photo from sjbarracuda.com
By Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Barracuda didn’t have to wait long to get revenge on the Colorado Eagles. They scored six unanswered goals, including three on the power play, to take down their Pacific Division rival 6-2 on Saturday afternoon at SAP Center.
Only 16 hours after a tough 4-1 loss to the same Eagles team, San Jose snapped out of their funk and split the two-game series with Colorado. The ‘Cuda now have 13 points on the season and went 2-2 on their four-game home stand.
San Jose (6-10-0-1) jumped out to another fast start when Alex True sent a pass back up to Thomas Gregoire at the right point. Gregoire threw a wrist shot at the net, where Lean Bergmann deflected the puck past Eagles goalie Antoine Bibeau for his fifth goal of the season at the 2:42 mark of the first period.
Just under four minutes later, San Jose doubled its lead when Joachim Blichfeld intercepted a clearing attempt by Kevin Connauton. Danil Yurtaykin quickly passed it to Joel Kellman and the Swedish forward backhanded a centering pass back to Blichfeld, who fired a one-timer past Bibeau for a tic-tac-toe goal, his team-leading seventh of the season at the 6:36 mark.
The ‘Cuda completed their first period three-goal output on the power play just a little over half way through the opening frame. A give and go passing display between Jonny Brodzinski and Gregoire led to the Quebec native teeing up a slap slot just above the slot that rocketed past Bibeau for Gregoire’s second goal of the season at the 11:10 mark.
Bibeau was sent to the showers during the first intermission as he was replaced by Adam Werner in the second period after giving three goals on 10 shots.
San Jose continued their dominance in the second period scoring two more goals. Just like the first period, both goal came in the first 10 minutes of the period.
Sasha Chmelevski, playing in his first game back since October 30th when he was out with a lower body injury, did some nifty skating into the Eagles zone as he went past two Eagles defenders before putting a backhand shot on goal that Werner stopped but couldn’t handle the rebound. Maxim Letunov’s attempt deflected over to Jeffery Viel who cleaned up the rebound into the back of the net for his fourth goal and San Jose’s second power play goal at the 2:09 mark.
“Yeah it felt great,” said Chmelevski about how healthy he feels. “I didn’t even know if I was going (to play) today with everything that’s been going on (with my injury). I just wanted to help out the team anyway I could and I’m just happy we won.”
Just under three minutes later, Letunov sent a pass behind the net that Evan Weinger collected and fed back to Jayden Halbgewachs, who quickly turned toward the net with a backhander that slid past Werner’s five-hole for Halbgewachs third goal of the season at the 4:53 mark.
Colorado (9-8-0-0) had a chance to score before heading into the second intermission when Jacob Middleton went into the sin-bin for hooking with two minutes left in the middle frame, but San Jose’s penalty kill kept the Eagles from cashing in on their opportunity.
The ‘Cuda made it 6-0 in the third period with their sixth different goal scorer when Chmelevski won a face off over to Halbgewachs. The Saskatchewan native then skated over to the right slot when he snapped a wrist shot that Chmelevski tipped past Werner for his third goal of the season and San Jose’s third power play goal of the game at the 4:27 mark.
“I feel like when we play with passion and like that will, there’s not a lot of teams that can stop us. Today I thought I provided a little bit of a spark for the team. And I thought that’s what we needed to win today,” said Chmelevski.
Colorado broke ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar’s shutout bid with a little help from the referee. A clearing attempt by Keaton Middleton hit off the ref’s skate that allowed the Eagles to sustain pressure inside the zone. After a two point-blank chances by Colin Campbell were stopped by Korenar, the rebound trickled out to a wide-open Erik Condra who tapped it into an empty net for his third goal of the season at the 10:12 mark.
Sheldon Dries completed the scoring when he came crashing in to put home a rebound off a Jayson Megna shot was kicked out to the left of the crease for a power play goal. Dries’ eighth goal of the season came at the 15:50 mark.
Korenar finished the afternoon stopping 39 of the 41 shots he faced for his fifth victory of the season. Werner nine saves on 12 shots in mop-up duty.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 3/7 on the power play. Colorado was 1/3. The three power play goals for the ‘Cuda were a season-high.
The three stars of the game were…
The announced attendance was 3,385.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda travel down to San Diego to take on the Gulls on Wendesday 11/27 at 7:00 pm at Pechanga Arena.