Budaj Records Third Straight Shutout, Blanks Barracuda 1-0

IMG_20160206_062752Ontario Reign goaltender Peter Budaj left for the AHL All-Star Game last weekend. Friday night, he returned to action and picked up right where he left off, shutting out the San Jose Barracuda 1-0. It was his third shutout in a row, and league leading eighth of the season.

After facing only five shots in the first two periods combined, Budaj saved his best for the third period, making 17 saves in the final frame to hold on to the victory.  “I can’t thank enough, the guys who play in front of me, they play really well,” he said.  “Everything, the system is working, guys are working really hard.”

Kings prospect Michael Mersch had the only goal of the game.  After Barracuda forward Barclay Goodrow took an offensive zone penalty in the first period for charging, the Reign set up their PP and were able to get a hard working goal.  Defenseman Kevin Gravel put a shot on goal that deflected off of his college roommate, Nic Dowd, in front of the net.  When the puck dropped perfectly in front of Mersch he was able to put the rebound past Barracuda goaltender Aaron Dell.

“I heard someone from the point yelling ‘shoot it, shoot it’ so I just kind of went to the net and the rebound.  I think Dowd got a tip on it, and the rebound came to me,” noted Mersch. “Right place, right time.  It worked out.”

Dell had an outstanding game for the Barracuda, without him the score could have been a blow out.  Dell had to make 22 of his 29 saves in the first two periods when the Barracuda were under constant attack from the Reign, including three out numbered attacks in the first period.  The first attempt he made a save on Andrew Crescenzi who broke in with Jordan Samuels-Thomas on his wing.  Justin Auger had the second attempt later on in the period but over skated the puck and the third attempt was broken up by a Barracuda defenseman.

Forwards

Mersch – Dowd – Backman

Kempe – Newbury – Brodzinski

Samuels-Thomas – Crescenzi – Auger

Lowry – Horvat – Bissonnette

Defense

MacDermid – LoVerde

Forbort – Gravel

Schultz – Raine

Goaltender

Budaj

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