photo from sjbarracuda.com
by Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE, Calif- When you are rutted in a long losing streak, the breaks usually go against you. The Stockton Heat came back from a two-goal deficit in the third period and received the game winning goal from Luke Philp for a 4-3 overtime victory over the San Jose Barrauda on Wednesday evening at SAP Center.
Austin Czarnik won a battle along the boards behind the net and fished out a pass to a wide open Philp who tucked in a shot through the 5-hole of ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar for his 17th goal of the season at the 1:19 mark of overtime. It was Philp’s fourth game winning goal of the season for the Heat.
San Jose has lost a season worst eight games in a row and remain in the cellar in the Pacific Division. Stockton snapped a two game losing streak and are now tied for second with Colorado in the division with 58 points.
The Barracuda dominted the game for the first 40 minutes as they had held Stockton’s high octane offense to just 11 shots through two periods.
“That was our game. They didn’t win that game, we lost it that’s for sure,” said Jonny Brodzinski.
Stockton (25-12-3-3) drew first blood in the first period seconds after their power play opportunity had expired. Rob Hamilton intercepted a clearing attempt at the left blue line and and fired in a wrist shot that Byron Froese redirected past Korenar for his team leading 17th goal of the season at the 9:08 mark. Adam Ruzicka was creditied with the secondary assist.
San Jose (14-25-2-2) scored the equalizer late in the opening 20 minutes. Manny Weiderer sent Lukas Radil on a brekaway breakaway from center ice. Radil skated in and snapped a wrist shot top-shelf into the right corner for his third goal of the season at the 15:38 mark. Noah Gregor received the secondary assist.
“It was really a good job from all the guys on the line. I got a good pass and I go (and score) on the breakaway,” said Radil.
The Barracuda had the ice tilted in their favor in the first period as they peppered Heat goalie Jon Gillies with 17 shots on goal, including three point blank chances with 10 seconds left in the opening frame while San Jose was on the power play. The Heat had only four shots to their credit.
Good fortune came the ‘Cuda’s way in the second period after some misfortune from Stockton while they were on the power play. Justin Kirkland hit the post on a shot attempt into an empty net.
Moments after killing off the penalty to Trevor Carrick for high sticking, Noah Gregor led a 3-on-1 rush into the Heat zone. Gregor sent a cross ice pass over to Brodzinski, who played in his first home game since the birth of his daughter Lucy, at the right slot and he buried a wrist shot top-shelf past Gillies for his eight goal of the season at the 4:58 mark.
San Jose increased their lead just over two minues later. Seconds after their own power play opportunity had just ended. Jacob Middleton fed a pass over to Sasha Chemelevski who fired a shot initially saved by Gillies. Lean Bergmann, who was camped out to the right of the net, cleaned up the rebound as it sneaked underneath the pad of Gillies for Bergmann’s sixth goal of the season at the 7:10 mark.
“It felt pretty good,” said Bergmann about scoring his goal. “(To) come back from the injuries especially. It was a good feeling to get back in the flow again.”
Stockton cut the lead to one goal on the power play nearly halfway through the third period. Austin Czarnik sent a pass from the right boards over to Froese camped out in the slot. Froese made one move before drilling a shot past Korenar for his second goal of the game and 18th of the season at the 8:42 mark.
It’s a tough pill to swallow. I thought we dictated a lot of the play at different points in the first two periods. They (Stockton) didn’t really seem into the game either. I don’t think we really jammed it down their throats but they weren’t really going,” said co-head coach Michael Chaisson.
The Heat scored the eqaulizer with 1:25 remaining in the third period. Corey Schueneman’s shot from the right point was caromed off of Korenar out to Alan Quine, who was waiting on the doorstep, and he stuffed home the rebound with a backhander into an empty net for his 12th goal of the season.
Gillies made 38 saves on 41 shots to earn his 12th win on the season. .Korenar finsished with 14 shots on 18 shots in yet another tough luck for the netminder.
“We had a lapse there in the third (period). Right now that’s not a great look for this organization, this group and these individual players,” said Chiasson.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0-for-5 on the power play. Stockton was 1-for-4.
Bergmann’s second period goal snapped a 13-game goal-less draught for the Swedish forward. His last goal before that came back on November 23, 2019 in a game against the Colorado Eagles.
Brodzinki snapped an 11-game goal-less draught with his second period goal.
Froese now has nine points (4G, 5A) in nine games against the ‘Cuda this season.
The announced attendance was 2,214.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda travel down to Bakersfield to take on the Condors on Sunday 2/16 at 5:00pm at Mechanics Bank Arena.