Photo credit: @sjbarracuda
By: Marko Ukalovic
The San Jose Barracuda reversed their fortunes in thundering fashion. They scored three-unanswered goals in the first period and never took their foot off the gas in an explosive 9-0 shutout victory over the Colorado Eagles on Sunday afternoon at SAP Center.
The Barracuda set a franchise record with their nine-goal outburst. The loss snapped the Eagles nine-game winning streak and with the win, the Cuda are in a three-way tie with the Eagles and San Diego Gulls for second place in the Pacific Division at 70 points with 11 games left in the regular season.
San Jose (32-19-2-4) struck first and often in the first period. John McCarthy led a 2-on-1, fed a pass over to Jeffery Viel and rifled a shot past Eagles goalie Pavel Francouz (25-14-2) for his eighth goal of the season at the 2:10 mark.
The Cuda doubled their lead over five minutes later when Lukas Radil sent a pass over to Nick DeSimone whose wrist shot was stopped by Francouz. DeSimone collected his own rebound and cashed in for his 11th goal of the season at the 7:42 mark.
The Cuda defense continued the scoring when Cavan Fitzgerald found his way on a breakaway just before the end of the opening frame. As he skated in, he fumbled the puck, regained possession and then made a nice deke in the crease and put the pack over the glove of Francouz for his fifth goal of the season at the 18:20 mark.
San Jose completely dominated Colorado (33-23-3-1) in the first period as they out shot the Eagles 17-7 and had the ice tilted in their favor.
Things got chippy to start the second period. Matching roughing penalties were issued to Fitzgerald and AJ Greer just 10 seconds in. Then, Jon Martin and Mark Alt exchanged some pleasantries with one another three minutes later that also resulted in matching roughing penalties.
The Cuda extended their lead by four goals when they were pressuring in the Eagles’ zone. TJ Hensick’s shot was stopped but not controlled by Francouz. Radil was on the far side to collect the rebound and lifted it over his left pad of a sprawling Francouz for his third goal of the season and second in back to back to games at the 5:24 mark. Jacob Middleton was credited with the secondary assist.
San Jose put the game away less than nine minutes remaining in the middle frame. Thomas Gregoire ripped a shot from the point that Francis Perron, who was able to get his stick on the puck to redirect it past Francouz for his 17th goal of the season at the 11:42 mark. Fitzgerald was credited with the secondary assist.
That would be the end of the afternoon for Francouz as he replaced by Spencer Martin. Francouz gave up fives goals on 25 shots in suffering the loss for the first time in his last eight games.
TJ Hensick joined the scoring party with 1:49 left in the middle frame when he received a pass from Radil and he sneaked a wrist shot past the Martin for his fourth goal of the season at the 18:11 mark. Maxim Letunov received the secondary assist.
San Jose added the extra point half way through the third period. Letunov sent a shot on a goal where defenseman Thomas Gregoire crashed the net and jammed home the rebound for his first pro goal at the 10:16 mark. Hensick had the secondary assist.
Gregoire wasn’t satisfied with just one goal as he gave an encore just 59 seconds later. He sent a wicked wrister from the right point that found its way past Martin for his second goal of the game at the 11:15 mark. Jon Martin and Perron received assists on the play.
Jayden Halbgewachs completed the scoring as the eighth different goal scorer for San Jose. He weaved through the high slot and snapped home a wrist shot past Martin his 11th goal of the season at the 12:24 mark. The goal ended an 18 game scoreless drought. Middleton and captain John McCarthy were credited with assists.
Cuda goalie Josef Korenar (20-8-1) stopped all 31 shots for his 20th win and fourth shutout of the season. The win snapped Korenar’s three-game losing streak. Martin made 11 saves on 15 shots in mop-up duty.
GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0/4 on the power play. Colorado was 0/6.
The Cuda are 6-1 when wearing a specialty/throwback jersey. They wore green jerseys in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
San Jose is 3-1-1-1 against Colorado this season.
The announced attendance was 4,051.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda go back on the road to start a three game road trip in Tuscon as the take on the Roadrunners on Saturday 3/23 at 7:05 pm at Tuscon Convention Center Arena.