SAN JOSE, CA - The San Jose Barracuda (8-8-0-1) found a way to win in the first of eight total match-ups against the San Diego Gulls (7-10-0-1) this season, finishing with a 5-3 victory on Sunday night at SAP Center for the inaugural Pucks & Paws night, in which a season-high 6,998 Barracuda faithful were joined by some 700 of their canine companions to enjoy the action.
Following nearly twelve minutes of scoreless play to start the opening period, the Barracuda took a 1-0 lead with the lone goal through the first 20 minutes coming from Jon McCarthy (3) off a cross-ice feed from Marcus Sorenson and a set-up pass from Rudolf Balcers.
Barracuda netminder Troy Grosenick (3-4-1), who made 5 saves on 5 shots in the opening frame, was replaced by Antoine Bibeau (4-3) to start the second and the Gulls took advantage of the change, scoring three times in the first five minutes. First, Julius Nattinen (4) buried a shot just 50 seconds into the period to even the score at 1-1. Then Austin Ortega (2) and Giovanni Fiore (4) added scores of their own at the 3:47 and 4:11 marks, respectively, to give San Diego a sudden 3-1 lead that they would hold through the remainder of the period.
San Jose found their offensive edge in the third period with four total goals, starting with scores from Balcers (2) and Adam Helewka (2) just 50 seconds apart, snapping 15-game goalless droughts for both players. Helewka (3) added his second of the night at the 10:38 mark off assists from Jon Martin and Cavan Fitzgerald, before Olivier Archambault (2) put the nail in the coffin with an unassisted goal at the 12:25 mark to the bring the final score to 5-3.
Bibeau (4-3) earned the victory on the night with 14 saves on 17 shots while San Diego netminder Reto Berra (1-2) took the loss making 34 saves on 39 shots.
The Barracuda will rest for the week before starting action in the month of December with another one-game road trip south, this time for a match-up with the Bakersfield Condors on Sunday Dec. 3. San Jose will then return home to SAP Center to face the Stockton Heat for the third time this season on Wed Dec. 6, at 5 p.m. Tickets start at just $10 and are available for purchase at SJBarracuda.com/tickets.