Barracuda dethrone the Reign in 5-0 shutout

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Barracuda fighting for their playoff lives, used the power play to their advantage and cruised their way to a 5-0 shutout win over their Pacific Division rival, the Ontario Reign, on Friday evening at SAP Center.

With the win coupled with San Diego’s loss to Bakersfield, San Jose is now in sole possession of second place in the division with 75 points, two points ahead of the Gulls with seven games left in the regular season.

San Jose (34-20-3-4) drew first blood halfway through the first period. Evan Weinger led a rush, where he sent a drop pass down to Jayden Halbgewachs, who threaded a pass over to John McCarthy at the left slot. The Cuda captain buried the puck past Reign goalie Cal Petersen (10-18-3) to the right side for a tic-tac-toe goal and his 12th of the season at the 10:39 mark.

The Cuda doubled their lead as they beat the buzzer at the end of the opening frame. Jacob Middleton sent in a shot from the point that was blocked. McCarthy seized the puck and snapped a back-hander past Petersen for his second goal of the evening and 13th on the season with 0.5 seconds left to give San Jose a 2-0 advantage heading into the first intermission.

The Cuda opened up the second period with a power play goal. TJ Hensick fed a pass over to Nick DeSimone, who fired a shot that ricochet off Reign defenseman Daniel Brickley that rattled into the back of the net for DeSimone’s 13th goal of the season at the 6:44 mark. Francis Perron was credited with the secondary assist.

The Reign (22-30-6-3) could not stay out of the sin-bin as San Jose continued their dominance on the power play just over two minutes later. It took them 16 seconds to score on the hooking penalty by Nikita Scherbak. Hensick found an open Jeffery Viel, who wasted no time beating Petersen with a wrist shot for his ninth goal of the season at the 9:10 mark.

Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau (14-12-5) was sharp, despite the lack of shots he saw. He made two spectacular saves in the middle frame. First, he stoned an attempt by Sam Herr on a two-on-one odd man rush. Then, with a little over a minute left, he robbed Brett Sutter when he reached out along with his left arm to keep the puck out of the back of the net.

Anti Suomela completed the scoring with 22 seconds left in the game as fired a shot off the cross-bar and into the back of the net for his sixth goal of the season at the 19:38 mark. Viel and Matt Fonteyne received assists on the goal.

Bibeau has won back-to-back games as he stopped all 21 shots he faced to earn his 14th win of the season and his first shutout of the season. Petersen made 24 saves on 29 shots in suffering the loss.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 2/4 on the power play. Ontario was 0/1.

McCarthy played in his 251st game in a Cuda uniform, a franchise record.

San Jose went 5-3 in the season series against Ontario.

DeSimone now has a current seven-game point streak, a career-best for the Cuda defenseman.

Bibeau has 16 career shutouts.

The announced attendance was 4,187.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda travel down to Bakersfield to take on the Condors on Saturday, March 30 at 7:00 pm at Rabobank Arena.

Golden Knights continue late surge, defeat Sharks 7-3 at SAP

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Monday, March 18, 2019

The surging Vegas Golden Knights continued their winning ways on Monday at SAP Center, upending the San Jose Sharks 7-3 in a possible NHL West playoff preview.

It was the Golden Knights’ ninth win in their last 10 games. Vegas (87 points) also moved within seven points of San Jose (94 points) for home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. The Sharks trail Pacific Division-leading Calgary (95 points) by one point.

San Jose lost its third consecutive home game in regulation for the first time in three seasons, failing in another opportunity to clinch a playoff berth.

Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault each earned four points in the victory for Vegas. Smith had three assists and added a goal in the third period. Marchessault had one goal and two assists in the first period and tacked on an empty-net tally in the third.

While William Karlsson, Mark Stone, Paul Stastny and Cody Eakin also scored for the Knights, goaltender Malcolm Subban stopped 36 San Jose shots while filling in for the injured Marc-Andre Fleury.

Logan Couture scored two goals and Joe Thornton added one tally for the Sharks. Martin Jones surrendered three goals on 11 shots before he was replaced by Aaron Dell in the opening period. Marchessault’s goal from a bad angle ended Jones’ night.

Couture’s first goal gave him 500 career points.

Though Evander Kane was back in the Sharks’ lineup, captain Joe Pavelski missed his first game with an injury since January of 2011. Pavelski took a hard hit in Saturday’s game against Nashville.

The Sharks visit Los Angeles on Thursday to face the Kings at 7:30 pm.

Barracuda set franchise record in 9-0 shutout win over Eagles

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.

Eagles edge out Barracuda in 3-2 win

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

by Marko Ukalovic

The Colorado Eagles are playing like a team that can’t lose. They scored three unanswered goals in the second period and then held on to beat the San Jose Barracuda on Saturday afternoon at SAP Center.

Colorado (33-22-3-1) has won nine games in a row and have jumped both San Jose and San Diego for second place in the Pacific Division with 70 points. The Cuda have lost five of their past six games.

San Jose (31-19-2-4) drew first blood late in the first period on a 3-on-2 odd man rush. Maxim Letunov sent a pass over to Lukas Radil, who played in his first game since being sent down by the San Jose Sharks, and Radil lasered a wrist shot past Eagles goalie Pavel Francouz (25-13-2) on the far side for his second goal of the season at the 19:00 mark.

In the second period, Colorado took control of the game. Max McCormick sent over a cross-ice pass over to Logan O’Connor on a 2-on-1 opportunity and O’Connor buried a one-timer past Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau (12-11-5) for his 15th goal of the season at the 3:42 mark.

The Eagles went ahead two goals toward the end of the middle frame when AJ Greer from below the goal line sent a pass over to Igor Shvyrev, who blasted a wrist show over the glove of Bibeau for his sixth goal of the season at the 16:12 mark.

Then, just over a minute later, another 2-on-1 odd man rush led to a mini breakaway for Sheldon Dries, who made a nice deke going forehand-to-backhand as he slid the puck past Bibeau for his third goal of the season at the 17:28 mark for a 3-1 lead.

The Cuda looked like they would have a consecutive game with a third period comeback. Jayden Halbgewachs sent a zone-wide pass over to John McCarthy and the Barracuda captain fired a wrist shot past Francouz for his 10th goal of the season at the 4:47 mark.

However San Jose was not able to get the equalizer late in the period when they pulled Bibeau for an extra attacker.

Francouz stopped 23 of the 25 shots he faced to earn his 25th win of the season. Bibeau made 20 saves on 23 shots in suffering the tough luck loss.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0/2 on the power play. Colorado was 0/3.

The announced attendance was 3,353.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda take on the Eagles on Sunday 3/17 at 3:00 pm at SAP Center.

Barracuda snap losing skid with 5-4 shootout victory over Heat

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

by Marko Ukalovic

The San Jose Barracuda had looked like the playing of a broken record in five straight games with the opposing team, scoring the first two goals in the first period to take control of the game. However, three unanswered goals in the third period paved the way for a 5-4 comeback shootout victory over the Stockton Heat on Sunday afternoon at SAP Center.

The Cuda desperately snapped their four-game losing skid and have won their third consecutive shootout (4-4). Francis Perron scored the only goal in the shootout as Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau was perfect stopping all three Stockton attempts.

Stockton (25-26-4-2) drew first blood while short-handed in the first period. Ryan Lomberg led a 2-on-1 odd man rush Dillon Dube. Lomberg connected with Dube who beat Bibeau (12-10-5) for his 13th goal of the season at the 6:11 mark. Juuso Valimaki received the secondary assist on Dube’s second short-handed goal in consecutive games. It was the 16th short-handed goal for Stockton this season, which leads the AHL.

The Heat doubled their lead after taking advantage of a failed Cuda clearing attempt. Spencer Foo kept the puck in, fed a pass over to Tyler Graovac, who found an open Dube, who put the puck past Bibeau for his second goal and 14th of the season at the 9:04 mark.

San Jose (31-18-2-1) cut the lead in half early in the second period. Francis Perron was able to tip home a shot from the point by Kyle Wood, who broke his stick on the shot, past Heat goalie Jon Gillies (13-15-5) for his 16th goal of the season at the 2:47 mark. The goal broke a 10-game goal-less drought for Perron.

Stockton regained their two-goal lead when Foo scored his 15th goal of the season on the power play at the 8:36 mark. Dube and Valimaki were credited with assists.

Graovac made it 4-1 when he scored his 20th goal of the season at the 17:47 mark. Foo and Dube, who was involved in the scoring of all four Stockton goals, received assists.

The third period belonged to San Jose as they scored three unanswered goals to tie the game and force overtime.

Evan Weinger jammed home his own rebound after his initial redirection of a shot from the point by Matt Fonteyne hit the right post. It was Weinger’s ninth goal of the season at the 10:11 mark of the third period. Nick DeSimone was credited with the secondary assist.

Alex True cut the deficit to a one-goal game. With Bibeau pulled for an extra attacker, True received the puck from Maxim Letunov, turned and fired the puck through a sea of traffic past Gillies for his team-leading 21st goal of the season at the 18:33. Jeremy Roy received the secondary assist.

TJ Hensick brought down the house with the game equalizer with 1:05 left in the game while the Cuda had a 6-on-4 advantage with Valimaki in the sin-bin for cross checking. DeSimone and Jayden Halbgewachs were credited assists on Hensick third goal of the season.

Stockton had a power play opportunity in the over time session but weren’t able to cash in, thanks to Bibeau making a few big saves to send the game to the shootout.

Bibeau made 16 saves on 20 to earn his 12th victory of the season. Gillies finished with 31 saves on 35 shots in suffering the defeat .

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1/6 on the power play despite the Heat having the 30th ranked penalty kill in the league. Stockton was 1/5.

Jon Martin and Buddy Robinson exchanged fisticuffs late in the first period.

The announce attendance was 4,642. It was the second annual Pucks and Paws Day, where fans were able to bring their dogs to the game.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda host the Colorado Eagles on Saturday 3/16 at 1:15 pm at SAP Center.

Condors thrash Barracuda 7-1

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

by Marko Ukalovic

A different game on a different day and time, but the same dominant result. For the third consecutive game, the San Jose Barracuda weren’t able to slow down the red-hot Bakersfield Condors in a 7-1 loss to the Pacific Division leaders on Saturday evening at SAP Center.

The Condors have won 20 of their last 21 games (and the last five straight versus San Jose), while the Barracuda have lost their fourth in a row for the first time all season and are winless in the month of March.

Bakersfield (36-17-2-1) drew first blood in the first period. Logan Day fed a pass that led to a breakaway for Tyler Benson. Benson skated in and beat Cuda goalie Josef Korenar (19-8-1) with a wrist shot on the far side for his 11th goal of the season at the 4:34 mark.

The Condors doubled their lead late in the opening frame when William Lagesson received the puck at the left point from Luke Esposito and his shot went past a body of traffic and trickled through the five-hole of Korenar for his sixth goal of the season at the 14:48 mark.

San Jose (30-18-2-4) had a chance to break the seal four minutes into the second period. A big hit by Cavan Fitzgerald on Joe Gambardella in the middle of the ice led to a breakaway for Jayden Halbgewachs, but Condors goalie Shane Starrett (23-4-3) stoned his attempt.

The Cuda cut the lead in half when a mad scramble in the front of the net led to Maxim Letunov being the last one to touch the puck that slid past Starrett for his 10th goal of the season at the 5:31 mark. Alex True and TJ Hensick were credited with assists.

Less than a minute later, Bakersfield shell shocked San Jose by scoring two goals in 21 seconds. Benson found Cooper Marody in the slot and his one-timer beat Korenar for his 14th goal of the season at the 6:20 mark.

Then, Patrick Russell picked up a loose puck from a shot from the point by Lagesson that hit off a body in front and was able to bury the puck past Korenar with a turnaround shot for his 16th goal of the season at the 6:41 mark for a 4-1 lead.

Bakersfield scored their third unanswered goal of the period when Braden Christopher cashed home a rebound in the slot off a Ryan Stanton shot from the point for his fifth goal of the season at the 12:45 mark. Marody received the secondary assist.

Russell scored his second goal of the evening and 17th of the season on the power play in the third period. Gambardella fed a pass over to Russell, whose one-timer beat Korenar at the 7:00 mark. Ethan Bear recorded the secondary assist.

Evan Polei fired a slap shot past Korenar for his eighth goal of the season at the 15:07 mark to complete the scoring for Bakersfield. Mitch Callahan and David Gust were credited with assists.

Starrett 27 of the 28 shots he faced to earn his 23rd victory of the season and 16 of his last 17 games. Korenar made 25 saves on 32 shots in suffering the defeat.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0/3 on the power play. Bakersfield was 1/3.

Bakersfield is now 4-3-1-1 in the season series against San Jose with one more game left between the two teams on March 30th.

The announced attendance was 8,415 set a franchise record and was the highest attendance of the season for San Jose at SAP Center.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda continue their five-game homestand as they host NorCal rival, the Stockton Heat, on Sunday 3/10 at 3:00 pm.

Sharks continue home dominance over Canadiens with 5-2 win

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Thursday, March 7, 2019

San Jose continued its two-decade home dominance over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night at SAP Center, winning 5-2.

The Sharks haven’t lost a home game to the Habs since Nov. 23, 1999, winning 12 straight over Montreal during that span. It was also San Jose’s eighth straight win overall in the series.

Tomas Hertl scored his career-high 30th goal of the season to spark the Sharks’ offense, and goaltender Martin Jones recorded 37 saves. In addition, Marcus Sorensen and Timo Meier each scored for the third straight game, Joe Thornton scored a goal, and Gustav Nyquist tacked on an empty-net goal for his first tally since joining San Jose.

With Calgary’s loss to Arizona, the Sharks pulled to within one point of the Flames in the NHL Pacific Division race with a game in hand.

Scoring for Montreal was Artturi Lehkonen and Andrew Shaw. The Canadiens remain two points ahead of Columbus in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race. Habs goaltender Antti Niemi made 20 saves.

San Jose won despite being outplayed for most of the contest, in part because of a flu bug that’s hit the team recently. The Sharks led 3-1 in the second period despite being outshot 23-8 at that juncture. Montreal also outshot the Sharks 16-5 in the first period.

By assisting on Sorensen’s goal, San Jose defenseman Brent Burns picked up his 60th helper of the season.

Erik Karlsson (groin) and Evander Kane were injury scratches for the third straight game for San Jose. The Sharks host St. Louis on Saturday.

Condors dominate in 8-4 win over Barracuda

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Bakersfield Condors are a reckoning force that can not be stopped. They dominated from start to finish as they scored four unanswered goals in the first period on their way to a commanding 8-4 victory over the San Jose Barracuda on Wednesday evening at SAP Center.

For Bakersfield they have won 19 of their last 20 games and have a firm grip on the Pacific Division standings with 73 points and a seven point lead on both San Jose and San Diego. The Cuda have lost three in a row for the second time this season.

Bakersfield (35-16-2-1) drew first blood in the first period. Cooper Marody led a two-on-one odd man rush with Tyler Benson after a turnover in the neutral zone. A nice give and go between Benson and Marody resulted in Benson beating Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau (11-10-5) to the left side of the net for his 10th goal of the season at 7:49 mark. Kailer Yamamoto received the secondary assist.

The Condors doubled their lead when Marody worked a pretty give and go with Yamamoto. Marody skated in from the right slot and fed a pass over to the Yamamoto at the left faceoff circle and he buried a one-timer past Bibeau for his 10th goal of the season at the 13:12 mark. Logan Day received the secondary assist.

Bakersfield extended their lead over two minutes later. Mitch Callahan chased down a puck near the blue line and sent a wrist shot at the net, where Bibeau initially saved but David Gust, who had crashed the net, was able to gather the rebound and shoot it around Bibeau for his 15th goal of the season at the 15:36 mark. That would be the end of Bibeau’s night as he was replaced by Josef Korenar.

San Jose (30-17-2-4) had a chance to break the seal late in the first period when they had a five-on-three power play, but weren’t able to take advantage of the opportunity once Dylan Gambrell went into the sin bin for interference with just under 30 seconds left on the power play.

“We gotta play better defensively,” said Cuda head coach Roy Sommer. “You can talk about offense all you want but we can’t give up this many pucks. We’re not stopping shots. We were doing that before. We were getting big saves and we’re not getting that right now.”

The Condors did take advantage with their brief power play opportunity right before the period ended. Caleb Jones sent in a shot from the point where Patrick Russell deflected the puck off Korenar and a crashing Callahan was able to tap in the puck into a wide-open net for his 11th goal of the season at 19:34 mark to end a dominating opening 20 minutes by Bakersfield in which they out shot San Jose 16-7.

Bakersfield kept pouring it on to start the second period. Gust led a two-on-one into the Cuda zone. He lost control of the puck that pinballed in front of the crease off the skate of Evan Polei past Korenar on the short side for his sixth goal of the season at the 2:27 mark.

“It’s really frustrating,” said captain John McCarthy. “We’re going through some adversity which the first half of the year we didn’t have. It’s on us as a group to figure it out. We still got 15 games left (in the season) to turn things around and got ourselves in the playoffs.”

San Jose finally broke through in the second period. TJ Hensick fed a cross ice pass from his own blue line over to a wide open Anti Suomela who skated in alone on a breakaway and beat Condors goalie Shane Starrett (22-4-3) with a wrist shot through the five-hole  for his fifth goal of the season at the 7:25 mark. Cavan Fitzgerald picked up the secondary assist.

Bakersfield regained their five-goal lead right at the end of the middle frame. Gust skated in between the face off circles and sent a pass over to William Lagesson at the left circle and he blasted a slap shot top-self into the far corner of the net for his fifth goal of the season at the 18:42 mark.

San Jose made it interesting in the third period. Jacob Middleton brought the deficit to 6-2 when he won a battle along the left boards. He skated the puck back out to the point where he wristed a shot past Starrett for his fourth goal of the season at 3:16 mark. Jeffery Viel and Jon Martin were credited with assists.

“Scoring goals is always fun,” said Middleton. “But if you can come out on top with a win, it would be a lot more fun. You play to win the game.”

Middleton wasn’t done as just over a minute later he scored his second goal of the evening. He skated into the Condor zone, fed a pass over to Hensick who fed it right back to a Middleton and he snapped a wrist shot past Starrett to the left side of the net for his fifth goal of the season at the 4:21 mark.

“I don’t think we’ve been playing what I like to call Cuda hockey as of late,” said Middleton. “I think we’ve been letting other teams slow us down and box us out. If we get back to doing what made us successful (earlier in the season), it will be good and that is a necessity at this point of the season.”

San Jose scored its third unanswered goal of the period when Francis Perron sent in a shot from the left point that caromed off the back boards onto the stick of Alex True who fed a sweet backhand pass over to Dylan Gambrell all alone on the left side of the net. Gambrell buried the puck past Starrett for his 16th goal of the season at the 10:21 mark.

Bakersfield regained a three-goal lead when Gust sent in a shot from the point that ricochet off Korenar and Ethan Bear onto the stick of Polei. After three whacks at the pick, Polei scored his second goal of the evening and seventh goal of the season at the 13:22 mark.

“Yeah, big time!” said a frustrated Sommer when asked if his team’s losing streak is a result of not paying attention to details. “We got a lot of guys that aren’t committed to playing the way we were playing before that’s for sure.”

Joe Gambradella completed the scoring with an empty netter for his team leading 27th goal of the season at the 17:45 mark.

Starrett finished the game making 33 saves on 37 shots to earn the victory. Bibeau gave up three goals on just 12 shots. Korenar (19-7-1) suffered the loss as he made 13 saves on 17 shots in mop-up duty.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0/4 on the power play. Bakersfield was 1/2.

San Jose has lost the last four games to Bakersfield and are 3-3-1-1 on the season against their Pacific Division rival.

The announced attendance was 2,360.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda take on the Condors on Saturday 3/9 in the second game of a five game homestand at 6:00 pm at SAP Center.

Barracuda comes up large in third period to down Wild 5-3

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Barracuda took on the Iowa Wild on Tuesday evening at SAP Center.

Iowa drew first blood in the first period on a counter attack after San Jose failed to cash in on an odd-man rush. Dmitry Solokov fed a pass over to Matt Read whose shot was initially saved by Cuda goalie Joeef Korenar but the rebound was cleaned up by Mitch McClain for his eighth goal of the season at the 16:08 mark.

San Jose received the equalizer while killing a Wild power play early in the second period. A clean faceoff win by Dylan Gambrell inside the Wild zone went perfectly back to the right point where Nick DeSimone rifled a shot past Wild goalie Kaapo Khakonen just inside the right post for short-handed goal and 10th goal of the season at the 3:02 mark.

Iowa regained the lead as Cal O’Reilly was rewarded when he was the trailer on a three-on-one odd man rush. Gerald Mayhew led the rush and fed a back pass over O’Reilly, who buried the puck past Korenar top-shelf in the left corner of the goal for his 10th goal of the season at the 5:32 mark.

Iowa thought they had a two-goal lead 62 second later when Mason Shaw put the puck into the back of the net on a two-on-zero break but the whistle blew just before the puck went in as coincidental roughing minor penalties were called on Jacob Middleton and Kyle Rau as they tussled at the Cuda blue line.

Calvan Fitzgerald scored the equalizer early in the third period for San Jose. Francis Perron found a wide-open Fitzgerald, who skated into the shot and fired a shot past Khakonen for his fourth goal of the season at the 1:27 mark.

Gambrell then gave then gave the Cuda their first lead when he received a pass from TJ Hensick and buried a wrist shot past Khakonen for his 15th goal of the season at the 3:37 mark. Kyle Wood received the secondary assist.

San Jose extended their lead when Gambrell then fed a pass over to Jeremy Roy at the point and he wristed a shot past Khakonen for firth goal of the season at the 6:11 mark. Gambrell earned his third point of the night.

The Cuda put the game away when Nick DeSimone sent a pass from behind the right boards over a wide-open Jon Martin. Martin’s shot squeezed past Khakonen for his 10th goal of the season at the 11:17 mark. Perron received the secondary assist.

Korenar stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced to earn his 19th win of the season. Khakonen made 23 saves on 28 shots in suffering the loss.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0/2 on the power play. Iowa was 0/3.

Jonathan Dahlen made his debut for the Barracuda. He skated on a line with Alex True and Jon Martin. Dahlen, son of former San Jose Sharks foward Ulf Dahlen, was traded over to San Jose from Vancouver yesterday in a deal at the trade deadline for center Linus Karlsson. Dahlen has 14 goals, including eight on the power play, and 29 points he scored while with the Utica Comets of the AHL.

Gambrell changed his jersey number to seven with newly acquired Sharks foward Gustav Nyquist taking the number 14. Gambrell wore the number seven when he played collegiately at the University of Denver.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda travel down to Ontario to take on the Reign on Friday 3/1 at 7:00 pm at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

Thornton Scores Hat Trick, but Bruins Rally Late Amidst Controversy then Win 6-5 In OT

Photo credit: @BarDown 

By Jerry Feitelberg

Joe Thornton scored a hat trick and the San Jose Sharks erased a three-goal first period deficit, but the Boston Bruins escaped the SAP Center with a 6-5 overtime win Monday night. Charlie McAvoy scored the game-winner with 1:01 left in the extra skate to give Boston the sweep of the trio of California teams and Chris Wagner scored a controversial goal to tie the game late after Joe Thornton’s third goal gave the Sharks a then 5-4 lead.

Joe Pavelski had three points and Logan Couture picked up two in the loss. Neither San Jose’s Martin Jones (14 saves) nor Tuuka Rask of Boston (33 saves) were particularly sharp in net for their respective teams.

McAvoy’s overtime strike came after her and Evander Kane got tangled up in the Sharks offensive end after some physical play. Kane went off for a change, McAvoy stayed on and snuck into the slot for a pass from David Krejci (three assists), with the defenseman’s shot beating Jones for the win with 1:01 left in overtime.

The Bruins put themselves in the position to win despite managing only 20 shots, including four in the second period and seven in the third after Chris Wagner’s career-best eighth goal of the season. Wagner scored with 1:49 left in regulation after batting a puck down from midair behind Martin Jones. Since Wagner hit the puck once more before the puck crossed the goal-line and the official didn’t rule his touch a high stick and a stop of play, the play was not review-able and the game-tying goal counted. It was one of many moments of frustration between the Sharks and referees as Evander Kane also had a late breakaway blown dead after the Bruins net was dislodge and play continued without the net being replaced by a trailing official.

While one point is a small consolation for the Sharks, it was a tremendous comeback effort led by First Star and former Bruin Joe Thornton and teammate Joe Pavekski. With a first goal in toe for Jumbo but the Sharks trailing 3-1 after 20 minutes, the Sharks vets stepped up in a big way down the final 40. Pavelski scored a power play strike, his team-leading 32nd goal, 2:24 into the second to cut the Bruins’ lead to 3-2, but a Jake DeBrusk power play tally, one of three points for the winger, 6:30 into the second put the Bruins back up by two. Thornton scored his 12th goal of the season 3:57 from the second intermission and Logan Couture scored the ultra-rare short-handed penalty shot goal, beating Rask with 25 second left in the period after a Bruin covered the puck in the crease with their hand. Couture’s 22nd goal pulled San Jose down 4-3 heading into the final frame. Couture also assisted on Pavelski’s power play goal.

Thornton brought down a rain of hats with 6:28 left in regulation after doing something he was often criticized for not doing in Boston; he shot the puck. It was a rocket of a shot that may have deflected off McAvoy into the back of the net for Thornton’s first hat trick since 2010 and 13th goal of the year.

Boston held a 3-0 lead with just over 1:30 left in the first. Torey Krug picked up his sixth goal of the year 13:49 into the period on the man advantage, Zdeno Chara scored on a shot off a Sean Kuraly faceoff win 16:26 into the frame and Karson Kuhlman scored his first goal of his NHL career with 1:36 left in the period. Thornton scored with just three seconds left in the period to give San Jose a slight boost heading into the dressing room after the first period.

San Jose sits a point back of Calgary since the Flames won Monday night. The Sharks travel to Pittsburgh to face the former Stanley Cup foe Penguins Thursday, then travel to Columbus for a Saturday matchup against the Blue Jackets and then a Sunday tilt in the Motor City. The Sharks will then face these same Bruins in Boston in just over one week next Tuesday.