SAN JOSE, CA - The San Jose Barracuda (9-10-0-1) fell to the Tucson Roadrunners (12-4-2-1) in heartbreaking fashion at SAP Center on Friday night, giving up two goals in the final two minutes to go down 3-1.
The first period saw a number of near goals, but remained scoreless all the way up to the 18:08 mark when Tucson forward Michael Bunting (5) raced past the San Jose defense, baiting Barracuda netminder Antoine Bibeau out of his net, and ultimately slid a shot past the fully outstretched goalie to give the Roadrunners a 1-0 lead that they would hold through the end of the first twenty minutes of play.
San Jose took advantage of their first power play opportunity early in the second period, as Rudolfs Balcers (3) put away an unassisted goal with a beautiful forehand-backhand move after Tucson couldn’t to clear the puck out of their own end, evening the score at 1-1. Despite four additional chances with the man advantage, the Barracuda failed to score through the end of the period, and the score remained locked at a goal apiece entering the third period.
Following over 18 minutes of scoreless play in the final period, the Tucson offense suddenly got in gear, scoring twice in just over 30 seconds. First, Mike Sislo (7) banged in a rebound goal off assists from Ryan MacInnis and Ty McGinn with 1:34 remaining. Then, Bunting (6) scored his second on the night at the 18:57 mark to bring the final score to 3-1 for the Roadrunners.
Tucson netminder Hunter Miska (7-1-0) earned the victory making 33 saves on 34 shots, while San Jose’s Bibeau (6-4-0) took the loss, making 25 saves on 28 shots.
The Barracuda hit the road for consecutive match-ups with the Roadrunners in Tucson next week and will return to SAP Center for a two-game weekend home stand against the Bakersfield Condors on Saturday and Sunday. Puck-drop for Saturday’s contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. with tickets starting at just $10, available for purchase at SJBarracuda.com/tickets.