Photo credit: @sjbarracuda
By Marko Ukalovic
The San Jose Barracuda scored four answered goals and never looked back in a dominating 4-2 victory over the Bakersfield Condors at Rabobank Arena on Saturday evening. It was the Cuda’s fourth win in a row and it kept them atop of the Pacific Division standings with 31 points.
San Jose (14-3-1-2) drew first blood just before halfway through the first period. Dylan Gambrell skated around behind the net with a wrap around attempt where the puck ended up on captain John McCarthy’s stick and he tapped it in past Condors goalie Shane Starrett (5-1-0) for his sixth goal of the season at the 8:33 mark. Jacob Middleton received the secondary assist,
The Cuda spent most of the period short-handed, but were able to kill off all four of Bakersfield’s (11-9-0-0) power plays, including a double-minor called on Manny Wiederer for high-sticking. San Jose goalie Antonie Bibeau (6-2-2) made some key saves on all four opportunities. San Jose was outshot 13-8 in the first 20 minutes.
Jeffery Truchon-Viel doubled the lead for San Jose early in the second period. He stole the puck on a failed clearing attempt. He sent the puck back to the right point where Jeremy Roy shot the puck in on net where Truchon-Viel pounced on a rebound and put it into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season at the 4:02 mark.
Alexander True continued his hot streak half way through the middle frame to give San Jose a commanding 3-0 lead. Linemate Francis Perron threaded a pass from below the goal line past two Condor defenders’ sticks over to True, who buried it past Starrett for his seven goal the season at the 10:05 mark. True has scored in three consecutive games, including six goals over his last seven games. Jon Martin received the secondary assist.
Wiederer scored his sixth goal of the season when he tipped in a shot from Nick DeSimone, who fired a shot from the right point at the 6:15 mark of the third period. Rourke Chartier received the secondary assist.
Logan Day spoiled the shutout bid for Bibeau when he scored his fourth goal of the season at the 15:31 mark. His second goal in three games came from the right point as Bibeau was screened with traffic in front of the crease. Brad Malone and Patrick Russell picked up assists.
Joe Gambardella completed the scoring when he scored his ninth goal of the season on a shot that went top self past Bibeau at 18:47 mark to make the game respectable. Russell and Ethan Bear received assists.
Bibeau was excellent between the pipes, making 33 saves on 35 shots. Starrett, the second-year netminder, suffered his first loss of the season, making 14 saves on 18 shots.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0/1 on the power play. Bakersfield was 0/7.
Notorious Cuda killer Josh Currie had to leave the game late in the third period when a puck deflected off of DeSimone’s stick and hit him in the face.
Perron leads the Cuda in the following offensive categories: First on the Barracuda in points (21), goals (9), assists (12) power-play goals (5) and shooting percentage (31.0%).
Vincent Praplan returned to the ice after missing the past five games with an injury.
The Barracuda boast the Western Conference’s best road winning percentage (7-2-1-1 = .700) and have collected points in their last four road contests. In addition, San Jose’s +11 goal differential on road ice is the best in the Pacific Division.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda return home on Sunday, December 9 to conclude the home and home series with the Condors at 5:00 pm PST at SAP Center.