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Tucson, AZ - The San Jose Barracuda (32-20-3-4) entered Sunday night's game at the Tucson Convention Center looking to increase their point lead on the Tucson Roadrunners (30-23-5-2) (Arizona Coyotes) in the Pacific Division, but a defensive battle would go in favor of the home team, 2-1, as San Jose gave up the game-winning goal with nine seconds left in regulation after drawing even just 47 seconds prior.
With the loss, Tucson has inched within four points of San Jose and the Colorado Eagles for the final two playoff spots in the division.
In the first, the Roadrunners outshout the Barracuda 14-to-11, thanks in part to a pair of power-play opportunities, but the game remained scoreless.
In the second, the Roadrunners ended up outshooting San Jose 11-to-nine in a penalty-less frame.
In the third, Tucson gained its momentum, firing 21 shots on Antoine Bibeau and at 6:44 they were rewarded when Michael Chaput (14) snapped a shot off the crossbar and in to draw first blood. At 19:04, and with Bibeau pulled for the extra attacker, Alex True (22) poked in the equalizer as a mad-scramble broke out in front of the Tucson net. With just 56 seconds remaining in regulation, each team looked to end the game in 60 minutes, and after a San Jose odd-man rush failed to generate much of a chance, Chaput threaded a two-on-one pass to Michael Bunting (17) who tipped a shot up-and-over Bibeau with just nine seconds left.
In the loss, Bibeau (12-12-5) made 44 saves on 46 shots, the most against for the Barracuda this season. And Adin Hill (13-12-3) collected the win by making 32 saves on 33 shots.
San Jose will be back in action on Wednesday in San Diego (Anaheim Ducks) for the final game of the three-game road trip. Wednesday's puck drop is set for 7:00 PM and you can listen live on 1220 KDOW, The Sharks + SAP Center App, or watch at watchtheahl.com. The Barracuda return home for one game at 7:00 PM on Friday, March 29th, when they play host to the Ontario Reign (Los Angeles Kings).