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Photo: Vince Rappleyea

Meier winner gives Barracuda series lead

A terrific individual effort by Timo Meier resulted in the game-winning goal at 17:40 of overtime and San Jose took a 2-1 lead in the Pacific Division Finals with a 4-3 victory over San Diego at Valley View Casino Center on Wednesday night.

Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Friday night in San Diego.

After the Barracuda had erased three separate one-goal deficits in regulation, Meier took an outlet pass from Buddy Robinson, raced wide around a Gulls defender and banked a shot off the far post and in behind Jhonas Enroth for San Jose’s first win in San Diego in six tries this season.

The Gulls got on the board first at 16:32 of the first period when Max Jones knocked in a rebound for the first goal of his professional career. Jones, 19, was a first-round draft pick by the Anaheim Ducks in 2016.

San Jose tied the game 53 seconds later as Kevin Labanc collected a rebound of Joakim Ryan‘s shot from the point and put home his second goal of the postseason to make it 1-1.

Sam Carrick, who was recalled by Anaheim on Tuesday but returned to the Gulls just before the game, walked in alone from the left-wing boards and beat Troy Grosenick at 7:34 of the second period to put San Diego back in front, 2-1.

But the Barracuda came back again with 7:11 to play in regulation as rookie forward Colin Blackwell banked a wraparound attempt off a skate in front and in past Jhonas Enroth.

Spencer Abbott redirected home a shot by Jones with 3:20 to go in regulation to give the Gulls a third one-goal lead, but Daniel O’Regan converted with Grosenick pulled for an extra attacker with 1:01 left to force overtime.

Meier’s game-winning goal, his first goal of the series and third of the postseason, made this the seventh time in these playoffs that a team won a game that it had trailed with under four minutes left in regulation.

Grosenick made 32 saves to post back-to-back wins for the first time this postseason. Enroth stopped 45 shots as San Jose held a 49-35 advantage for the game — including 46-24 from the second period on.

Pacific Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
P1-San Jose Barracuda vs. P2-San Diego Gulls
Game 1 – Fri., May 5 – San Diego 3, SAN JOSE 2 (OT)
Game 2 – Sat., May 6 – SAN JOSE 5, San Diego 1
Game 3 – Wed., May 10 – San Jose 4, SAN DIEGO 3 (OT)
Game 4 – Fri., May 12 – San Jose at San Diego, 10:00
Game 5 – Sat., May 13 – San Jose at San Diego, 10:00
*Game 6 – Tue., May 16 – San Diego at San Jose, 10:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 17 – San Diego at San Jose, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern