by Marko Ukalovic
BAKERSFIELD, Calif- The Bakersfield Condors used five different goal scorers and received excellent goaltending from Stuart Skinner in a dominating 5-0 victory over the San Jose Barracuda on Wednesday evening at Mechanics Bank Arena.
Skinner stopped all 35 shots he faced to record his first career AHL shutout. The loss snapped San Jose’s three-game point streak. Bakersfield is now eight points ahead of the ‘Cuda with 38 and currently sit in sixth place in the Pacific Divison.
Bakersfield (17-18-4-1) opened up the scoring in the first half of the first period. Brad Malone sent a cross ice pass from the left boards down to Cameron Hebig, who beat two Barracuda defenders, and lifted the puck over the pad of ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar for his second goal of the season at the 7:23 mark.
Korenar suffered an injury at the end of the first period and never returned to the game. Zachary Sawchenko replaced Korenar to start the second period.
The Condors doubled their lead in the second period. Josh Currie received a pass along the right boards. He dropped it back to Matt Benning who snapped a shot on goal that Tyler Benson redirected past Sawchenko for his ninth goal of the season at the 11:54 mark.
Benson now has nine points in six games against San Jose this season.
San Jose (14-21-1-2) had two power play opportunities in the second period but the Condors penalty killing led by Skinner kept the ‘Cuda off the board after 40 minutes.
Bakersfield sealed the game in the third period with three third period goals.
Anthony Peluso led a 2-on-1 rush up the ice with Joe Gambardella. Peluso fed a pass over to the left to Gambardella who skated all alone on Sawchenko and snapped a wrist shot top-shelf into the left corner for his eighth goal of the season at the 8:14 mark.
Bakersfield scored an empty net goal when San Jose lifted Sawchenko for an extra attacker with over three minutes remaining. Kirill Maksimov received a pass from Luke Esposito and tapped it into the net for his fourth goal of the season at the 16:59 mark.
The Condors completed the scoring with 28 seconds left in the game when Jakob Stukel sent a pass behind the net where Peluso sent in a wrist shot from a tough angle that went past Sawchenko for his second goal of the season.
Sawchenko finished with 23 saves on 26 shots in relief duty.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0-for-3 on the power play. Bakersfield also went 0-for-3.
Benson snapped his eight-game goalless drought and now has four goals against the Barracuda on the season after his tally on Wednesday.
Noah Gregor led all Barracuda skaters with five shots on net.
Joachim Blichfeld returned to the Barracuda lineup after missing the last three games on recall with the Sharks and recorded two shots on net and a pair of penalty minutes.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda return home to take on the Ontario Reign on Saturday 1/25 at 7:00pm at SAP Center.