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Jonny Brodzinski and Justin Auger scored 16 seconds apart in the second period to lead the Ontario Reign (28-10-3-1) past the San Jose Barracuda (19-16-5-3), 3-2, in front of a sellout crowd of 9,491 on Saturday night at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
With the win, the Reign extend their point streak to a season-high nine games and a now ride a six-game winning streak over the Barracuda.
“I thought we looked a little sluggish on the start,” said Head Coach Mike Stothers. “Credit to the guys. They don’t get discouraged. Down one. Down two. It’s not that big a deal. There’s still 40 minutes left to play. That was the mindset going forward and we got better as the game went on.”
Ontario got off to a rough start in the first period as Ryan Carpenter put San Jose on the board at 3:13, tucking a shot past netminder Peter Budaj on a rebound by Petter Emanuelsson. Less than a minute later on the power play, forward Ben Smith sent a slap shot from the point in on the net and extended the Barracuda lead at 4:04.
The Reign picked up the pace in the middle frame as Michael Mersch scored 42 seconds into the period on a feed from Sean Backman. Mersch’s goal extends his goal streak to four games (five goals) and Backman now leads the Reign with a 35-point total. Kurtis MacDermid picked up the secondary assist.
In the same period, Brodzinski knotted the score at two apiece when he quickly launched Kris Newbury’s pass over netminder Troy Grosenick at 16:26.
Just 16 seconds later, Samuels-Thomas tacked on another assist, helping Auger score alongside Derek Forbort to give Ontario their first lead of the night.
The Reign held on to the lead in the third with a solid performance from Budaj, who finished with 26 saves. Grosenick stopped 21 shots on 24 attempts.
The Reign close a three-game series against the Barracuda on Wednesday, February 10 in San Jose at 7:30 p.m. at SAP Center.