I lacked the most is consistency. If I keep that going, things are bright for the future,” Halbgewachs said.

Byron iced the game with an empty netter goal, his 11th of the season, after a turnover by Jonny Brodzinski to complete the scoring at the 19:16 mark.

Villalta finished the night with 33 saves on 35 shots to earn his ninth win of the season. Korenar stopped 21 of the 24 shots he faced in suffering the tough luck loss. He is now 0-4-1 against Ontario.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1-for-4 on the power play. Ontario was 2-for-4. The ‘Cuda have scored a power play goal in five straight games.

Yurtaykin was injured four minutes into the second period and left the game when he was slammed up against the boards by Ryan Stanton. No penalty was called on the play. Yurtaykin did not return to the game.

Anthony Greco played in his first game as a member of the ‘Cuda. He was acquired in a trade by the San Jose Sharks along with a 2020 first-round pick this past Monday for Barclay Goodrow and a 2020 third-round pick. Greco has appeared in 40 AHL games this season between Springfield and Syracuse, recording 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points.

The fourth-year pro set career highs with 30 goals, 29 assists and 59 points last season, earning a trip to the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic. He also made his NHL debut, appearing in one game with the Florida Panthers.

Greco has played 264 AHL games with Springfield and Syracuse, amassing 85 goals and 73 assists for 158 points

Keaton Middleton played in his 100th AHL game.

The announced attendance was 2,149.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda continue their six-game homestand hosting the San Diego Gulls on Saturday 2/29 at 1:15pm at SAP Center.