STOCKTON, CA - The San Jose Barracuda (1-0) erased a two-goal second-period deficit and rolled to an opening night victory, 6-4, over the Stockton Heat (1-1) on Saturday night at Stockton Arena.
An emphasized crack down on slashing penalties this season put San Jose on the power play just 32 seconds into the first period. Despite looking like a well-oiled machine on the man-advantage, the Barracuda failed to score on Jon Gillies, and back at full-strength, Andrew Mangiapane (2) blasted a slap shot past Troy Grosenick from the left wing on a three-on-two at 7:46 to break the deadlock. At 17:35, the AHL's Rookie of the Year from a season ago Danny O'Regan (1) evened the score on a backdoor tap-in after a perfect cross-ice feed from Filip Sandberg. 20 seconds later, Garnet Hathaway (2) recaptured Stockton's lead as he beat Grosenick with a backhand-to-forehand move on the breakaway.
In the second, the Heat extended its lead to 3-1 a minute and 59 seconds into the period as Mangiapane collected his third point of the evening by setting up Mark Jankowski (3) on the power play. After that point, San Jose weathered four more Stockton power plays and O'Regan (2) jammed home his second of the game to get the Barracuda back within one at 11:24. Rudolfs Balcers (1) cashed in on a loose puck atop the crease at 13:15 for his first pro goal, tying the game on the power play after Gillies had initially denied O'Regan's close-range hat-trick bid.
In the third, tied at 3-3, San Jose took its first lead of the night when Stockton failed to clear the puck from their own end, and Adam Helewka found Marcus Sorensen (1) in the low slot at 6:07. At 5:43, Joe Cramarossa (1) tied the score on a point-shot rebound, but Manuel Wiederer (1) gave San Jose the lead back on the penalty kill as he picked off a pass and beat Gillies through the five-hole on a breakaway at 13:36. Helewka sealed the win with an empty-netter at 18:52.
Grosenick (1-0) earned the victory by making 23 saves on 27 shots, while Gillies (1-1) took the loss after allowing five goals on 26 shots.
The Barracuda return home on Oct. 13 against defending Calder Cup Champion Grand Rapids Griffins, which will feature $1 hot dogs, and $2 beers, along with a banner-raising ceremony before puck drop. Tickets start at just $10 and can be purchased at SJBarracuda.com/tickets.