A seemingly harmless missed pass that banked off the side boards found its way in the back of the San Jose Barracuda net for what held up as the game-winning-goal.
With the score tied 2-2 and under five minutes to go in the third period at Stockton Arena, Stockton Heat (AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames) defenseman Oliver Kylington sent a pass up ice from the left side of his own zone that missed Heat forward Ryan Lomberg near the neutral zone and bounced off the side boards. As the puck trickled its way into the Barracuda zone, Barracuda defenseman Tim Heed couldn't cut the puck off. The result? Lomberg caught up to Heed and chipped the puck up-and-over Barracuda goaltender Troy Grosenick from on top of the crease for the go-ahead (and winning) goal at 15:25 of the third period.
The Barracuda, who have lost both of their season openers in franchise history, got goals from forwards Daniel O'Regan and Barclay Goodrow while Grosenick finished with 27 saves on 30 shots faced.
O'Regan put the Barracuda ahead 1-0 at 10:17 of the first period when he used his speed to break out of his own zone after blocking a shot and beat Heat goaltender John Gillies through the wickets on a breakaway for his first professional goal in his first professional game.
In the second period, the Heat scored two times in a 3:15 span, both off of Barracuda own zone turnovers, to take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission. Heat forward Matt Frattin tied the game at 9:45 when he intercepted an up ice pass attempt by Barracuda forward Nikoaly Goldobin that missed linemate Rourke Chartier and fired a wicked snap shot from the top of the left slot for his first goal of the season.
The Heat went ahead 2-1 at 13:00 when forward Hunter Shinkaruk beat Grosenick from point blank range for his first goal of the season after Barracuda defenseman Mirco Mueller turned the puck over on top of the left circle of his own zone when attempting to skate out of the left corner with the puck.
Goodrow tied the game with his first goal of the season at 10:55 of the third period off a one-timer from on top of the left circle following a face-off win in the Heat zone by Barracuda captain John McCarthy. Barracuda defenseman Joakim Ryan and forward Colin Blackwell picked up the assists on the goal.
NOTES... Shots on goal were 33-30 in favor of the Heat... The Barracuda went 0-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill... Grosenick is 0-1-0 with a 3.23 goals-against-average and .900 save percentage... Grosenick was replaced by Mantis Armalsi for two-and-a-half minutes during the third period period due to a skate issue and Armalis stopped all three shots he faced... Barracuda forwards Kevin Lebanc and Marcus Sorensen each had a team high four shots on goal... Barracuda forward Alex Gallant did not return to the game after appearing woozy from a hit in the first period... Barracuda defenseman Dan Kelly is still serving his 10-game suspension from last year's Calder Cup Playoffs when he was a member of the Albany Devils... The Barracuda are 0-1-0 on the road and 0-1-0 overall... The Barracuda are back in action Oct. 22 when they travel to play the Ontario Reign with face-off scheduled for 6 p.m/pt.
1. Ryan Lomberg - Heat (1-0-1, GWG)
2. Brandon Bollig - Heat (2 shots on goal)
3. Daniel O'Regan - Barracuda (1-0-1)
*In order of appearance*
Goodrow / Blackwell / McCarthy (C)
Goldobin / Lebanc / Chartier
Sorensen / O'Regan / Schoenborn
Gallant (A) / Marchment / Jevpalovs
*In order of appearance*
Mueller / Bergman
Ryan / Heed
McNally (A) / Ruopp