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San Jose, Ca - The San Jose Barracuda (17-5-1-3) and the Tucson Roadrunners (16-8-3-1) (Arizona Coyotes) did battle for the second straight night on Saturday at SAP Center. The 'Cuda won the contest on Friday in overtime thanks to some late-game heroics by Francis Perron, who lit the lamp in the extra period. The Roadrunners ended up winning the second edition of the weekend series, as they bested the Barracuda 4-3 at SAP center on Saturday night. San Jose now has a 2-3-0-0 record against Tucson with this being the teams last meeting until February 12th.
After failing to lead in regulation on Friday evening, the Barracuda got off to a quick start on Saturday scoring 2:48 into the first period. Jeffrey Viel led a rush down the left wing and fired a wrist shot which was stopped, but the rebound was sent into the left faceoff dot where Evan Weinger (6) stuffed the puck past the outstretched and diving Tucson netminder Merrick Madsen. Less than two minutes after the Barracuda took the 1-0 lead the Roadrunners would answer back. Off of a faceoff win deep in 'Cuda territory Tucson defenseman Jordan Gross (3) unleashed a slapshot from the blueline that beat Antoine Bibeau under his blocker. The Barracuda would retake the lead with just under ten minutes remaining in the first, on a goal by Dylan Gambrell (8). Gambrell took possession of the puck in the high slot and patiently held his shot until Madsen slid across the crease, Gambrell waited for the commitment and sent a wrist shot past the outstretched skate of Madsen to give San Jose a 2-1 lead. The Roadrunners would again answer back, and answer in the same fashion; off of a faceoff in the 'Cuda zone. Kyle Capobianco (4) took an offensive zone faceoff win and sniped a snapshot over the glove hand of Bibeau. The first period ended with the score tied at two, even though the Roadrunners ended the period with a 15-7 advantage on the shot clock.
The Roadrunners jumped out to their first lead of the night with 16:40 to go in the second when Trevor Cheek (4) went on a breakaway after a costly turnover by the Barracuda in the neutral zone. Cheek snapped the puck on Bibeau, who made the initial save but had the puck pop up over his head, drop behind him, and trickle into the net to give the Roadrunners a 3-2 lead. With 8:37 remaining in the second period and immediately after a powerplay opportunity for the 'Cuda, Alexander True blasted a shot from the point that was saved, but the ensuing rebound created chaos in front of the Roadrunners net with two 'Cuda and two Roadrunners fighting for the possession. Viel (6) took advantage of the chaos by cleaning up a rebound with a backhander past Madsen to tie the game at three, which is the score both teams took into the locker room.
The first half of the third went by without much action, each team traded chances but neither team was able to break through and get the go-ahead goal. The game would remain tied at three until there was only 1:54 remaining in the third when Gross (4) bombed a clapper from the top of the right faceoff circle and beat Bibeau over his left shoulder to give the Roadrunners the 4-3 lead. That 4-3 lead would prove to be enough as the Roadrunners took the victory Saturday night in San Jose. The 'Cuda loss was only their fifth in regulation this season, three of which coming at the hands of the Roadrunners.
Tucson chipped into San Jose's lead in the Pacific Division with the 'Cuda now holding a two-point lead over the Roadrunners. San Jose will get a much-needed hiatus after finishing a stretch of five games in seven nights. Next up for the Barracuda is a matinee affair on Thursday, December 27th when the 'Cuda welcome the Colorado Eagles into SAP Center. The Barracuda will faceoff at 1:15 PM and the San Jose Sharks will follow suit with a contest at 7:30 the same night. You can follow along with Thursday's 'Cuda contest on the Sharks App.