Despite falling 4-3 in overtime to the San Antonio Rampage (AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche) at the AT&T Center Wednesday night, the San Jose Barracuda inched closer to the final playoff spot of the AHL Western Conference as the Charlotte Checkers suffered a regulation loss to the Rockford IceHogs.
Both the Barracuda (.539%) and the Checkers (.556%) have four games remaining in their respective seasons. The Barracuda will be on the road this weekend for a two game set against the Texas Stars while the Checkers will host the Central Division leading Milwaukee Admirals for a two-game set.
Wednesday's night game saw the Barracuda jump out to a 2-0 lead inside the first 13-minutes of the game. Barracuda captain Bryan Lerg, who had a two goal game, scored the game's first goal just 15-seconds into the contest when he buried home a right side centering feed from on top of the crease for his 19th goal of the season, which was assisted by linemate Jeremy Morin and John McCarthy.
Barracuda forward Petter Emanuelsson made it 2-0 at 12:36 with his 11th goal of the season that saw Emanuelsson skate out from behind the net with the puck and stuff the puck through the wickets of Rampage goaltender Reto Berra. Emanuelsson's linemates Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Carpenter were credited with the assists.
In the second period, the Rampage out-shot the Barracuda 13-6 and cut the Barracuda lead in half at 13:40 when forward Borna Rendulic deflected in linemate Mikko Rantanen's snap shot from the top of the slot for a power play goal, his 15th goal of the season.
The Rampage took a 3-2 lead with two goals inside the opening six minutes of the third period. Rampage forward Ben Street flipped a rebound over the extended pad of Dell for his fifth goal of the season at 0:57 after Dell had made the initial save on Rendulic's power move to the net. At 5:37, Rampage defenseman Brandon Gormley found a lose puck inside the crease on the left side and quickly shuffled the puck into the net before anyone could react for his third goal of the season.
Nearly seven minutes following Gormley's goal, the Barracuda went on their fifth power play of the game and Lerg tied the game with his second goal of the night, 20th of the season, with a rebound score from on top of the crease. McCarthy and Barracuda forward Nikolay Goldobin picked up the assists.
In overtime, Rampage forward Garry Nunn won the game at 2:11 with a one-timer from inside the left circle off an odd man rush that beat a sliding Dell through the wickets for his fourth goal of the season.
NOTES... Shots on goal were 38-32 in favor of the Rampage... The Barracuda went 1-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill... Dell finished with 34 saves and is now 15-14-6 with a 2.32 goals-against-average and .924 save percentage... Barracuda forward Trevor Parkes picked up his first fighting major of the season with a second period fight against Rampage defenseman Mason Geertsen and finished with a team high six shots on goal... McCarthy (0-2-2) and Lerg (2-0-2) each had multi-point games for the Barracuda... Prior to the game, the Barracuda reassigned forward Alex Schoenborn to the Allen Americans of the ECHL while recalling forward Nikita Jevpalovs from the Americans... Carpenter has a five game point streak (1-5-6)... The Barracuda fell to 0-2-1 on their six game road trip, 12-11-8 on the road and 29-24-11 with 69 points overall... The Barracuda are back in action Friday night (April 8) as they travel to play the Texas Stars with puck drop scheduled for 5:30 p.m./pt.
1. Garry Nunn - Rampage (1-0-1, OT GWG)
2. Ben Street - Rampage (1-1-2)
3. Bryan Lerg - Barracuda (2-0-2)
Lerg (C) / McCarthy (A) / Morin
Goodrow / Carpenter / Emanuelsson
Goldobin / Langlois / Parkes
Jevpalovs / Timmins / Martin
Young / Ryan
Stollery / Bergman
Mueller / McNally