San Jose, CA - The San Jose Barracuda (27-25-4-3) fell to the Ontario Reign (33-18-5-1) in a high-scoring, 7-3 contest, in front of 5,962 Barracuda faithful in attendance at SAP Center Saturday for a special ‘90s Nickelodeon Night and the eighth and final regular season matchup between the teams this season.
The Reign opened up the scoring early in the fast-paced first with a power play goal from forward Michael Mersch (20) to make it 1-0 at the 2:43 mark. Just under ten minutes later, the Reign would add to their lead when San Jose’s Antoine Bibeau saved an initial shot by Phillipe Maillet but lost control of the puck, allowing Ontario’s Kyle Bauman (1) to tip it up and over the Barracuda netminder’s right shoulder and in to make it 2-0. The Barracuda would answer a minute and 24 seconds later though with a tip-in from Brandon Mashinter (10), who collected the puck near the right post on a tipped shot from Radim Simek and tucked it behind Cal Petersen to put the ‘Cuda on the board. Then the Reign tallied another after Mersch worked his way down and around the right wing and set up teammate Matt Moulson (12) with a pretty spinning pass in front of the San Jose goal to make it 3-1 through the first twenty minutes.
San Jose would score first in the second to bring the deficit to just one when Emerson Clark (8) raced past the Ontario defense on the right wing and pushed a backhander past Petersen just 3:06 into the frame, bringing the score to 3-2. But once again, the Reign would match the effort, scoring with the man advantage for the second time on the night, this time from Maillet (17) at the 8:23 mark to stretch the lead back to two goals. Five minutes later, Sam Herr delivered a perfect centering pass from the right corner to Justin Auger (10), who collected it near the goal and worked his way around Bibeau, ending the netminder’s night with five goals allowed through just over 33 and a half minutes of play. Maillet would get involved again when he skated behind the Barracuda goal and found an uncovered Sean Walker (6), who powered a one-timer over the right shoulder of Stephon Williams to give Reign a commanding 6-2 advantage at the 15:02 mark. San Jose would capitalize on the man advantage for the first time on the night when Rudolfs Balcers (18) finished a rebound off a deep shot attempt from Alex True to make it 6-3 with just over three minutes remaining in the period.
Both defenses stiffened in the third, holding the opposition scoreless up until the 18:47 mark when Austin Wagner (9) fired a shot under the leg of Williams to secure the 7-3 win for Ontario.
Bibeau (19-13-3) took the loss, allowing five goals on 15 shots, with Williams also giving up two on ten shots. On the other end, Petersen (16-10-4) earned the victory, making 33 saves on 36 shots.
The Barracuda faceoff with the Tucson Roadrunners at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon at SAP Center in the second of a two-game weekend homestand. Tickets start at just $10 and are available for purchase at SJBarracuda.com. Or listen live on AM 1220 KDOW or on the all-new Sharks + SAP Center App.