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San Diego, CA - The San Jose Barracuda (33-20-3-4) entered Wednesday's matchup against the San Diego Gulls (33-21-4-3) (Anaheim Ducks) having lost their last five road games and hadn't won within the Pechanga Arena since January of 2018, but an early start proved to be the key as San Jose picked up a 3-2 win after a late strike by Alex True (23).
With the win, the Barracuda are now tied with the Gulls for the second spot in the Pacific Division at 73 points and have a game in hand. The two teams will play two more times in the next 13 days to wrap up the 10-game season series.
In the first, San Jose opened up the scoring as Jeffrey Viel applied a huge body-check along the right wing, just inside the San Diego zone, and Dylan Gambrell(18) scooped up the loose puck before snapping in a shot at 6:30. The Barracuda would add to their lead at 13:44 when Francis Perron handed a pass off to Nick DeSimone (12) in the high-slot and DeSimone whipped a low-shot under Kevin Boyle's right pad. The Gulls would get one back with three seconds left in the frame as Sam Carrick won an offensive-zone draw to Chase De Leo who guided it along to Ben Street (5) before the veteran snapped it home to cut the lead to 2-1 from along the right wing.
Despite outshooting the Gulls 15-to-five in the second, Adam Cracknell (16) managed to work around the net and beat Antoine Bibeau from below the left circle at 14:15 to draw even at 2-2.
In the third, and after killing off a minute and 18 seconds of five-on-three power play time, True pulled a rebound off Boyle's pad and potted his team-leading 23rd goal on the power-play at 15:16. Bibeau would stop all 13 Gulls third-period shots and the Barracuda would hold on for the win.
Bibeau (13-12-5) made 23 saves in the win on 25 shots, while Boyle (22-10-1) took his first loss against San Jose in five games this season after giving up three goals on 26 shots.
The Barracuda return home on Friday for one game as they take on the Ontario Reign (LA Kings) at 7 p.m. before traveling to Bakersfield on Saturday. Listen to Barracuda hockey live on AM 1220 KDOW, Sharks + SAP Center App and watch at watchtheahl.com.