STOCKTON, CALIF. - The San Jose Barracuda (38-13-2-4) scored three unanswered goals on Saturday night at Stockton Arena and held on for a 3-1 win over the Stockton Heat (27-25-4-1). The victory punched San Jose the first AHL postseason bid in a game that saw a combined 111 penalty minutes.
Keith Aulie was given a game misconduct for an elbow on San Jose's Nikita Jevpalovs at 4:36, but a minute and 31 seconds later Hunter Shinkaruk found Mark Jankowski (24) in the slot, and the rookie forward went forehand-to-backhand before beating Troy Grosenick at 6:05 on a four-on-four.
In the second, San Jose evened the score with its 11th shorthanded tally of the season. Buddy Robinson (13) forced a turnover, raced down the right wing with a Heat defender draped all over him, and was able to trickle the puck through David Rittich's five hole at 5:44.
In the third, Mirco Mueller held in a Stockton clearing attempt, fired it on net and Rourke Chartier redirected the puck past Rittich at 4:57. San Jose added some insurance at 9:42 on a Barclay Goodrow (21) tip and Grosenick stopped all nine third period Stockton shots.
Grosenick (26-8-3) collected his 26th win by making 19 saves on 20 shots, and Rittich (12-11-1) suffered the loss after allowing three goals on 27 shots.
The Barracuda return to the road on Wednesday, March 22, to take on the San Diego Gulls (7:00 PM) at Valley View Casino Center for the final match up of 10 on the season. Catch all the action on AM 1220 KDOW, www.kdow.biz and www.ahllive.com. Tickets are available at the SAP Center Box Office, at 408-999-5757, or online at SJBarracuda.com/tickets.
SJ: B. Robinson (13), R. Chartier (15), B. Goodrow (21)
STK: M. Jankowski (24)
SJ: T. Grosenick - W (19/20)
STK: D. Rittich - L (24/27)
BARRACUDA Power Play: (1/5)
BARRACUDA Penalty Kill: (7/7)
1. SJ - B. Robinson
2. STK - M. Jankowski
3. SJ - T. Grosenick