By Mary Walsh
photo credit: San Jose Barracuda
The San Jose Barracuda lost by a score of 4-1 to the Ontario Reign on Sunday. In ten games already played against Ontario, San Jose has just two wins and two overtime points. The teams will play two more times, on March 16 and March 30, both at SAP Center.
Ontario’s Peter Budaj stopped 18 of 19 shots, while Troy Grosenick made 19 saves on 23 shots for San Jose. Neither team scored on the power play, though the Reign only had one chance while the Barracuda had four. Micheal Haley and Kurtis MacDermid had the only fight in the game, though MacDermid also went to the box two other times, once for diving and once for delay of game.
The first goal of the game was scored by Brett Sutter, acquired near the trade deadline by the LA Kings from the Minnesota Wild. It was his first goal for Ontario, in his fourth game with them. Andrew Crescenzi picked up the assist.
The second period saw more goals for the Reign. At 1:09, Michael Mersch, the team’s leading goal scorer gave Ontario a two goal lead. Assists went to Nic Dowd and Sean Backman, the team’ points leader. The Reign added a third goal at 13:15, this time from Dowd, with assists going to Mersch and Backman.
The Barracuda finally got on the board in the third, with a goal from John McCarthy. It was his 14th of the season, and the only point earned by a Barracuda player in the game.
Ontario extended their lead to three again, at 14:58. While Ontario defenseman Andrew Forbot sat in the box for tripping, Justin Auger scored shorthanded. Crescenzi picked up an assist.
San Jose is not out of playoff contention yet, they are getting close. They sit fourth place in the Pacific Division, five points behind the third place San Diego Gulls. The new AHL playoff format allows the fourth place team in the Pacific into the playoffs if they have more points than the fifth place team in the Central division. The Barracuda would need even more points to catch the Charlotte Checkers.
The Barracuda next play on Wednesday at 7:30 PT. As mentioned above, they will face the Reign again at home.