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San Jose, CA - The San Jose Barracuda (37-21-3-4) wrapped up their 2018-19 home schedule on Saturday against the Grand Rapids Griffins (38-24-7-4) (Detroit Red Wings) at SAP center with a 5-4 overtime victory. With the win, the Barracuda move a point away from clinching a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
San Jose found the back of the net at 10:56 of the first period when Ivan Chekhovich drove the puck down the left wing and deep into Griffin territory before sending a pass to Dylan Gambrell (19) who redirected the puck from the low slot into the top corner to give the Barracuda a 1-0 lead. However, the Griffins would answer on the power-play at 18:04 by virtue of a Colin Campbell pass from behind the net to the tape of Axel Holstrom (12) who buried it from point blank range in the low slot, besting Antoine Bibeau and knotting the score at 1-1.
The Griffs scored their second power-play goal of the afternoon and took their first lead as Carter Camper crossed a pass to Chris Terry (29) along the right side and Terry ripped the puck into the open-net at 5:38. Grand Rapids continued their special teams showcase as Campbell took off on a shorthanded breakaway and rung a shot off the right post and as Barracuda defensemen Nick DeSimone was rushing on the backcheck he inadvertently gloved the puck into his own net. Campbell (8) was credited with the own-goal to give the Griffins a 3-1 lead at 12:54. Just over a minute after the own-goal, the Barracuda would recover from the mistake on the power-play when Kyle Wood unloaded a screaming slap-shot from the left blueline that was padded away by Pat Nagle, allowing Jayden Halbgewachs (13) to walk around Nagle and swipe it home to bring the score back to 3-2 with 6:10 remaining.
San Jose would tie things up early in the third after Gambrell took a pass from Chekhovich and drove laterally across the offensive zone before throwing a no-look backhand to an uncovered T.J. Hensick (6) who was parked on the back post and tapped it in. Grand Rapids went back up 4-3 at 5:17 off of a high-slot wrister fromLibor Sulak (5) who beat Bibeau high to the glove side on a delayed penalty. San Jose came roaring back with just under 12 minutes remaining, when Halbgewachs fed a pass from behind the goal to Vladislav Kotkov (1) and Kotkov stuffed in his first career American Hockey League goal in his pro debut. Tied at 4-4, neither team could break through in the remainder of the period and the game would need extra time.
In overtime, Antti Suomela came out with the puck in his own end, rushed up ice, and threaded a pass to Lukas Radil (4) who fired in the OT winner from the right flank at 2:39.
Bibeau (15-13-5) earned the win for San Jose by stopping 25 of the 29 shots he faced, while Nagle (0-1-0) suffered the loss after surrendering five goals on 25 shots.
The Barracuda can clinch a playoff spot as early as tonight if Colorado is to lose at Chicago.
San Jose will hit the road for their three final games of the season, as they will be traveling to San Diego on Wednesday, and then Colorado for a two-game set on Friday and Saturday. Wednesday's contest will begin at 7PM, and can be heard live on 1220 KDOW, the Sharks + SAP Center App and watched on watchtheahl.com.