San Jose, Ca - The San Jose Barracuda (17-4-1-3) returned home to the SAP Center after a brief three-game stint on the road to face off against the Tucson Roadrunners (15-8-3-1) (Arizona Coyotes) on Friday night. The Barracuda and Roadrunners currently sit in first and second respectively in the AHL's Pacific Division, with San Jose holding a three-point lead over Tucson. After never leading through 60 minutes, the 'Cuda battled back from a two-goal deficit to force overtime before earning 4-3 win. The victory was San Jose's seventh straight at SAP Center, setting a new franchise watermark for consecutive home wins.
The Barracuda entered Friday with a 1-2-0 record against Tucson this season, and the 'Cuda looked to get another game in the win column against their Pacific Division foes. The Roadrunners would strike first on Friday, 31 seconds into a powerplay on a shot by Lane Pederson (7). Pederson took advantage of a broken play and a loose puck spun a backhander past Josef Korenar from the top of the creaseto give Tucson a 1-0 lead. The Barracuda would answer right back only 59 seconds later with a goal of their own to even the score at one. Dylan Gambrell (7)took advantage of a Roadrunners turnover, deked around the Tucson netminder Hunter Miska and utilized a backhand-forehand maneuver to even the score with 7:31 remaining in the 1st period. The first 'Cuda goal unleashed hundreds of teddy bears onto the ice, as the fans in attendance helped the Barracuda celebrate their 4th annual Teddy Bear Toss at SAP Center.
Only twelve seconds into the second period, Tucson would light the lamp and retake the lead. Hudson Fasching (9) took a pass behind the net from TylerSteenbergen and buried a wraparound attempt top shelf to give the Roadrunners a 2-1 lead. The Roadrunners would double their lead with 14:27 left in the second when a bouncing puck resulted in a quick, one-time snapshot by Jordan Gross(2). Gross gained possession of the puck in the slot and quickly fired it low-glove side to beat Korenar and give the Roadrunners a 3-1 lead. The Barracuda would come back with their second goal of the night on a ludicrous sequence. 'Cuda netminder Josef Korenar was caught out of his net after attempting to play a puck and the Roadrunners almost scored their 4th goal of the night. After the impressive save by Korenar, Jonathan Martin (3) rushed down the ice and jammed the puck into the net short-side to cut the deficit to one with 5:54 remaining in the 2nd period.
The third period started with the Barracuda chasing a 3-2 Roadrunner lead but Keaton Middleton (3) erased that deficit with 13:20 remaining in the 3rd. Middleton capitalized on chaos in front of the Roadrunners net when he gained control of a puck in between the faceoff dots and shot it past a sliding Miska to tie the game at three. Middleton's goal proved to be the lone score in the 3rd, as the Roadrunners and Barracuda entered overtime knotted at three. Only 1:48 into overtime, San Jose would light the lamp and take their first and only lead of the night. Alexander True took the puck near center ice for the 'Cuda and sent the puck across to Francis Perron (12) who notched his team-leading twelfth goal on the year. Perron deked a pass back to True and rocketed a wrister short-side that ricocheted off of Miska and into the net.
The Barracuda were down 3-1 with 14:27 remaining in the second period but rallied to score three straight goals to get a huge win against the Roadrunners. With this win, the Barracuda extended their Pacific Division lead to four points over Tucson with one more game left against the Roadrunners on Saturday evening at SAP Center. Saturday is the second of a doubleheader as the Sharks welcome in the LA Kings at 1 PM before the Barracuda battle the Roadrunners. Sunday is Cuda Christmas as the first 4,000 fans will receive a John McCarthy/Joe Thornton bobblehead.