Nearly one year ago to date, the then Worcester Sharks were tied 1-1 with the Hershey Bears in Game One of their first round AHL Calder Cup Playoff series when at 17:17 of the third period, forward Jeremy Langlois was assessed a game misconduct and a five minute major for checking Bears defenseman Steve Oleksy from behind that resulted in three Bears power play goals in a 4-1 loss.
Friday night at SAP Center, the script was nearly identical as a miscue between San Jose Barracuda defensemen Karl Stollery and Julius Bergman inside their own zone late in the third period led to what held up as the winning goal in the Barracuda's 2-1 loss to the Ontario Reign (AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings) in Game One of their first round Calder Cup Playoff series.
The Barracuda, who will look to even the series at one game a apiece Saturday night before the series heads down to Ontario, had their lone goal scored by forward Nikita Jevpalovs and got 35 saves in net from goaltender Aaron Dell, who also had the lone assist on Jevpalovs' goal.
After a scoreless first period that saw both Dell and Reign goaltender Peter Budaj make 12-saves a piece, the Reign took a 1-0 lead at 9:53 of the second period when off a faceoff win inside the Barracuda zone by forward Nic Dowd, defenseman Kurtis MacDermid beat Dell with a howitzer of a slap shot from the center point for his first goal of the playoffs.
Jevpalovs tied the game at 6:17 of the third period with a highlight reel goal that saw Jevpalovs skate into the Reign zone down the right wing, pull up on top of the right circle, toe drag the puck back around the Reign defenseman Kevin Raine and fire a wicked snap shot from in the slot that beat Budaj up high for his first goal of the playoffs.
Shortly after killing off the Barracuda's second power play of the period, the Reign took a 2-1 lead at 15:57 when forward Jonny Brodzinski corralled a left corner centering feed from linemate Brett Sutter in the slot, deked around Dell, who came out to challenge, and swept the puck into an open net for held up as the winning goal.
The goal, which was Brodzinski's first of the playoffs, was the result of Sutter intercepting a behind the goal line backhanded pass from Stollery, who thought Bergman was in position near the corner for the puck.
NOTES... Shots on goal were 37-29 in favor of the Reign... The Barracuda went 0-for-4 on the power play (with one shot on goal) and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill... Stollery tied for a game high with five shots on goal... This was the first playoff meeting between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings AHL affiliates since the second round series between Worcester and the Monarchs back in 2010... Prior to the game, the Barracuda signed 2013 San Jose Sharks second round draftee Gabryel Boudreau to an ATO... Game Two is Saturday night at SAP Center with puck drop scheduled for 7:30 p.m/pt.
1. Jonny Brodzinski - Reign (1-0-1, GWG)
2. Peter Budaj - Reign (28 saves, Win)
3. Aaron Dell - Barracuda (35 saves)
*In order of appearance*
Lerg (C) / McCarthy (A) / Parkes
Morin / Langlois / Goldobin
Goodrow / Carpenter / Jevpalovs
McLaren / Timmins / Martin
Young / Ryan
Stollery (A) / Bergman
Mueller / Tennyson