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