Photo credit: @sjbarracuda
By Marko Ukalovic
The San Jose Barracuda took the foot of the gas pedal after the first period and it came back to bite them as the Ontario Reign scored four unanswered goals en route to a 5-4 shootout victory Saturday evening at Toyota Arena.
San Jose ended up taking three out of the four points in the weekend series against their SoCal rival. However after posting a three-goal first period, the ‘Cuda will look back on a game that were in control of and let slip away.
The Barracuda (8-11-0-2) drew first blood on the power play early in the first period. Joel Kellman won a face off over to Jonny Brodzinski, who sent the puck back up to the point where Thomas Gregoire collected it. The ‘Cuda defenseman skated back toward the middle, where his wrist shot went through a sea of traffic in front of Reign goalie Cal Petersen into the back of the net for Gregoire’s third goal of the season at the 6:20 mark.
San Jose doubled its lead six minutes later when Brodzinski led a rush into the Reign zone, where he sent a cross-ice pass over to a streaking Kellman and he buried a one-timer past Petersen for his third goal of the season at the 12:10 mark.
Just under two minutes later Gregoire fed a pass over to Alex True in the right slot and he in turn sent a cross ice pass over to Jayden Halbgewachs, who fired a one-timer past Petersen, in a similar goal to Kellman’s, for his sixth goal of the season at the 14:13 mark. Halbgewachs has scored in back-to-back games for the ‘Cuda.
Ontario (11-11-2-0) scored the last goal of the period on the power play when Gabe Vilardi had a nice give-and go with Kale Clague inside the ‘Cuda zone. From the point, Clague snapped a wrist shot past ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar for his fifth goal of the season at the 16:35 mark.
San Jose dominated the opening 20 minutes outshooting Ontario 12-8 and had the ice tilted in their favor for most of the period.
The second period didn’t see a goal being scored, but it saw a foreshadow of what would become a third period collapse for San Jose with them going continually going into the sin bin.
Ryan Stanton scored his second goal in as many games after taking a pass from Austin Strand and beat Korenar with a wrist shot at the 6:56 mark.
Ontario scored the equalizer with the man advantage when Clague collected the puck at the left point fed a cross-ice pass over to Martin Frk right above the right faceoff circle and Frk blasted a slap shot past Korenar for his 12th goal of the season at the 8:59 mark. Lance Bouma received the secondary assist.
Then with under four minutes left in the third period, Ontario struck again on the power play for their first lead of the game. Once again, Clauge was the set-up man, this time he sent a cross-ice pass over to Vilardi fired a shot from just above the right slot past Korenar for his second goal of the season at the 15:23 mark.
San Jose didn’t go quietly as Joachim Blichfeld fed a pass over to True, who buried a wrist shot past Petersen for his seventh goal of the season with 1:35 left in the third period to send the game into overtime and eventually the shootout.
In the shootout, both Frk and Vilardi scored for the Reign, while Petersen blanked all three of the Barracuda chances for the win.
Petersen finished the night making 30 saves on 34 shots for his 11th win, and third over San Jose, on the season. For Korenar, he made a career-high 41 saves out of the 45 saves he faced in the losing effort.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1/3 on the power play. Ontario was 3/7.
Brodzinski extended his point streak to five games (two goals, five assists) as he collected a goal and an assist.
Blichfeld recorded a pair of assists for his fifth multi-point game of the year and second in as many games and now co-leads the Barracuda in scoring (17).
Gregoire scored and added two assist as he recorded his second three-point night of his career and now co-leads the Barracuda in points (17).
The three power-play goals against matched a season-high for San Jose.
San Jose is now 0-2 in shootouts this year.
UP NEXT: San Jose hosts the Bakersfield Condors on Wednesday, December 11 at 7:00 pm at SAP Center.