Coming off his first career AHL hat trick Sunday evening, San Jose Barracuda forward Nikolay Goldobin went from being in head coach Roy Sommer's dog house in the third period to overtime hero as he scored the winning goal at 3:09 of the extra session to give the Barracuda a 4-3 come from behind win over the Stockton Heat (AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames) at the SAP Center Wednesday night.
Goldobin, who found himself benched at the start of the third period and didn't take his first shift until the period was half over due to his non shooting of the puck through the first two periods as well as his low percentage pass attempts, trailed on the play and buried home the rebound of linemate Jeremy Langlois' breakaway opportunity that was stopped by Heat goaltender Kevin Poulin for this 10th goal of the season and fourth in his last two games.
Goldobin's overtime heroics were made possible by the Barracuda's strong third period in which the team fired 16 shots on goal after having 17 through 40-minutes of play, and got goals from forwards Chris Tierney and Barclay Goodrow, who scored the game tying power play goal with 34-seconds left in the period.
Between the pipes, goaltender Alex Stalock made 32-saves for his second win in a row (80th career AHL win) and prevented the game from getting out of hand by making multiple key (and tough) saves in the second and third periods to keep the Barracuda within striking distance.
Though the Barracuda skated away with the win, two points and a franchise best four game winning streak,, it was the Heat who struck first when at 4:24 of the first period, forward Morgan Klimchuk found a loose puck on top of the crease and fired the puck into an open net for his second goal of the season as several Barracuda skaters got caught looking at the puck after Stalock had made the initial save on a shot from the left side by Heat forward Kenny Agostino.
The Heat extended their lead to 2-0 at 19:11 when Agostino buried home a one-timer from the right slot after Barracuda defenseman Mirco Mueller got caught in no man's land in trying to defend the Heat's two-on-one rush and kept his back to to Agostino while focusing on Heat forward Drew Shore as he stick handled with the puck at the left side of the crease.
Barracuda forward Trevor Parkes appeared to have cut the Heat in half just 90-seconds into the second period when he split the Heat defense with a nice deke and slid the puck past Poulin but the goal was disallowed upon review as it was ruled Barracuda forward Ryan Carpenter, who went crashing into the net after getting tangled up with Heat defenseman Brett Kulak, knocked the net off its bearings before the puck had crossed the goal line.
The Barracuda officially got on the scoreboard at 12:09 when forward John McCarthy scored his third goal of the season off a snap shot from the top of the right slot that beat Poulin, who was screened in front by McCarthy's linemate Micheal Haley, top shelf. Barracuda forward Bryan Lerg and defenseman Julius Bergman had the assists on the goal, which was McCarthy's third of the season.
Nearly two minutes later at 13:53, the Heat regained their two goal lead as forward Derek Grant banked the puck in off the backside of Stalock with a shot from behind the goal line for his 15th goal of the season.
Looking to spark his team, coach Sommer switched his lines up to start the third period, placing Lerg on the line with Tierney and Goodrow. The result was instantaneous as Tierney beat Poulin through the wickets with a snap shot from the hash mark in the right slot at 2:01. Langlois and Bergman had the assists on the goal, which was Tierney's first of the season.
With the Barracuda still trailing by a goal late in the period, Kulak was assessed a high-sticking minor penalty at 18:10, which gave the Barracuda their fifth power play of the game. After only registering a couple of shots on goal through their first four power play chances, Goodrow capitalized on the fifth power play opportunity by scoring his team leading 13th goal of the season at 19:24 off a shot from the right half wall that deflected in off Heat defenseman Aaron Johnson.
NOTES... Shots on goal were 36-35 in favor of the Barracuda... The Barracuda went 1-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill... Stalock improved to 2-0-0 with a 1.96 goals-against-average and .930 save percentage... Lerg had a team high six shots on goal... Bergman and Langlois had two assists each for the Barracuda... Goldobin only had one shot on goal, which was the overtime game-winning-goal... Barracuda defenseman Matt Tennyson was recalled to the San Jose Sharks earlier in the week while forward Jesse Mychan was released from his PTO... The Barracuda improved to 9-7-1 at SAP Center and 15-10-5 with 35 points overall... The Barracuda are back in action Jan. 9 as they host the San Antonio Rampage on Evgeni Nabokov bobblehead night with puck drop scheduled for 8:30 p.m/pt.
1. Nikolay Goldobin - Barracuda (1-0-1, OT GWG)
2. Barclay Goodrow - Barracuda (1-0-1)
3. Kenny Agostino - Heat (1-1-2)
*In order of appearance*
Lerg (C) / McCarthy (A) / Haley (A)
Langlois / Tierney / Goldobin
Goodrow / Carpenter / Parkes
Gallant / Jevpalovs / Hanson
*In order of appearance*
Stollery / Bergman
Young / Ryan
Mueller / Cundari