by Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE, Calif- Jonny Brodzinki is riding high on a huge wave of goals. He powered the San Jose Barracuda with two goals in a 5-1 convincing victory over the Iowa Wild on Wednesday evening at SAP Center
San Jose swept the two-game series with Iowa and went 3-1 in the season series. The Wild have lost two in a row for the first time since January 10th and 11th to San Diego and Bakersfield.
The ‘Cuda held one of the league’s highest scoring offenses to one goal in 123:20 minutes of action in the past 48 hours.
“One of our problems was we struggled to hold on to games,” said co-head coach Jimmy Bonneau regarding his team’s poor third period play this season. “I don’t know if it’s…I wouldn’t say less on the line. Cause in this league, especially more than anything, you play for a lot of everything. I think we’re learning how to win, learning how to manage games.”
San Jose (18-27-4-2) drew first blood less than three minutes into the first period on the power play. Just as the first penalty of their 5-on-3 opportunity had expired, Trevor Carrick sent a pass down low to Maxim Letunov. The sophomore forward then sent a backhand spin-o-rama pass to Joachim Blichfeld at the backdoor who buried the puck into an open net for his 16th goal of the season at the 2:42 mark.
“I always know Blichie (Blichfeld) is (stationed) backdoor ready to shoot. Before I got the puck I saw he was ready to shoot. So gladly it got through (to) him and he put it in the net,” said Letunov.
Iowa (36-17-4-3) had two power plays of their own in the opening frame but the ‘Cuda penalty kill led by goalie Josef Korenar kept the Wild scoreless. Iowa outshot San Jose 11-10 after 20 minutes.
The ‘Cuda doubled their lead early in the second period. Ivan Chekhovich picked up a loose puck near the crease. He skated behind the net and centered a pass out to the slot where Evan Weinger blasted a one-timer past Wild goalie Mat Robson for his eighth goal of the season at the 3:57 mark.
San Jose scored an insurance goal early in the third period. Letunov led a rush into the Wild zone. He fed a pass into the slot for Jeffery Viel who fired a wrist shot that was saved by Robson. However, the Wild backup netminder couldn’t control the rebound and Brodzinski slid the puck past Robson’s five-hole for his first goal and 11th of the season at the 1:41 mark.
Iowa spoiled Korenar’s shutout bid with a power play goal under four minutes later. A give and go between Bennan Menell and Sam Anas led to Anas finding JT Brown open in the slot and Brown lasered a one-timer past Korenar for his ninth goal of the season at the 5:28 mark.
The Barracuda regained their three-goal lead when Nick DeSimone skated in from the point down the right wing and roofed a shot top-shelf past Robson for his fourth goal of the season at the 12:16 mark. Chekhovich received the lone assist on the goal for a two-point night.
Brodzinski iced the game for San Jose 25 seconds later with his second goal of the contest. He intercepted a clearing attempt by the Wild. From the right slot he wired a wrist shot past Robson to the short side for this 12th goal of the season at the 12:41 mark.
Brodzinski has four goals in his last two games against the Wild.
“Sometimes you get the puck luck and that’s kind of how it’s been going (for me). Last probably 10 games before this there was one that kicked off the D-man’s foot, came right to me. It seemed like I was catching that one clean and it fell right in the glove. This one I don’t catch (it) right and I kinda fan on it and it goes five-hole. That’s just how the puck is going (in) for me right now,” Brodzinski said.
Korenar, fresh off his career high 42 save performance on Monday, stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced to earn his 11th win of the season. Robson made 26 saves on 31 shots in the losing effort.
It was a nice change of scenery for the second year netminder to have some goal support which had been lacking for him earlier in the season.
“I felt so much better after we won the game in overtime (on Monday). It gives you such confidence. Hopefully that continues,” said Korenar.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1-for-4 on the power play. Iowa was 1-for-6.
Weinger’s goal snapped an 11-game goal-less draught for the forward.
With his two helpers, Letunov now leads the ‘Cuda with 38 points and 26 assists.
Jayden Halbgewachs had his three-game point streak snapped.
Anas’s assist gave him 65 points on the season, which leads the AHL.
The announced attendance was 2,571.
UP NEXT The Barracuda continue their six-game homestand on Friday 3/6 as they host the San Diego Gulls at 7:00pm at SAP Center.