Condors edge Barracuda 6-5 in overtime

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Barracuda came back from a three two-goal deficits, but weren’t able to close out their five-game home stand on a winning note as the Bakersfield Condors defeated San Jose 6-5 in overtime on Monday evening at SAP Center.

Bakersfield All-Star Joe Gambardella drove to the net from the half-boards and beat Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau (9-5-4) with a wrist shot top-shelf for his 16th goal of the season at the 1:55 mark of the overtime for the game-winner. Logan Day and Tyler Benson received assists.

Bakersfield (21-15-2-1) drew first blood in the first period when David Gust attempted pass off the half right way deflected off a Cuda defender into the net for his 11th goal of the season at the 13:38 mark.

The Condors extended their lead on the power play when Josh Currie finished off a two-on-one rush beating Bibeau top self for his 17th goal of the season at the 17:41 mark. Cooper Marody and Benson received assists.

Keaton Middleton was able to get San Jose (23-8-2-3) on the board when he took a pass from Alex True below the left faceoff dot and one-timed it past the Condors netminder Stuart Skinner (3-1-0) to make it 2-1 with 1:53 remaining in the opening frame. Jon Martin received the secondary assist.

Bakersfield regained their two-goal lead when Tyler Vesel was able to slide a puck out of the reach of the right pad of Bibeau to bring the score to 3-1 with 49 seconds left.

In the second period, San Jose scored two goals in the first four minutes. Middleton scored his second goal of the game by sliding a slow-moving shot past a screened Skinner from the slot for his fifth goal of the season at the 2:40 mark.

Then on the power play two minutes later, Cavan Fitzgerald received a pass from Jayden Halbgewachs as he drifted from the right point and rocketed a wrister over the glove of Skinner, tying the game at 4:32. True received the secondary assist.

Bakersfield reclaimed the lead late in the middle frame with two goals of their own in a span of 56 seconds. Patrick Russel scored his eight goal of the season at the 16:33 mark. Then, Ethan Bear scored his first goal of the season at the 17:29 mark to head into the second intermission with a 5-3 lead.

The third period belonged to San Jose as the Cuda put on a late push to tie the game as they outshot Bakersfield 19-3. Jon Martin skated into the Condor zone and a trailing Jeremy Roy snapped in a perfect shot as he collected the loose puck that Martin left after colliding into a pair of Condors for his third goal of the season at the 14:00 mark.

San Jose pulled Bibeau for an extra attacker when Fitzgerald brought the puck into the offensive zone, threaded a cross-ice pass to Maxim Letunov and the rookie guided it in on the backhand past Skinner for his seventh goal of the season to force overtime.

Skinner stopped 33 of the 38 pucks to earn his third win of the season. Bibeau made 26 saves on 32 shots in suffering the loss.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1/4 on the power play. Bakersfield was 1/1.

The announced attendance was 2,485.

UP NEXT: San Jose travels up to Grand Rapids to start a two-game series with the Griffins on Friday at 4:00 pm at Van Andel Arena.

Barracuda sweep the home and home series with 4-0 shutout win over the Condors

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

There are fast starts and then there are fast starts by the San Jose Barracuda. They scored two goals in the first 39 seconds of the game to coast their way to a 4-0 shut out victory over the Bakersfield Condors on Sunday evening at SAP Center. The win is the fifth in a row for the Pacific Division leaders.

Dylan Gambrell got off the schneid when he tipped in a Kyle Wood shot from the point past Condors goalie Shane Starrett (5-1-0) 23 seconds into the game. Gambrell’s fourth goal of the season set a San Jose (14-3-1-2) franchise record for quickest goal to start a game. Vincent Praplan received the secondary assist. The goal snapped an 11-game goalless streak for Gambrell.

Jayden Halbgewachs set up Manny Wiederer 16 seconds later as Wiederer sent a wrist shot past Starrett for his seventh goal of the season at the 0:39 mark.

Francis Perron intercepted a cross ice pass in the Cuda zone and skated in all alone on a breakaway and buried the puck past Starrett for his team-leading 10th goal and 22nd point of the season at the 3:57 mark. The Cuda had three goals on the first three shots. Perron is currently on a four-game point streak.

Bakersfield (11-9-0-0) had a chance to get on the board with seconds left at the end of the first 20 minutes with a mad scramble in front of the net, but Cuda goalie Josef Korenar (8-1-1) found the puck through all the traffic.

Korenar made a key moment in the game in the second period while Bakersfield was on the power play. Tyler Benson had a wide-open net to shoot at, but Korenar maneuvered his way over to make a spectacular save to deny Benson. Korenar made another save second after that led to a successful penalty kill.

San Jose blew the game the open on the power play toward the end of the middle frame for a 4-0 lead. Nick DeSimone found an open Rourke Chartier. who snapped a shot past Starrett for his second goal of the season at the 17:36 mark. Chartier now has five points in four games against the Condors. Perron received the secondary assist.

Korenar was excellent in between the pipes for his ninth victory of the season stopping all 31 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. Starrett suffered his first back to back losses of the season making 18 saves on 22 shots.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1/4 on the power play. Bakersfield was 0/4

This was the eighth straight game San Jose has earned at least one point. They are now 8-1-0-1 (best in the AHL) at SAP Center including winning the past six in a row.

It was Kansas City Blades night at the Tank. The Blades were the San Jose Sharks minor league affiliate in the IHL from 1991-96.

The announced attendance was 3,073.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda travel down to San Diego to take on the Gulls on Saturday, December 15 at 7:00 pm.

Barracuda take down Condors 4-2 for fourth win in a row

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

The San Jose Barracuda scored four answered goals and never looked back in a dominating 4-2 victory over the Bakersfield Condors at Rabobank Arena on Saturday evening. It was the Cuda’s fourth win in a row and it kept them atop of the Pacific Division standings with 31 points.

San Jose (14-3-1-2) drew first blood just before halfway through the first period. Dylan Gambrell skated around behind the net with a wrap around attempt where the puck ended up on captain John McCarthy’s stick and he tapped it in past Condors goalie Shane Starrett (5-1-0) for his sixth goal of the season at the 8:33 mark. Jacob Middleton received the secondary assist,

The Cuda spent most of the period short-handed, but were able to kill off all four of Bakersfield’s (11-9-0-0) power plays, including a double-minor called on Manny Wiederer for high-sticking. San Jose goalie Antonie Bibeau (6-2-2) made some key saves on all four opportunities. San Jose was outshot 13-8 in the first 20 minutes.

Jeffery Truchon-Viel doubled the lead for San Jose early in the second period. He stole the puck on a failed clearing attempt. He sent the puck back to the right point where Jeremy Roy shot the puck in on net where Truchon-Viel pounced on a rebound and put it into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season at the 4:02 mark.

Alexander True continued his hot streak half way through the middle frame to give San Jose a commanding 3-0 lead. Linemate Francis Perron threaded a pass from below the goal line past two Condor defenders’ sticks over to True, who buried it past Starrett for his seven goal the season at the 10:05 mark. True has scored in three consecutive games, including six goals over his last seven games. Jon Martin received the secondary assist.

Wiederer scored his sixth goal of the season when he tipped in a shot from Nick DeSimone, who fired a shot from the right point at the 6:15 mark of the third period. Rourke Chartier received the secondary assist.

Logan Day spoiled the shutout bid for Bibeau when he scored his fourth goal of the season at the 15:31 mark. His second goal in three games came from the right point as Bibeau was screened with traffic in front of the crease. Brad Malone and Patrick Russell picked up assists.

Joe Gambardella completed the scoring when he scored his ninth goal of the season on a shot that went top self past Bibeau at 18:47 mark to make the game respectable. Russell and Ethan Bear received assists.

Bibeau was excellent between the pipes, making 33 saves on 35 shots. Starrett, the second-year netminder, suffered his first loss of the season, making 14 saves on 18 shots.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0/1 on the power play. Bakersfield was 0/7.

Notorious Cuda killer Josh Currie had to leave the game late in the third period when a puck deflected off of DeSimone’s stick and hit him in the face.

Perron leads the Cuda in the following offensive categories: First on the Barracuda in points (21), goals (9), assists (12) power-play goals (5) and shooting percentage (31.0%).

Vincent Praplan returned to the ice after missing the past five games with an injury.

The Barracuda boast the Western Conference’s best road winning percentage (7-2-1-1 = .700) and have collected points in their last four road contests. In addition, San Jose’s +11 goal differential on road ice is the best in the Pacific Division.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda return home on Sunday, December 9 to conclude the home and home series with the Condors at 5:00 pm PST at SAP Center.

San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic: With a four-game win streak, the Barrcuda have all the confidence going into Bakersfield Saturday

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

On the San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko:

#1 The Barracuda didn’t waste any time scoring two quick unanswered goals in the first period and three in the third period good enough to beat the San Diego Gulls on Monday night at SAP Center.

#2 Cuda are the hot team with three straight wins and in first place in the Pacific with 29 points.

#3 The Cuda’s Kyle Wood scored the game-winning goal at the 6:45 mark of the third period when Francis Perron led him with a pass into the San Diego zone.

#4 Wood said it took him some 18 to 19 games to find the back of the net, but was very relieved to get that goal.

#5 The Barracuda face off next in Bakersfield against the Condors. San Jose brings a very confident win streak into Bakersfield the team is pretty confident right now.

Marko does the Barracuda podcasts each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioradioservice.com

Condors end Barracuda’s win streak with 3-2 shootout win

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Bakersfield Condors (2-1-0-0) received goals from Cooper Marody and Tyler Benson as well as good goaltending from Al Montoya in the shootout to snap the San Jose Barracuda’s (2-0-0-1) two-game winning streak with a 3-2 shootout victory at SAP Center on Wednesday evening.

San Jose would draw first blood early in the first period. Manny Wiederer won a battle just to the right of the goal line. He then fed a pass back up to the point to Keaton Middleton, who fired a shot into a traffic jam in front of the net. Alexander True was in the middle of the scrum where the puck glanced off his stick that rolled past Montoya into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. True’s second goal of the season came at the 4:21 mark.

Evan Polei, who made his season debut for the Condors, evened up the score when he was able to redirect a pass from Josh Currie past Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau. Polei had two point-blank chances stopped by Bibeau a short time earlier, but the third time was a charm, as it led to Polei’s first goal of the season at the 12:36 mark of the first period.

Bakersfield enjoyed a 16-5 shot advantage as San Jose came out flat in the first period, but Bibeau held down the fort and kept the game even at 1-1 heading into the first intermission.

Jayden Halbgewachs would give the Cuda the lead eight seconds into a power play in the second period. Jeremy Roy fired a shot in from the top of the point that was initially saved by Montoya. After whacking at the puck, Halbgewachs was able to collect the rebound and back hand the puck past Montoya for his second goal of the season at the 7:51 mark. Vincent Praplan was credited with the secondary assist.

“We got a young team and we want to play with speed every game,” said Halbgewachs. “That’s a big part of my game, creating offense. If I use my speed, opportunities are going to be there.”

Joe Gambradella gave the Condors the equalizer just seconds after a penalty to Nolan Vesey expired. Gambradella won a battle along the boards near center ice and escaped with the puck skating in all alone against Bibeau and snapped home a wrist shot to the right corner of the goal that beat Bibeau for his first goal of the season at the 7:28 of the third period. Patrick Russel and William Lagesson were both credited with assists.

Halbgewachs had the best chance to end it in overtime. After breaking up a 2-on-1 break by Bakerfield, he skated out of the defensive zone and received a pass that sent him on a breakaway attempt, only to have Montoya out wait him and make the save on his back hand attempt.

“He’s not the biggest guy but he plays on the inside,” said captain John McCarthy about what Halbgewachs brings to the team. “That’s huge especially when you don’t have the size to muscle people around. Like you saw tonight he gets a lot of chances that way.”

The Cuda earned a late power play late in overtime, but weren’t able to capitalize on the abbreviated man advantage.

“We were lucky to get a point tonight,” said head coach Roy Sommer. “A lot of turnovers, (we played) kind of sloppy. They had more jump than we did tonight.”

Montoya (2-0) earned the victory with 23 saves on 25 shots. Bibeau (1-0-1), despite playing a strong game, suffered the loss after making 33 saves on 35 shots.

GAME NOTES: San Jose went 1-for-5 on what was an uninspiring power play. Bakersfield went 0-for3.

Fisticuffs! Cuda forward Jeffery Viel exchanged pleasantries with Polei just inside the Condors’ zone at the 15:58 mark of the first period.

The announced attendance was 2,527.

UP NEXT: San Jose will travel up Highway 5 to take on their NorCal rival Stockton Heat on Saturday, October 13 at Stockton Arena at 6:00 pm PT.

Barracuda down the Condors 5-1 in Bakersfield

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By: Ana Kieu

The San Jose Barracuda had hoped to keep the win streak going after heading to Central California to take on the Bakersfield Condors at Rabobank Arena on Saturday night. But did the Cuda apply pressure on the rival Condors?

Prior to the puck drop, San Jose announced its starting lineup against Bakersfield.

Cuda goalie Josef Korenar made his first AHL start tonight. Korenar had some good looks from the get-go, including the notable save he made to prevent a Condor forward from scoring an early goal in the opening period.

The Cuda and Condors were in a scoreless deadlock after 20 minutes of play. Shots were 14-9 in favor of Bakersfield.

Despite being the new kid on the ice, Korenar–a Vystrkov, Czech Republic native–made yet another notable save to keep things scoreless in the second period.

The Cuda made it a 1-0 game on Jayden Halbgewachs’ first goal on the season just 4:03 into the second period. Nick DeSimone and Vincent Praplan collected the assists on Halbgewach’s goal.

The Cuda continued to pour in the goals just 2:56 apart at the 11:08 and 13:04 marks of the second period. Maxim Letunov scored his second (unassisted) goal on the season and then Cavan Fitzgerald followed suit with his first goal on the season. Alexander True and Manuel Wiederer collected the assists on Fitzgerald’s goal.

The Cuda led the Condors 3-0 after 40 minutes of play. Shots were 24-22 in favor of San Jose.

The Condors halted the Cuda’s hopes of achieving a shutout 5:46 into the third period. Josh Currie scored his first goal on the season. Cameron Hebig and Cooper Marody collected the assists on Currie’s goal.

The Cuda, however, bounced back with two goals after the first half of the third period. DeSimone scored his first goal on the season. Francis Perron and Jeremy Roy collected the assists on DeSimone’s power play goal following Keaton Middleton’s penalty for elbowing. Shortly after, Perron scored his second goal on the season. Vincent Praplan and Jacob Middleton collected the assists on Perron’s goal.

The Cuda defeated the Condors 5-1, so it didn’t matter Bakersfield outshot San Jose 38-31 after 60 minutes of play.

Korenar picked up his first AHL win, finishing with 37 saves on 38 shots and one goal allowed in 59:42 minutes. Condor goalie Dylan Wells absorbed the loss, making 26 saves on 31 shots and five goals allowed in 59:56 minutes.

Notes
Familiar face 
After failing to make the playoffs in all three years of its existence, the Oilers relieved Gerry Flemming of his duties and appointed former Sharks and Oilers’ assistant Jay Woodcroft as the head coach of the Bakersfield Condors this offseason. Woodcroft was an assistant under Todd McLellan with the Sharks for seven years before following McLellan to Edmonton the last three seasons.

Rookie arrival
Dylan Gambrell collected three points (two goals, one assist) in the first 16 minutes of Friday’s 4-1 win over the Reign. The rookie forward appeared in three games with the Sharks last season after the conclusion of his junior year at the Denver University, where he won a National Championship in 2017. His impressive AHL debut earned him first star honors.

Youth movement
The Barracuda opened up the 2018-19 season as the AHL’s youngest roster with an average age of 22.7 years old, which is comprised of 10 rookies. 13 players on the Cuda’s 25-man opening night roster skated in at least one game for San Jose a year ago.

Big trade
On June 14, Sharks GM Doug Wilson traded forward Adam Helewka to the Coyotes in exchange for 6-foot-5, 235-pound defenseman Kyle Wood. Two seasons ago, Wood was named to the AHL All-Rookie team after collecting 43 points (14 goals, 29 assists) from the blueline. Wood collected a pair of assists in Friday’s 4-1 win over Ontario.

National pride
With the offseason signings of Vincent Praplan (Switzerland) and Lukas Radil (Czech Republic), along with the return of Captain John McCarthy, San Jose’s opening night roster will be comprised of three different skaters who competed at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Up Next
The Cuda will return home to host the Condors in a rematch on Wednesday, October 10 at 7:00 pm PT.

Barracuda defeat Condors 4-3 for fifth straight win; stay alive for AHL playoffs

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Barracuda (33-26-4-4) are doing their part to keep their post season aspirations alive with another thrilling one-goal victory. They swept the home-and-home series against the Bakersfield Condors (30-27-9-1) with their 4-3 win on Thursday evening at SAP Center. They are currently on a five-game winning streak.

On Fan Appreciate Night and final home game of the regular season, the Cuda gave their fans some hope and a reason to pay attention to the season finale on Saturday by scoring two-third period goals and holding off the Condors’ threat late in the game. They now have to play the waiting game to see what the outcome of the San Diego Gulls at Tuscon Roadrunners game tomorrow night. If the Gulls get a point, San Jose is eliminated from the playoff contention.

“We put ourselves in this hole,” head coach Roy Sommer said about his team not controlling their own fate. “We just kinda have to live with it. You can’t say anybody has thrown in the towel here. I’m really proud of the way they’ve been playing.”

Bakersfield drew first blood in the first period. Tyler Benson fed a pass over to Kyle Platzer who fired a shot top-shelf past Cuda goalie Stephon Williams (3-1-0) for his eighth goal of the season at the 8:45 mark. Dmitri Samorukov received the secondary assist.

San Jose would stay red-hot on the power play as the were able to get the equalizer goal when Emerson Clark fed a cross-ice pass over to Manny Wiederer, who came crashing in from the right slot and one-timed a shot top-shelf past Condors goalie Nick Ellis (9-10-2) for his ninth goal of the season at the 16:43 mark of the first period. Radim Simek received the secondary assist. It was the 10th consecutive game the Cuda converted on the man advantage.

“That (goal) kinda got us jump started,” said Sommer. “The power play has scored in 10 straight games. A lot of good things are happening for us right now. I just hope it’s enough (to make the playoffs).”

The Cuda would gain the lead in the second period when Rourke Chartier fed a pass at the blue line up to Rudolfs Balcers that led to a 2-on-1 with Ivan Chekhovich. Balcers fed a perfect pass over to Chekhovich and he buried the puck past Ellis for his third goal in five games for the Cuda at the 7:46 mark.

Bakersfield would tied the game on the power play when Cooper Marody pinched in from the point to punch home a rebound that pinballed off David Gust to the left side of the crease where Marody was set up. Marody’s first professional goal of his career came at the 13:48 mark of the second period.

San Jose would go up 3-2 in the third period after a wild play in front of Ellis. Maintaining pressure inside the Condor zone, Colby McAuley put on a shot on net that created a mad scramble in front of the net with four Barracuda players that swarmed in front of the net. In a sea of madness, Radim Simek was able to poke home the puck past Ellis for his seventh goal on the season at the 6:43 mark. Alex True received the primary assist.

Sasha Chmelevski gave the Cuda what proved to be the game-winning goal when he was able to anticipate a clearing attempt in the Condor zone. He was able to strip the puck off the Condor defenseman, skate toward the middle of the ice and from the right slot lasered the puck in the upper left hand corner of the net for his third goal in five games at the 12:50 mark.

“The D was coming right at me, so I made a move around them,” said Chmelevski after the game. “Shot across the grain, it was a good shot. Anytime I like to cut across the ice, I feel more comfortable doing it. It’s more instinct than anything.”

Bakersfield wouldn’t go away quietly. Joey Leleggia cut the lead to the one when he scored his 14th goal on the season. Zach O’Brien skated into the Cuda zone, passed it over to Benson, who one-timed a pass over to Leleggia. With Noah Rod draped all over him, Leleggia snapped a shot past Williams with exactly five minutes left in the period.

Williams made 15 saves on 18 shots to earn the victory. Ellis made 30 saves on 34 shots in valiant effort in the defeat.

“The beautiful thing about hockey is, it’s not always perfect,” said Williams. “It’s about the team who buys in the most and wants it. I think it showed in the final scoreboard.”

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1/4 on the power play. Bakersfield scored on their only power play opportunity.

All-Star goalie Antoine Bibeau was called up to the San Jose Sharks for their first round playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks. Nick Cafrelli served as the backup goaltender.

Balcers’ four-game goal streak was snapped.

The announced crowd for the final regular season home game was 6,250.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda travel up to Stockton for the final game of the regular season against the Heat on Saturday, April 14 at 7 pm PT.

Barracuda down the Condors 2-1 in a must-win game

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

The San Jose Barracuda (32-26-4-4) continued their late season magic in another must win game with a 2-1 victory over the the Bakersfield Condors (30-26-9-1) on Wednesday evening at Rabobank Arena. Combined with the San Diego Gulls 4-0 loss to the Tuscon Roadrunners, the Cuda’s fourth consecutive victory kept their faint playoff hopes alive for another day.

In order for San Jose to make the playoffs, they need to win out their final two games AND San Diego to lose out their final two remaining games as the Texas Stars have already clinched a playoff berth.

There was no scoring or penalties in the first period. Both goaltenders kept the game scoreless, thanks to a big save by each netminder. Cuda goalie Antonie Bibeau (22-14-4) made a point blank save on Joe Gambardella midway through the first period. Condors goalie Laurent Brossoit (14-10-4) made a fantastic stop on a Rourke Chartier shot headed toward the back of the net and then seconds later on a Rudolfs Balcers rebound attempt with under three minutes left in the opening frame. San Jose outshot Bakersfield 12-11.

Chartier had a chance to give the Cuda an early lead three minutes into the second period when he skated in on a breakaway. However, his shot missed to the right of the goal.

San Jose would cash in on a 5-on-3 power play opportunity. Chartier sent over a pass to Balcers, who fired home a shot past Brossoit for his team-leading 23rd goal (and eighth power play goal) on the season at the 13:36 mark of the second period.  His 23rd goal had tied the Cuda rookie goal record set last year by Danny O’Reagan. Tim Heed received the secondary assist.

The Cuda dominated the second period as they out shot the Condors 16-3 and controlled play throughout period, thanks to three power play opportunities.

Chartier, who was snake-bitten earlier in the game, gave the Cuda an insurance goal when he buried a one-timer underneath the pad of Brossoit after a set-up pass by Ivan Chekhovich at the 10:59 mark of the third period. In just four games with the Cuda, Chekhovich already has seven points (2G, 5A). Chartier’s seventh goal makes it two goals in the past three games after going the previous 10 without a goal. Nick DeSimone received the secondary assist.

Tyler Vesel would get the Condors on the board late in the third period. Cooper Marody led a 2-on-1 odd man rush and sent a pass over to Vesel, who fired a shot past the left pad of Bibeau for his second goal of the season at the 16:43 mark. It was Vesel’s fourth point in just his ninth game with Bakersfield. Marody’s assist was his first professional point of his career.

Bibeau made 22 saves on 23 shots he faced to earn the victory. He is now 4-3 against Bakersfield this season.

Brossoit made 32 saves on 34 shots in the defeat. He is now 2-3 against San Jose this season.

GAME NOTES: San Jose went 1/4 on the power play. It was the 9th straight game they have scored a power play goal. Bakersfield was 0/2.

Balcers is currently on a four-game goal streak. Cuda killer Josh Currie was kept off the score sheet. He has seven goals and five assists in eight games against the Cuda this season, including two hat tricks.

Jacob Middleton was injured with a lower body injury under two minutes in the first period. He returned back to action in the second period.

This was the first regulation win at Rabobank Arena for San Jose this season.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda return home for the season home finale and Fan Appreciate Night against the Bakersfield Condors in the back end of the home and series tomorrow 4/12 at the SAP Center.

Barracuda’s win streak ends at four as Currie powers Condors’ explosive attack in 8-4 triumph

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

Josh Currie wished he could play every game against the San Jose Barracuda (26-23-3-3 as his fifth career hat trick powered the Bakersfield Condors (24-22-9-1) to a 8-4 victory on Friday evening at Rabobank Arena. The loss snapped the Cuda’s four-game winning streak.

For Currie, also known as the Cuda killer, it was his second hat trick of the season against San Jose, and third overall against his NorCal rival. It was also his 14th career goal versus the Cuda and eighth goal in eight games so far this season.

The Cuda got the start they wanted getting on the board just 33 seconds into the game as Adam Helewka sent a shot in on net that rebounded off Condors goalie Laurent Brossoit (9-6-4) right to the stick of rookie sensation Rudolfs Balcers, who banged the puck into an empty net for with his team leading 17th goal of the season. Cuda captain John McCarthy received the secondary assist on the goal.

The Condors were able to tie the game up late in the first period when David Gust was able to make a great back-door pass over to Greyson Downing for an easy tap-in goal past Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau (18-11-2) at the 14:10 mark. It was Downing’s fourth goal of the season.

The Cuda regained the lead with just under a minute left in the period when Helewka controlled the puck from left corner and circled around the zone before snapping home a shot over the left shoulder of Brossoit for a 2-1 lead. Helewka’s ninth goal of the season came on an almost impossible angle that surprised Brossoit at the 19:08 mark. Balcers received the lone assist on the goal.

The lead was short-lived. Just 35 seconds later, Currie scored his first of three consecutive goals and 17th goal of the season. Currie was able to make a move to skate around Sam Warning from the slot and fired a shot past Bibeau to complete a wild final minute of action.

Currie would give back the lead to Bakersfield with his second goal of the night just 19 seconds into the second period. Currie had a nice give-and-go with Joey LeLeggia, who dropped it back to Currie. Currie proceed to fire a one-timer past Bibeau for his team-leading 18th goal of the season.

The Cuda would fall victim to some bad luck when the Condors scored off a shot by Patrick Russell that hit off the back of Nick DeSimone and ricocheted into the net. The unassisted goal was Russell’s 10th goal of the season at the 5:19 mark of the second period.

Currie completed his hat trick against the Cuda when he was able to shoot the puck between his legs that snuck under the blocker of a surprised Bibeau. Zach O’Brien and Leleggia assisted on Curry’s 19th goal on the year at 13:37 mark of the second period.

The Cuda would get two goals 21 seconds apart in the first two minutes of the third period when Radim Simek put home a rebound off a Brandon Mashinter shot for his sixth goal of the season at the 1:33 mark. Then Colby McAuley would take advantage of a Condor turnover when he was able to roof a backhander top-shelf past Brossoit for his second career goal at the 1:54 mark to make it a one-goal game at 5-4.

However, Bakersfield regained their composure and scored the next three goals to squash any Cuda comeback attempt. Russell scored his second goal of the night after sending in an innocent-looking wrist shot that caught Bibeau by surprise as the puck cruised past his blocker for Russell’s 11th goal on the year at the 5:29 mark. Evan Polei had a puck ricochet off his jersey from a shot that hit the post for his third goal of the season at the 9:06 mark.

Polie would get his first multi-goal game when he completed the scoring for the Condors with an empty-netter at the 18:59 mark.

Brossoit made 23 saves on 27 shots to earn the victory, while Bibeau took the tough loss, making 23 saves on 30 shots.

GAMES NOTES: Both teams went 0/2 on their power plays, respectively.

Bakersfield was without their leading scorer, Ty Rattie, who was recalled up to the Edmonton Oilers. McCarthy is currently on a three-game point streak.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda travel down the road to Ontario to take on the Reign on Sunday 3/18. Faceoff is at 3 pm PST.

SJ Barracuda snap four-game losing streak with 2-1 overtime victory over Condors

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE — Rourke Chartier isn’t Superman, but he was a super hero for 4,994 screaming kids on Cuda Classroom Day with his game-winning goal in overtime to give the San Jose Barracuda (23-22-3-3) a 2-1 victory over the Bakersfield Condors (21-21-8-1) and snapped the Cuda’s four-game losing streak on Friday afternoon at SAP Center.

Chartier’s heroics came after taking a feed from Adam Helewka and firing home a shot past Condors goalie Laurent Brossoit (6-5-3) into the back of the net at the 3:04 mark of the overtime period. Chartier has been playing some solid hockey for San Jose since coming off injured reserve, where he missed 30 games.

It looked like Bakersfield was going to spoil the party when they opened up the scoring just 11 seconds after the opening faceoff. Zach O’Brien won a battle along the left boards and was able to make a pass over to a wide-open Joey Laleggia in the middle of the slot. Laleggia skated in all alone on Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau (15-11-2) and snapped a shot past Bibeau for his ninth goal of the season.

The Cuda had three chances to tied the game late in the first period. Helweka missed a penalty shot at the 14:45 mark. Caleb Herbert’s shot hit off the post with four minutes left in the first period. Brandon Mashinter received a gift from Brossoit when he turned the puck over right to Mashinter’s stick five feet to the left of the net, but the Cuda forward wasn’t able to cash in on his golden opportunity.

San Jose’s woeful power play would get them on the board in the secod period. Rudolfs Balcers received a pass from the behind the net and fed it out to an open Julius Bergman at the right point, who blasted a shot past Brossoit for his seventh goal of the season to tie the game up at 1-1. Calvan Fitzgerald also received the secondary assist at the 10:15 mark.

The third period featured a parade to the penalty box as both teams combined for nine penalties as things got chippy out on the ice. The Cuda squandered a 5-on-3 power play opportunity early on in the period when Caleb Jones and Brad Malone both went to the sin bin for high sticking 46 seconds apart. San Jose also couldn’t capitalize on the power play with just over two minutes to play in the third period when Bakersfield’s Eric Gryba was called for slashing.

Bibeau earned the win making 23 saves on 24 shots to snap his own personal losing streak. Brossoit suffered the tough luck loss, stopping 35 Cuda shots on 37 attempts.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was a dreadful 1/10 on the power play, while Bakersfield was just as ineffective, going 0/6.

This was the first annual Cuda Classroom Day. The game featured captain John McCarthy’s first game back with the Cuda since returning from the Olympics as a member of Team USA in Pyeongchang, South Korea. FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT! There were two fights in the first period. Emerson Clark and Even Polei scrapped two minutes into game. Jon Martin and Keegan Lowe dropped the gloves at the 8:35 mark of the first period.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda continue their four-game homestand when they take on their Southern California rival Ontario Reign on Sunday afternoon at the SAP Center. Face off is scheduled for 12 pm PT.