sjbarracuda.com photo: San Jose Barracuda forward John McCarthy (17) puts some follow through into his swing against the Manitoba Moose on Saturday night at SAP in AHL action
by Ana Kieu
SAN JOSE — The San Jose Barracuda swept the back-to-back series with a 6-3 victory over the Manitoba Moose at SAP Center Saturday.
The Barracuda and Moose wrapped up their four-game season series this weekend. San Jose entered the second game of a back-to-back with the AHL’s best home winning percentage (.776) while Manitoba ranks 21st in road winning percentage (.429).
The Barracuda controlled the tempo for a little over half of the opening period as they had the first eight shots until the 9:06 mark. The Moose committed two penalties when Brian Strait went to the box for tripping at 13:38 and Kevin Czuczman was called for delay of game less than two minutes later. San Jose then broke a scoreless deadlock as Buddy Robinson cleaned up the rebound of Adam Helewka’s shot and put it into the net, beating Jamie Phillips for his 14th goal of the season.
“Absolutely,” Robinson said when asked about his thoughts on home-ice advantage. “Home-ice advantage is important in the playoffs and I think anyone who you talk to is going to say the same thing…The (Barracuda) fans out here have been great and this team has been hot so the fans have been coming out to show their support and we love it…It’s easier to play at home (SAP Center) because you have the same routine everyday…The more home ice we get, the more better we’ll be.”
Ryan Carpenter made it a 2-0 game with just six seconds left in the period. Carpenter collected a pass from John McCarthy and stuffed the puck through traffic, which went over Phillips’ pads for his 13th goal of the season.
The time on the clock winded down and the Barracuda held a 2-0 lead over the Moose after 20 minutes. Shots were 21-6 in favor of San Jose.
The Moose cut the Barracuda’s lead in half early in the second period. Patrice Cormier’s shot from the point deflected off of Jacob Middleton. Czuczman tipped in the deflection to beat Clarke Saunders top-shelf for his eighth goal of the season.
Peter Stoykewych was called for tripping at 13:52. The Barracuda went on the power play and capitalized with the man advantage. Joakim Ryan collected a pass from Tim Heed and fired it into the net for his 10th goal of the season, giving his team a 3-1 lead 21 seconds later.
The Moose scored another power-play goal to pull within one at the 14-minute mark. Mirco Mueller was called for cross-checking. Dan DeSalvo then collected a pass from Scott Kosmachuk and beat Saunders for his 16th of the season.
The Barracuda outshot the Moose 31-23 and brought a 3-2 lead to the locker room after 40 minutes.
Zach Stortini scored his third goal of the season early in the third period, expanding the Barracuda’s lead to 4-2. Stortini’s scoring attempt worked despite crashing the net for a goal and then crashing into the net himself. However, San Jose’s comfortable cushion was short-lived as the Moose went on the power play after Barclay Goodrow was assessed a slashing penalty at 15:59. Kyle Connor put home the rebound to make it a one-goal game 16 seconds later.
The Barracuda scored an insurance goal for a 5-3 lead over the Moose with a little over three minutes left in regulation. Helewka sent a pass to Rourke Chartier, who fired a long-range shot past Phillips short-side for his 17th of the season. McCarthy capped off the scoring with an empty-net goal — his 18th of the season — with 51.7 seconds left in regulation.
“We’re all kind of on the same page,” McCarthy said. “It’s a nice feeling.”
The Barracuda (41-14-2-5) beat the Moose (25-36-4-5) by a score of 6-3. Saunders stopped 32 of 35 shots in his first appearance in San Jose. Phillips made 36 saves in a losing effort for Manitoba.
“It was an unbelievable way to start,” Saunders gushed. “And it kind of let me ease my way into it. I just want to thank them (Barracuda) for working their butts off tonight.”
The Barracuda are 4-0 against the Moose and won seven straight games against Central Division teams.
“It’s kind of unusual,” Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer recalled. “But they (Moose) had 3-for-5 or something like that. We were pretty much right on, but we had some rebounds and stuff like that. Overall, the game we had was alright.”
Carpenter played in his 200th AHL game.
The Barracuda host the Ontario Reign (33-19-10-0) Wednesday to conclude a three-game homestand. You can tune into the game on AHL Live and AM 1220 KDOW.