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San Jose, Ca - The San Jose Barracuda (22-8-1-3) and Stockton Heat (16-17-3-0) (Calgary Flames) rekindled their rivalry on Sunday afternoon at SAP Center at San Jose. The game was slow developing, but the Barracuda eventually collected a two-goal lead in the third and held on for a 2-1 win.
Sunday's game was the third installment of the Barracuda's throwback affiliate nights as San Jose honored the Worcester Sharks, the San Jose Shark's American Hockey League affiliate from 2006-2015. The Barracuda completely rebranded on social media and within the arena while also wearing throwback Worcester Sharks uniforms.
The first period looked destined to stay scoreless until Antti Suomela (2) broke through and finally beat Heat goalie Jon Gillies who had made multiple grade-A saves prior to that point. Suomela used a quick backhand-to-forehand deke to beat Gillies top-shelf with 11.8 seconds remaining in the period. The Barracuda would take the 1-0 lead into the intermission.
The second period had a bevy of chances for both sides but the netminders stole the show, making double-digit save apiece and the game remained 1-0 through 40 minutes.
San Jose would increase its lead with 10:51 remaining in the third period thanks to a power-play goal scored by Kyle Wood (3). Wood took a pass from Alexander True and fired a wrist shot from the point past Gillies who was screened and could not see the shot. Just over two minutes later, Stockton would finally best Antione Bibeau and trim the deficit back to 2-1 with 8:36 remaining as Bibeau initially robbed Kerby Rychel with a toe save before Buddy Robinson (6) cleaned up the rebound. That goal brought the Heat within one, but Bibeau and company were able to control the play over the last few minutes and hold on for the 2-1 win.
Sunday's win improved San Jose to 12-4-0-1 on home ice in 2018-19, the best mark in the Pacific Division. San Jose is back in action on Friday, January 18thwhen they welcome the Texas Stars into the SAP Center for the second and final matchup on the season. You can catch all of the action at 7PM on 1220 KDOW, the Sharks App, and online through AHLTV.