The San Jose Barracuda fought it out with the Bakersfield Condors on Sat Mar 13, 2021 at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield (@ sjbarracuda photo)
by Marko Ukalovic
BAKERSFIELD, Calif—Ryan McLeod went from goat to hero in a span of two minutes in overtime.
He scored the game winning goal at the 2:37 mark of the extra session as the Bakersfield Condors came from behind to beat the San Jose Barracuda 4-3 to extend its winning streak to eight games on Friday evening at Mechanics Bank Arena.
McLeod took a tripping penalty 30 seconds into overtime. However San Jose wasn’t able to capitalize on its sixth power play of the game. Seconds after the penalty expired, Ryan Stanton sprung McLeod on a breakaway just as he exited the sinbin and beat ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar with a fore-hand to backhand move sliding the puck past Korenar’s five hole for his sixth goal of the season.
Bakersfield (8-5-0-0) drew first blood in the first period with the AHL’s leading scorer in goals and points Cooper Marody getting things started. Tyler Benson sent the puck toward the middle of the net where the puck pinballed through three ‘Cuda defenders. Marody gathered the puck and his backhander beat Korenar for the first goal of his hatrick on the night at the 13:40 mark.
Marody’s goal marked the eighth straight game the Condors have scored the opening goal of the game. They have outscored their opponents 14-0 in the first period during its winning streak, including 6-0 over San Jose.
The ‘Cuda went down a man before the end of the opening frame when Evan Weinger was injured after receiving a hit up high from Graham McPhee. Weinger would not finish the game as he suffered an apparent upper body injury.
Jeffery Viel took exeption to McPhee’s hit on Weinger as the two squared off in a fight immediately afterward and both ended up with fighting majors.
San Jose (5-4-3-0) scored the equalizer early in the second. Alexander True found defenseman Ryan Merkley at the Condors blueline. Merkley skated in from the right wing to just below the net when he sneaked in a backhand shot that went off the back of Condors goalie Stuart Skinner for the former first round pick’s first career goal at the 4:14 mark.
Bakersfield regained the lead late in the middle frame. After a faceoff win inside the ‘Cuda zone, Markus Niemelainen fired a shot from the left point that Marody redirected from the slot past Korenar for his second goal of the game at the 17:09 mark.
The Condors out shot the ‘Cuda 15-12 in the second period.
It only took 41 seconds in the third period for the Barracuda to get the second equalizer of the game. Noah Gregor’s shot from the right wing was stopped but not controlled by Skinner. Joachim Blichfeld crashed the net and cashed in on the rebound for his seventh goal of the season. True received the secondary assist.
San Jose gained its first lead of the season against Bakersfield thanks to a miscue by Skinner. The netminder’s clearing attempt deflected off the body of Noah Gregor on to the stick of True who beat Skinner back to the net with a wrap around to the far post for his fourth goal of the season and second goal in as many games at the 4:22 mark.
True finished with three points on the night (1G, 2A).
Bakersfield pulled Skinner for an extra attacker with 2:04 remaining in the third period. The gamble paid off when Benson found Marody with a backdoor pass and Marody completed his second career hatrick burying a wrist shot past Korenar for his 12th goal of the season.
Marody has 18 points to go along with his 12 goals to lead the league in both categories. He has 17 points in his last nine games.
Skinner finished the game with 31 saves on 34 shots to earn the victory. Korenar stopped 34 of the 38 saves in the losing cause.
GAME NOTES: San Jose went 0-for-6 on the power play. Bakersfield was 0-for-3.
More special teams- San Jose is currently on an 0-for-10 streak on the power play. While Bakersfield has killed 24 straight penalties.
Bakersfield is now 7-0 (6-0 at home) when leading after two periods.
The Three Stars of the Game were: 1) Marody 2) McLeod 3) True
UP NEXT: San Jose returns home to host Bakersfield for two games starting on Tuesday 3/16 at 6:00pm at SAP Center.