On a night when the San Jose Barracuda were outshot 43-17, Barracuda goaltender Aaron Dell single-handedly kept the Barracuda in the game by making 36-saves on 39 shots faced in 53-minutes of playing time in the Barracuda's 3-1 Game Three loss to the Ontario Reign (AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings) at the Citizens Business Bank Arena Thursday night.
The Barracuda, whom must win Friday night's Game Four to avoid elimination, only managed 11 shots on goal in the 53-minutes Dell played before he was relieved by backup goaltender Troy Grosenick, and had their lone goal scored by forward Nikolay Goldobin at 13:28 of the third period.
In the first period, Dell stopped 13 of the Reign's 14 shots on goal, including a penalty shot attempt by Reign forward Nic Dowd at 14:36, while the Barracuda only manged four shots on goal. Reign forward Adrian Kempe scored the game's first goal at 7:12 when he deflected in linemate Michael Mersch's shot from on top of the right circle for his first goal of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Dell's outstanding play continued into the second period as he stopped 15 of the Reign's 16 shot attempts while the Barracuda again managed only four shots on goal. Just 1:17 into the period, Barracuda forward Trevor Parkes was assessed an eye raising five minute major and game misconduct for a questionable boarding call on Reign forward Sean Backman. On the ensuing Reign power play opportunity, Dowd, who in the first period was assessed only two minutes after taking several strides before drilling Barracuda defenseman Gus Young from behind in the right corner of the Barracuda zone, scored his first goal of the playoffs, which held up as the game winner, at 2:34 to extend the lead to 2-0.
Kempe scored his second goal of the game (and of the playoffs) at 11:27 of the third period to seal a Reign victory and 2-1 series lead.
NOTES... The Barracuda went 0-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill... Dell is now 1-2 with a 2.44 goals-against-average and .938 save percentage... Grosenick stopped all four shot attempts he faced in 3:55 of relief playing time... Barracuda forward and captain Bryan Lerg had a team high three shots on goal while forwards Ryan Carpenter and Barclay Goodrow combined for zero shots on goal... Goldobin extended his goal (and point) streak to two games (2-0-2)... Prior to the game, the San Jose Sharks reassigned forward Rourke Chartier of the WHL Kelowna Rockets to the Barracuda and did not dress due to traveling... The San Jose Barracuda signed forward Kevin Labanc to an ATO prior to the game but did not dress... Puck drop for Game Four is scheduled for 7:00 p.m/pt.
1. Adrian Kempe - Reign (2-0-2, GWG)
2. Peter Budaj - Reign (16 saves, win)
3. Nic Dowd - Reign (1-0-1)
Goodrow / Timmins / Carpenter
Lerg (C) / McCarthy (A) / Parkes
Morin / Langlois / Goldobin
Boudreau / Jevpalovs / Martin
Young / Ryan
Stollery (A) / Bergman
Mueller / McNally