A goal in overtime by Danil Gushchin gave the San Jose Barracuda (19-25-0-4) a 4-3 decision over the Ontario Reign (26-17-2-1) on Wednesday night at Tech CU Arena. Samuel Helenius had the first multi-point game of his AHL career for Ontario in the loss with a goal and an assist, while Cal Petersen stopped 37 shots to keep the Reign in the contest.
Jacob Moverare and Lias Andersson also found the back of the net, while Nikita Pavlychev and Andre Lee each registered their first assists of the season. All three matchups during Ontario’s three-game road trip needed extra time to find a winner, with the Reign securing five out of a possible six points.
More from head coach Marco Sturm below.
In addition to all three games needing overtime, the Ontario also fell behind during the first period in each. On Wednesday, San Jose put 20 shots on goal against Petersen in the first 20 minutes and claimed a 2-0 lead prior to the first intermission. Gushchin put the home team ahead at 12:58, before Kyle Criscuolo doubled the lead with a power play goal at 14:13.
Ontario responded in the second, however, and began to turn the game around when Moverare scored on an impressive individual effort. After blocking a shot in his own zone, the defender joined a rush into the offensive end and used a wrist shot to beat goaltender Strauss Mann that got the Reign on the board and made it a 2-1 game. Moverare’s third of the season had assists to Helenius and Nikita Pavlychev and came at 7:06 of the period.
At that point, Helenius was just getting started. After Ontario successfully killed a penalty to Tobias Bjornfot for hooking, the rookie forward took a pass from linemate Andre Lee and wristed home his first goal of the 2022-23 season to even the game 2-2 at 10:48. Tobie Bisson also earned a secondary assist on the play, which was the second goal of Helenius’ AHL career and his first strike in nearly 50 games since the first of his career in April of 2022.
Andersson gave Ontario its only lead of the contest with his team-high 21st goal of the season at 7:31 of the third period with a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Mann under the glove. The rush into the zone was started by Bjornfot and TJ Tynan, who both received assists on the strike.
But San Jose’s CJ Suess tied the game back up at 3-3 with a point blank one-timer at 12:24 of the third that eventually forced the overtime.
Both teams had opportunities in the extra session, but Gushchin eventually earned his second tally of the game on his third consecutive shot toward the net. After his first attempt was saved and second rang off the right post, Gushchin got the puck back to the slot and scored the game-winner on a backhand attempt at 2:52 of OT.
In part due to the lopsided totals from the first period, San Jose ended up holding a 41-26 shots on goal advantage in the game with Mann turning out 23 of Ontario’s looks. The Barracuda netted the lone power play goal in the contest, going 1-for-4 on the man-advantage while the Reign ended at 0-for-3.
On if he was disappointed with the way the team played overall in the game
Yeah, definitely. I mean that was a tough first period and then I think the middle stretch was a little bit better. We got the lead. I think we had everything under control and then all of a sudden, we’re sitting back again and tried to just hold on to the last second and it just doesn’t work that way. We stopped playing and they came at us and we still had opportunities today to win but overall, we didn’t deserve the two points today.
On the play of Moverare, and the effort he gave to score his goal
It’s not the first time, he’s done that a bunch of times already and he gets rewarded. That’s the nice part about it. He’s been excellent. He’s been one of or maybe the most consistent player on our team and he does a he does a good job every night.
On Helenius, who scored his first goal and spent a lot of time in the SJ end
Yeah, he was close all season. But no, I think we were all happy that he finally found the back of the net. Him and his whole line really spent most of their shifts in the o-zone and they got us some really really good minutes out of it and they scored two big goals so good for them for being a big part to our game today.
The Reign return home to Ontario on Friday night for a matchup with the Coachella Valley Firebirds. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Toyota Arena.