The San Jose Barracuda cut it close at Mechanics Bank Arena the home of the Bakersfield Condors on Sun 10-17-21 in Bakersfield with a 1-0 win. (sjbarracuda.com photo)
by Marko Ukalovic
BAKERSFIELD, Calif.—Ownage is ownage for Stuart Skinner.
The Bakersfield Condors goalie continued his dominance over the San Jose Barracuda with 34 saves in a 1-0 shutout victory in the ‘Cuda’s season opener of the 2021-22 season on Sunday evening at the Mechanics Bank Arena.
Skinner was the difference as the ‘Cuda peppered him with shots throughout the entire game yet they left the building they haven’t been able to win at for two plus season.
The opening 20 minutes was scoreless as San Jose outshot Bakersfield 12-9 as they dictated the pace of play for the majority of the period..
The first period was highlighted by the fisticuffs of Zachary Gallant and Dino Kambeitz as both had a spirited fight at the 12:33 mark.
The second period featured the Barracuda dominating the first 12 minutes. They outshot the Condors 8-1 at one point but could not get a puck past Condors goalie Stuart Skinner, who kept his team in the game by stopping all 11 shots he faced in the period.
San Jose (0-1) went into the sinbin one too many times in the middle frame. They had three minor penalties in the period.
Third time was a charm for Bakersfield (2-0) on the power play as they broke the ice late in the period. Adam Cracknell sent a cross ice pass over to Seth Griffith in the right slot. Griffith fired a wrist shot through a screened ‘Cuda goalie Alexei Melnichuk for his first shot of the season at the 17:21 mark.
It was only the second shot in the period for the Condors but they made it count when they needed it to.
San Jose opened the third period on the power play but it only lasted 19 seconds when Sasha Chmelevski was called for tripping resulting in four-on-four play.
The power play was the ‘Cuda’s own worst enemy. They weren’t able to capitalize on the five chances they had in the game. It looks like it’s going to be a work in progress to in the early going as the players get familiar with each other.
Skinner deserves the credit as he was the Condors best penalty killer on the night. He completed the shutout despite San Jose having an extra attacker for the final 1:17 when they pulled Melnichuk in attempt to try to score the equalizer.
Melnichuk had a light night in terms of shots. He stopped 14 of the 15 shots he faced in the losing effort.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0-for-5 on the power play. Bakersfield was 1-for-5.
San Jose was without last season’s leading goal scorer Joachim Blichfeld as he was out with a lower body injury.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda continue its three-game road trip as the take on the Colorado Eagles on Friday 10/22 at the 6:05pm at the Budweiser Events Center.