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Barracuda lose for eighth time in last nine games

San Jose Barracuda forward John McCarthy screens Ontario Reign goaltender Peter Budaj on linemate Ben Smith's power play goal Saturday night at the Citizens Business Bank Arena. (SJBarracuda.com via Dinur Blum)
San Jose Barracuda forward John McCarthy screens Ontario Reign goaltender Peter Budaj on linemate Ben Smith's power play goal Saturday night at the Citizens Business Bank Arena. (SJBarracuda.com via Dinur Blum)

Despite jumping out to an early two goal lead inside the opening five minutes of the game, several mental lapses by the San Jose Barracuda in the second period led to three goals against (two of which came 16-seconds apart) in their 3-2 loss to the Ontario Reign (AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings) at the Citizens Business Bank Arena Saturday night.

The Barracuda, who lost for the eighth time in their last nine games and went win-less in six games this season in Ontario (0-4-2), got first period goals from forwards Ryan Carpenter and Ben Smith while goaltender Troy Grosenick made 21-saves in net.

Carpenter put the Barracuda ahead 1-0 at 3:13 of the first period when he beat Reign goaltender Peter Budaj top shelf with a rebound shot from deep in the left slot for his 10th goal of the season after Budaj had made the initial save on a shot from the center point by Carpenter's linemate Petter Emanuelsson.

Smith extended the lead to 2-0 just 49-seconds later with a power play goal, his second goal of the season, off a slap shot from inside the top of the left face-off circle that beat a screened Budaj. Barracuda forwards Nikolay Goldobin and Bryan Lerg were credited with the assists.

After being outplayed in the first period, the Reign cut the Barracuda lead in half just 42-seconds into the second period when forward Michael Mersch beat Grosenick with a snap shot from deep in the left face-off circle after Barracuda defenseman Julius Bergman fell down on the Reign's three-on-three entry into the Barracuda zone.

In the blink of an eye inside the final four minutes of the period, the Reign scored two times in a 16-second span to take a 3-2 lead. Reign forward Jonny Brodzinski tied the game at 16:26 with his sixth goal of the season off a one-timer from inside the left circle to finish off a three-on-two Reign rush.

At 16:32, the Reign went ahead 3-2 when forward Justin Auger shuffled home a rebound through traffic and past a sprawled out Grosenick, who had lost his goalie stick on the play, for his ninth goal of the season, which held up as the game-winner and was set-up by a Barracuda own zone turnover.

In the third period, the Barracuda out-shot the Reign 10-8 but Budaj turned all their shots aside to pick up his AHL leading 26th win of the season.

NOTES... Shots on goal were 28-24 in favor of the Barracuda... The Barracuda went 1-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill... Grosenick is now 10-7-3 with a 2.96 goals-against-average and .903 save percentage... Emanuelsson had a game high six shots on goal... Barracuda forward Raffi Torres had a scheduled maintenance day... The Barracuda are now 19-16-8 with 46 points overall... The Barracuda are back in action Feb. 10 when they host the Reign at the SAP Center with puck drop scheduled for 7:30 p.m/pt.

THREE STARS
1. Justin Auger - Reign (1-0-1, GWG)
2. Jonny Brodzinski - Reign (1-0-1)
3. Michael Mersch - Reign (1-0-1)

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

DEFENSE
Stollery / Bergman
Young / Mueller
McNally / Pinkston

GOALIES
Grosenick
Dell

SCRATCHES
Doremus
Torres
Cundari (inj)
Gallant (inj)
McLaren (inj)
Ryan (inj)