The Bakersfield Condors defeated the San Jose Barracuda on Mon May 3, 2021 at Solar4America Ice in San Jose (@sjbarracuda image)
by Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE, Calif-The Bakersfield Condors scored three goals in the third period en route to a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Barracuda on Monday evening at Solar4America Ice.
San Jose have lost two games in a row and finished 3-4-2-1 in the ten-game series against their Pacific Division rival. Bakersfield has won two games in a row and currently sit in second place with 43 points. The went 7-3 against the Barracuda.
San Jose (15-13-4-2) drew first blood on the power play early in the first period. Jayden Halbgewachs won a battle behind the goal line. He sent the puck back up to the right point over to Sasha Chmelevski. The Long Beach native faked a wide rink pass and skated down the wing as he fired a wrist shot to the short side past Condors goalie Stuart Skinner for his ninth goal of the season at the 4:50 mark. Joel Kellman received the secondary assist.
The ‘Cuda came into the game with the best power play in the AHL on home ice with a clip of 26.9%.
Bakersfield (21-12-0-1) evened the score with a power play goal of their own. Adam Cracknell set up Seth Griffith on the right slot. Griffith fired a wrist shot top-shelf past ‘Cuda goalie Alexei Melnichuk for his ninth goal of the season at the 13:10 mark of the first period.
Griffith has a three-goal scoring streak and has points in five of his last six games. He has feasted against the Barracuda this season with nine points (5G 4A).
The Condors gained the lead late in the first period with its second power play goal. A shot from the point by Max Gildon caromed off the boards onto the stick of Brad Malone and the Condors captain banked the puck off of Melnichuk into the back of the net for his eighth goal of the season at the 17:47 mark.
Bakersfield scored on 66% of its three shots in the opening 20 minutes as they were out shot 17-3 by San Jose.
San Jose scored the equalizer with its second power play goal of the game late in the second period. Joel Kellman started the rush inside the Condors zone. Chmelevski sent a rink wide pass over to Maxim Letunov at the right slot and Letunov blasted a one-timer past Skinner for his 11th goal of the season at the 17:32 mark.
Letunov tied Chmelevski for the team lead with four power play goals.
Evan Weinger had a spirited fight with Luke Esposito late in the middle frame as they two danced the tango at the 15:09 mark.
Bakersfield regained its third lead of the game early in the third period. A shot from the Gildon from the left point sprung off the backboards right on to the stick of Devin Brosseau and he tapped the puck into an empty net for his third goal of the season at the 2:00 mark.
The Barracuda tied the game for the second time in the game on a short-handed goal. Joel Kellman intercepted a pass from Griffith, raced down the left side and from a tough angle beat Skinner with a wrist shot for his eighth goal (his first short-handed) of the season at the 5:12 mark.
Kellman has been hot for the ‘Cuda with another multi-point game (G, 2A). He has eight points in his past three games.
The Condors scored the game winning goal when Tyler Benson led a counter attack up the ice. He fed a back pass up to Cooper Marody who skated in and beat Melnichuk with a wrist shot for his team leading 20th goal of the season at the 12:43 mark.
Bakersfield received some insurance when Malone scored a short-handed goal, his second of the game, when he skated down the left wing after a pass from Vincent Desharnais and he beat Melnichuk to the short side with a wrist shot a the 14:33 mark.
Malone has five goals over his last two games.
Skinner finished the game stopping 35 of the 38 shots he faced to earn his league leading 18th victory of the season. Melnichuk made 14 saves on 19 shots in the losing effort.
GAME NOTES: San Jose went 2-for-8 on the power play. Bakersfield was 2-for-5.
Ozzie Wiesblatt was back in the lineup for San Jose in his fourth AHL game. Wiesblatt had just completed a short season in the WHL where he played in 23 games and had 28 points.
Cracknell finished the season series with 12 points against San Jose (4G, 8A).
San Jose has scored four short-handed goals this season.
The Three Stars of the Game were: 1) Malone 2) Kellman 3) Skinner
UP NEXT: San Jose finishes the regular season on the road as the visit the Henderson Silver Knights on Saturday 5/8 at 1:00pm at T-Mobile Arena.