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Jordan Gross' late-game drive propels Roadrunners past San Jose

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Steered by their will to overcome a pair of early deficits and boosted by a gigantic goal in the final moments of regulation, the Roadrunners topped the first-place San Jose Barracuda Saturday night at SAP Center with a monumental 4-3 victory.
Was it Jordan Gross' coming out party? Again, gigantic goal. And that was the rookie defenseman's third of the weekend.
The Roadrunners earned three of a possible four points during the two-game set, and with tonight’s win, they snapped their season-long four-game losing streak.
“We just wanted to come in with this last game here and make a statement,” said Merrick Madsen, who stopped 29 of 32 shots faced to earn his first road win. “We traded chances with them early but I think we settled in pretty well and got the result we wanted.”
Falling behind twice in the first period, the Roadrunners responded to level the score each time. San Jose’s Evan Weinger opened the scoring less than three minutes into the contest, giving the Barracuda a 1-0 lead.
The aforementioned Gross, hailing from the University of Notre Dame and in the midst of his first pro season, evened the score less than two minutes later; one timing a shot through traffic after Lane Pederson won an offensive zone draw to register his first tally of the night.
The Barracuda took a 2-1 lead just past the midway point of the first via a Dylan Gambrell goal.
Again, two minutes later, the Roadrunners matched, Kyle Capobianco beating San Jose’s Antoine Bibeau upstairs after yet another offensive zone faceoff win, this time from the quick hands of Laurent Dauphin, who registered his 99th AHL point with the primary assist.
Trevor Cheek gave the Roadrunners their first lead of the evening early in the second period when he flagged down a lofted Robbie Russo stretch pass to beat Bibeau with a forehand effort that trickled over the goal-line.
San Jose’s Jeffrey Truchon tied the game 3-3 with 8:37 to play in the middle frame.
Entering the third period tied, neither team would reclaim a lead until Gross let go with an absolute missile from the right point to put the Roadrunners up by a 4-3 count with 1:54 to play.
“I think [Fasching] did a good job of drawing the guys to him, and then he moved it up to [Murphy], who slid it over to me and I got my feet moving forward and put it on net and it went in,” Gross said.
For Gross, it was the first multi-goal game of his professional career.
The Roadrunners would hold on to secure the lead, the win. “I think it was a good sign for the team, showing that we could shut it down and hold the lead at the end of the game,” Gross added.
The Roadrunners head into the AHL’s holiday break with a 16-8-3-1 record, 36 standings points, and a .634 win percentage, situating them at second-place in the Pacific Division.
They have earned eight of a possible 10 points in five games played against the division leading Barracuda this season.
“It was awesome,” Madsen added of the win. “We didn’t necessarily get the result we wanted last night, we didn’t get the extra point, but we got to walk out of here with two more tonight and that’s exactly what we wanted.”
The team will return home to host the Stockton Heat on December 28 and 29 at Tucson Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop at 7:05 p.m. for both contests.