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Lerg and Dell lead Barracuda to win to close out 2015

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San Jose Barracuda captain Bryan Lerg scores the game winning goal in the shootout Wednesday afternoon at the SAP Center. (Instagram.com/SJBarracuda)
San Jose Barracuda captain Bryan Lerg scores the game winning goal in the shootout Wednesday afternoon at the SAP Center. (Instagram.com/SJBarracuda)

Making his second consecutive start, San Jose Barracuda goaltender Aaron Dell made 31-saves and stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout while captain Bryan Lerg scored the winning goal in the bottom of the third round to lead the Barracuda to a 3-2 win over the Charlotte Checkers (AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes) at the SAP Center on Wednesday afternoon.

The Barracuda, who finished the month of December 5-2-2, also got regulation goals from forwards Micheal Haley, who was an assist shy of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick, and Ryan Carpenter.

In a first period that saw a spirited fight between Barracuda forward Alex Gallant and Checkers forward Kyle Hagel, the Checkers took a 1-0 lead at 16:18 when forward Sergey Tolchinsky got behind the Barracuda defense for a breakaway opportunity and beat Dell for his third goal of the season. Haley pulled the Barracuda even with a rebound score off of defenseman Julius Bergman's shot from the right point at 19:48 for his seventh goal of the season and second goal in as many games.

Carpenter gave the Barracuda a 2-1 lead at 4:59 of the third period when he swept the puck in the net from on his knee while inside the crease off a mad scramble in front. Barracuda forward Petter Emanuelsson and defenseman Joakim Ryan had the assists on the goal, which was Carpenter's third of the season.

The Checkers tied the game at 14:35 when on their fifth power play opportunity, defenseman Jake Chelios, son of hall of fame defenseman Chris Chelios, pinched in and buried home an across the crease one-timer from the bottom edge of the right face-off circle for his fourth goal of the season.

In overtime, the Barracuda had three power play play opportunities, two of which came 51-seconds apart for a minute plus of 5-on-3 power play time but the Barracuda couldn't capitalize. With the shootout scoreless in the bottom of the third round, Lerg skated in and lifted a backhanded shot past up-and-over Checkers goaltender Daniel Altshuller for the game-winning-goal.

NOTES... Shots on goal were 35-33 in favor of the Barracuda... The Barracuda went 0-for-5 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill... Dell improved to 5-6-2 with a 2.63 goals-against-average and .913 save percentage... Lerg finished tied with a game high five shots on goal... Prior to the game, the San Jose Sharks reassigned defenseman Matt Tennyson to the Barracuda on a conditioning assignment and Tennyson made his season debut for the Barracuda... Haley had a brief fight with Checkers defenseman Mike Cornell at 6:42 of the second period... The Barracuda have allowed a power play goal in 9 of their last 10 games... Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer is seven wins away from tying Fred Bun Cook for the most wins in AHL history (636)... The Barracuda improved to 7-7-1 at SAP Center and 12-10-5 with 29 points overall... The Barracuda are back in action Jan. 2 when they travel to play the Bakersfield Condors with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m/pt.

THREE STARS
1. Ryan Carpenter - Barracuda (1-0-1)
2. Sergey Tolchinsky - Checkers (1-1-2)
3. Aaron Dell - Barracuda (31 saves, Win)

LINES
Goodrow / Carpenter / Emanuelsson
Lerg (C) / McCarthy (A) / Haley (A) 
Goldobin / Langlois / Parkes
Gallant / Jevpalovs / Hanson

DEFENSE
Young / Ryan
Stollery / Tennyson
Mueller / Bergman

GOALIES
Dell
Grosenick

SCRATCHES
McNally
Pinkston
Cundari (Spengler Cup)
Doremus (inj)
McLaren (inj)
Timmins (inj)