Joachim Blichfield who scored a big goal for the San Jose Barracuda helped in the three goal win over the Bakersfield Condors on Sun Jan 23, 2022 at SAP Center in San Jose (file photo from nhl.com)
by Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE — SAP Center let the dogs in. The San Jose Barracuda showed their bite was as big as its bark.
The ‘Cuda rebounded from a tough loss one night earlier and played a full 60-minute game in a 5-2 victory over the Bakersfield Condors on Sunday evening at The Shark Tank.
The Barracuda had a combined promotion night with Hockey Fights Cancer and its Paws & Pucks celebration where fans were able to bring their best friends into the arena.
Both human and canine saw San Jose snap its three-game losing streak. In the process Bakersfield had its six-game winning streak end.
It was a complete 180 from last night’s game where the Barracuda squandered a two-goal lead and lost the game in the third period. Tonight, San Jose scored two goals in the final frame to ensure they would not have a fourth loss in a row.
“Don’t sit back and get after it,” said ‘Cuda head coach Roy Sommer on his message to his team during the second intermission. “Blichy’s (Blichfeld) goal was big, and Johnny (Leonard) scores off the PP (power play) that kind of cements it for us.”
San Jose (14-19-1-0) drew first blood early in the first period. Jake McGrew had a give and go with Zach Gallant inside the Condors zone. Gallant’s shot on net was initially saved by Condor’s goalie, and former San Jose Shark, Alex Stalock. McGrew picked up the rebound and beat Stalock with a wrist shot for his sixth goal of the season at the 5:39 mark.
Kyle Topping was issued a five-minute major and a game misconduct for elbowing Philip Broberg at center ice with 6:49 remaining in the opening frame. Broberg left the ice on his own power and returned to the game.
However, penalties by Devin Brosseau and Luke Esposito trimmed Bakersfield power play opportunity to just 54 seconds which San Jose was able to kill off.
San Jose extended its lead with two goals scored in a 15 second span early in the second period. The ‘Cuda doubled its lead on the power play when Artemi Kniazev fired a shot on net stopped by Stalock. Scotty Reedy crashed the crease and cleaned up the rebound for his team leading 17th goal of the season at the 1:21 mark.
Reedy leads the AHL in power play goals with 10.
On the ensuing shift ‘Cuda defenseman Mark Alt sent in a shot-pass from the right point and Timur Ibragimov tipped the puck past Stalock for his first career AHL goal at the 1:36 mark.
“Timur (Ibragimov) was in a good spot and I just tried to get a nice hard pass to him so he could deflect it wherever he wanted,” Alt said.
Bakersfield (14-8-3-3) answered back with an even strength goal near the halfway mark of the middle frame. A turnover by the ‘Cuda inside their own zone led to Dylan Holloway centering a pass to Tim Schaller who beat Barracuda goalie Zachary Sawchenko with a one-timer for his sixth goal of the season at the 7:42 mark.
The Condors cut their deficit to one late in the middle frame. Esposito won a faceoff back to Raphael Lavoie in the right slot and he blasted a one-timer past Sawchenko for his seventh goal of the season at the 18:53 mark.
San Jose scored an insurance goal early in the third period. Jayden Halbgewachs intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and led a two-on-one odd man rush with Joachim Blichfeld. Halbgewachs sent a rink wide pass to Blichfeld who snapped home a one-timer past Stalock for his 14th goal of the season at the 4:04 mark.
Blichfeld has scored in three consecutive games, his longest of the season.
The Barracuda padded its lead just under two minutes later with its second power play goal. John Leonard went coast-to-coast from his own zone up the middle into the Condors zone. After the puck was poke checked away from him, Leonard quickly regained possession and fired a wrist shot to the far side past a surprised Stalock for his eighth goal of the season at the 6:31 mark. Cole Moberg picked up his second helper of the game with the only assist on Leonard’s goal.
Leonard has three goals in his past two games.
Sawchenko, who made his first start since December 17, 2021, finished the game stopping 35 of the 37 shots he faced to pick up the victory. Stalock made 25 saves on 30 shots in the losing effort.
GAME NOTES: San Jose finished 2-for-4 on the power play. Bakersfield was 0-for-4.
The Three Stars of the Game were: 1) Kniazev 2) Sawchenko 3) Moberg
UP NEXT: San Jose continues its homestand when they host the Ontario Reign on Wednesday at 10:00am at SAP Center.