by Marko Ukalovic
The San Jose Barracuda exorcised their demon known as the Bakersfield Condors. San Jose never trailed in a 4-2 victory over the Pacific Division leaders for their third straight win on Saturday evening at Rabobank Arena.
A pair of streaks were snapped with the Cuda’s win. San Jose’s five game losing streak to Bakersfield is history and they finished the season series 5-5 against the Condors. Bakersfield also lost their six game winning streak.
Bakersfield (39-18-2-3) had the ice tilted in their favor in the first period as they out shot San Jose 15-7. However Cuda goalie Josef Korenar (21-8-2) stood his ground as the rookie net minder stopped all 15 shots he faced.
San Jose (35-20-2-4) finally drew first blood early in the second period. Anti Suomela sent a pass over to Marcus Vela whose shot was partially fanned on that deflected off of Matt Fonteyne’s stick past Condors goalie Shane Starrett (25-5-5) for his fifth goal of the season at the 3:09 mark. was credited with the secondary assist.
Bakersfield scored the equalizer in the final minute of the middle frame. Luke Esposito scored his sixth goal of the season at the 19:11 mark. Cameron Hebig and Jacob Stukel received assists.
The third period featured three goals in the first five minutes. With Evan Polei in the sin-bin for hooking, the Cuda’s Cavan Fitzerald didn’t waste any time giving San Jose the lead. The faceoff came right to the stick of Fiztgerald who blasted the puck off the far bar and into the back of the net for his sixth goal of the season 28 seconds into the period.
Bakersfield responded as P.C. Labrie found an open Cooper Marody and he buried the puck past Korenar for his 19th goal of the season at the 4:25 mark. Tyler Benson received the secondary assist.
San Jose regained the lead just 31 seconds later. Nick DeSimone found Maxim Letunov open in the high slot. Letunov skated in and wristed a shot on the short side over the pad of Starrett for his 11th goal of the season at the 5:06 mark.
Bakersfield pulled Starrett for an extra attacker in the last 1:40 of the third period but Jeffery Viel iced the game with an empty net goal for his 10th goal of the season with 58 second left. Alex True and DeSimone were credited with assists.
Kornear stopped 27 of the 29 shots he faced to earn his 21st win of the season. Starrett made 25 saves on 28 shots in suffering the loss.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1/4 on the power play. They have scored a power play goal in three straight games. Bakersfield was 0/6.
DeSimone is currently on an eight-game scoring streak.
San Jose is now 4-6-1-2 when they are tied after 2nd period.
The announced attendance was 6,502.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda return home to host the San Diego Gulls on Wednesday 4/3 at 7:00pm at SAP Center.