San Jose, Ca - The San Jose Barracuda (11-3-1-2) hosted 'Cuda Classroom Day on Tuesday morning, as they welcomed thousands of school-children from throughout Santa Clara County and the Stockton Heat (10-10-1-0) (Calgary Flames) into SAP center for an 11:00 AM puck drop. The Barracuda entered the morning matchup 3-1-0-0 against the Heat this year, in this, the fifth game of twelve between the two Pacific Division rivals. The Barracuda overcame a two-goal deficit with four unanswered goals to earn points in their fourth straight game.
On their trip to Colorado, the Barracuda got two points even though they were unable to get in the win column. Only 46 seconds into the game on Tuesday, the Heat would open up the scoring. Dalton Prout fired a slapshot from the blueline, Alan Quine (6) would take advantage of the ensuing rebound in the low slot and bury it over the blocker of San Jose netminder Josef Korenar. The remainder of the first period included several penalties and ended with the Heat nursing the same 1-0 lead.
The second period continued to see the Heat outshoot the 'Cuda, but this period proved more momentous than the period prior. The Heat would again strike early in the second, this goal at the 2:35 mark of the second and on the powerplay. Only nine seconds into the man-advantage, the Heat capitalized on a tic-tac-toe that ended up on the stick of Kerby Rychel (10) from Glenn Gawdin and Curtis Lazaz. However, San Jose would answer back 22 seconds later with a goal when Francis Perron stole a pass in between the faceoff circles in the offensive zone and dropped it to Jon Martin (9), who beat his man to a shooting position and rocketed it past the blocker of goaltender Jon Gillies. Less than five minutes after cutting the lead in half, the Barracuda would score again to erase the one-goal advantage for the Heat. Jacob Middleton (2) took a shot from the point that found its way through traffic and through the pads of Gillies to tie the game at 2-2 with 14:16 remaining in the middle frame. The Barracuda were not done as they would take the lead for the first time with 8:53 remaining in the second. Nick DeSimone (4) took a pass from Rourke Chartier and bombed a clapper from the center of the blueline that snuck past the left pad of Gilles to give San Jose a 3-2 lead. The 'Cuda used those three consecutive goals to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 advantage. And 3-2 is how it would stay as both teams entered the third period.
Josef Korenar was the unsung hero of the night for San Jose keeping the 'Cuda in the game in the first two periods saving 25/27 shots that he faced. The Barracuda seemed content with the 3-2 advantage as the third period wore on. San Jose played a more defensive style of hockey and tried to sit on the advantage created in the second. The Barracuda would light the lamp once more, this time an empty-netter from Keaton Middleton (2) which was tallied with only sixteen seconds left in the game. Making 4-2 the final score from SAP center.
With this victory the Barracuda improve to (11-3-1-2) and retake the top spot in the AHL's Pacific Division. Next up for the Barracuda is another matchup with the Heat. The two teams will meet again this Saturday, December 1st at Stockton Arena. The Heat ended up leading on the shot clock 32-19, but Josef Korenar mitigated the pressure and delivered the win for the San Jose Barracuda.