Photo credit: @sjbarracuda
By Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Barracuda had a pair of two-goal leads before hanging on to defeat the the Bakersfield Condors 4-3 on Wednesday evening at SAP Center.
A pair of streaks came to an end with the Barracuda’s 4-3 win. The Condors’ nine-game winning streak and the ‘Cuda’s three-game winning streak ended in dramatic fashion.
There was no scoring in the penalty-free first period as Bakersfield outshot San Jose 9-6. Both Josef Korenar and Condors backup goalie Olivier Rodrigue stood their ground, stopping the 15 combined shots on net.
San Jose (6-4-4-0) finally drew first blood early in the second period. Stefan Noesen made a pretty, no-look centering pass from behind the net out to Joel Kellman, who buried the puck past the five-hole of Rodrigue for his second goal of the season at the 1:22 mark.
The Barracuda doubled its lead late in the middle frame to take a 2-0 lead heading into the second intermission.
Sasha Chmelevski led an odd man rush into the Condors zone. Chmelevski sent a cross ice pass to a trailing Jeffery Viel, who snapped home a wrist shot to the short side of Rodrigue for his second goal of the season at the 18:05 mark. Noesen collected his second point of the game, receiving the secondary assist.
Bakersfield (9-6-0-0) cut the lead in half early in the second period. ‘Cuda killer Cooper Marody sent a pass up to Tyler Benson, who was behind the bet. Benson skated out and banked a shot off Korenar for his fifth goal of the season at the 2:40 mark.
The Barracuda scored two unanswered goals in a 4:05 span midway through the third period that proved to be more than just insurance.
Nicholas Meloche sent a cross-ice pass from the right point over to Jacob Middleton. The veteran defenseman’s initial shot was blocked by a Condors defender before Middleton followed up on his own rebound and slid a backhander underneath Rodrigue for his goal of the season at the 7:19 mark.
San Jose went up 4-1 when Kellman led a 2-on-1 odd man rush with Joachim Blichfeld. Kellman sent a cross-ice pass over to Blichfeld, who lasered a one-timer past Rodrigue for what turned out to be the game-winning goal, his team-leading ninth of the season at the 11:24 mark.
The Condors did not go down quietly as they responded just 25 seconds later. Adam Cracknell intercepted a clearing attempt by Viel and skated to the left faceoff circle, rifling a wrist shot to past Korenar to the short side for an unassisted goal, his fourth of the season.
Bakersfield made it a 4-3 game 28 seconds later when Cracknell centered a pass from behind the ‘Cuda net to an open Seth Griffith, who buried a one-timer past Korenar for his third goal of the season at the 12:17 mark.
The Condors’ last ditch effort to get the equalizer was washed away when Korenar robbed Marody of a wide-open chance off a backdoor feed with 10 seconds remaining in the game.
Korenar finished the game with 37 saves on 40 shots to earn the victory. Rodrigue made 21 saves on 25 shots in the losing effort.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0-for-1 on the power play. Bakersfield went 0-for-4.
The Three Stars of the Game were: 1) Kellman 2) Noesen 3) Korenar
UP NEXT: San Jose travels out to the desert to start a two-game series with the Henderson Silver Knights on Saturday, 3/20 at 1:00 pm PST at Orleans Arena.