Photo credit: @sjbarracuda
by Marko Ukalovic
A different game on a different day and time, but the same dominant result. For the third consecutive game, the San Jose Barracuda weren’t able to slow down the red-hot Bakersfield Condors in a 7-1 loss to the Pacific Division leaders on Saturday evening at SAP Center.
The Condors have won 20 of their last 21 games (and the last five straight versus San Jose), while the Barracuda have lost their fourth in a row for the first time all season and are winless in the month of March.
Bakersfield (36-17-2-1) drew first blood in the first period. Logan Day fed a pass that led to a breakaway for Tyler Benson. Benson skated in and beat Cuda goalie Josef Korenar (19-8-1) with a wrist shot on the far side for his 11th goal of the season at the 4:34 mark.
The Condors doubled their lead late in the opening frame when William Lagesson received the puck at the left point from Luke Esposito and his shot went past a body of traffic and trickled through the five-hole of Korenar for his sixth goal of the season at the 14:48 mark.
San Jose (30-18-2-4) had a chance to break the seal four minutes into the second period. A big hit by Cavan Fitzgerald on Joe Gambardella in the middle of the ice led to a breakaway for Jayden Halbgewachs, but Condors goalie Shane Starrett (23-4-3) stoned his attempt.
The Cuda cut the lead in half when a mad scramble in the front of the net led to Maxim Letunov being the last one to touch the puck that slid past Starrett for his 10th goal of the season at the 5:31 mark. Alex True and TJ Hensick were credited with assists.
Less than a minute later, Bakersfield shell shocked San Jose by scoring two goals in 21 seconds. Benson found Cooper Marody in the slot and his one-timer beat Korenar for his 14th goal of the season at the 6:20 mark.
Then, Patrick Russell picked up a loose puck from a shot from the point by Lagesson that hit off a body in front and was able to bury the puck past Korenar with a turnaround shot for his 16th goal of the season at the 6:41 mark for a 4-1 lead.
Bakersfield scored their third unanswered goal of the period when Braden Christopher cashed home a rebound in the slot off a Ryan Stanton shot from the point for his fifth goal of the season at the 12:45 mark. Marody received the secondary assist.
Russell scored his second goal of the evening and 17th of the season on the power play in the third period. Gambardella fed a pass over to Russell, whose one-timer beat Korenar at the 7:00 mark. Ethan Bear recorded the secondary assist.
Evan Polei fired a slap shot past Korenar for his eighth goal of the season at the 15:07 mark to complete the scoring for Bakersfield. Mitch Callahan and David Gust were credited with assists.
Starrett 27 of the 28 shots he faced to earn his 23rd victory of the season and 16 of his last 17 games. Korenar made 25 saves on 32 shots in suffering the defeat.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0/3 on the power play. Bakersfield was 1/3.
Bakersfield is now 4-3-1-1 in the season series against San Jose with one more game left between the two teams on March 30th.
The announced attendance was 8,415 set a franchise record and was the highest attendance of the season for San Jose at SAP Center.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda continue their five-game homestand as they host NorCal rival, the Stockton Heat, on Sunday 3/10 at 3:00 pm.