Photo credit: @sjbarracuda
By Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE, Calif. — On an eventful day that saw changes made within the parent club, the San Jose Barracuda took care of business with the help of Trevor Carrick’s first career hat trick in a 6-2 victory over the Bakersfield Condors on an emotional Friday evening at SAP Center.
This was the last ‘Cuda game with head coach Roy Sommer behind the bench as there was a big shakeup within the San Jose Sharks organization with the firing of Peter DeBoer earlier in the afternoon. Sommer has been promoted to as Sharks interim head coach and Bob Boughner as an associate coach. Assistant coaches Michael Chiasson and Jimmy Bonneau will share the ‘Cuda head coaching duties.
“It was kind of a shock really,” said Sommer about learning of his promotion to the Sharks. “But hey that’s what you wait around 23 years for. I’m gonna miss these guys. I’ll be at a lot of games. I mean we’re right next door.”
San Jose is now 3-2 against the Bakersfield in the season series and snapped a two-game losing streak against the Condors. With the win, the ‘Cuda have 20 points and jumped ahead into sixth place past San Diego in the Pacific Division. They are only one point behind the Condors for fifth place.
Bakersfield (9-11-2-1) jumped on San Jose right out of the gate. A clearing attempt by Jacob Middleton was knocked down by Joe Gambardella, The Condor left winger then quickly centered a pass through the crease over to Kailer Yamamoto and his one-timer beat ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar for his sixth goal of the season 13 seconds into the game. It was the second fastest goal to be scored against San Jose in franchise history.
San Jose (9-11-0-2) responded over three minutes later. Joachim Blichfeld led a 2-on-1 odd man rush with Jonny Brodzinski. Blichfeld crossed it over to Brodzinski and the Minnesota native delayed before wiring a wrist shot through the five-hole of Condors goalie Stuart Skinner for his fifth goal of the season at the 3:56 mark.
The line of Brodzinski, Blichfeld and Kellman have quickly become the top scoring line for San Jose and the three teammates have created quite the chemistry with one another.
“You know really clicking with the linemates. We’ve been feeding off each other. I feel like we’re very similar players. When you get guys on a line like that, special things can happen. It pays off on the scoresheet,” said Brodzinski.
Korenar settled down as he was tested often in the opening 20 minutes. He made two huge saves eight minutes in when he stoned Brad Malone’s breakaway chance and the subsequent rebound chance by Gambardella.
The ‘Cuda doubled their lead on an identical 2-on-1 odd man rush. Sasha Chmelevski led the rush with Lean Bergmann, who played in his first game since being reassigned to the ‘Cuda. The Hunington Beach native looked Bergmann’s way before firing a wrist shot top-shelf on the short side for his third goal of the season at the 11:37 mark.
Despite outshooting San Jose 15-12, Bakersfield found themselves down by a goal at the first intermission.
San Jose carried the momentum of the first period right into the beginning of the middle frame as they scored two goals in a 45 second span during the first five minutes.
Jeffery Viel centered a pass in between the faceoff circles over to Carrick. Carrick skated in and lifted a backhander underneath the arm on the stick side of Skinner for his third goal of the season at the 3:58 mark.
“It’s fun! This is my first one since minor hockey,” said Carrick regarding the last time he scored a hat trick. “I kind of forgot what it felt like. It felt good and it was good to see the boys pretty fired up for me.”
The third unanswered goal chased Skinner from the contest. He was replaced by back up goalie Dylan Wells. Skinner gave up three goals on just 13 shots.
Then, Keaton Middleton fired a wrist shot on Wells, his first shot he faced, and he couldn’t corral the rebound as Jayden Halbegwachs crashed the net and cashed in the rebound top-shelf past Wells for his seventh goal of the season at the 4:43 mark.
The Condors cut its deficit to a two-goal game when a shot from the point by Jake Kulevich deflected off a body in front of the crease. Gambardella picked up the loose puck, turned around and snapped a wrist shot through a sea of traffic past Korenar for his fifth goal of the season at the 8:43 mark.
The ‘Cuda regained their three-goal lead under five minutes later. Blichfeld made a turn around wing-to-wing pass over to Brodzinski, who immediately found Carrick at the left point, and Carrick blasted a one-time past Wells for his second goal of the period and fourth of the season at the 13:03 mark. It was the first multi-goal game for the defenseman out of Stouffville, Ontario.
San Jose dominated the second period as they outshot Bakersfield 14-9.
Carrick earned the hat trick while San Jose was short-handed. An error, a drop pass by Joel Persson was turned over to Alex True who skated into the Condor zone and dropped it back to Carrick, who fired a wrist shot far side in the upper left corner for his fifth goal of the season at the 12:26 mark. This was the first hat trick for the ‘Cuda this season.
“It was one of those weird games. I think I had three shots on net and all three went in. The puck was going in my favor there,” said Carrick.
It’s been literally an up and down season for Carrick, who has spent time with the Sharks this season after coming over in a trade from the Charlotte Checkers on August 9th.
“It was kind of a different start for me being up and down with the injuries (to the Sharks blueline). It’s always tough coming to a new organization, new coaching staff, new personnel and stuff like that. I’m definitely feeling a lot more comfortable,” said Carrick.
Korenar finished the night with 37 saves on 39 shots to earn his seventh victory of the season. Wells made 19 saves on 22 shots in mop-up duty.
As great as Carrick’s game was, this night belonged to Sommer, coaching in his last AHL game.
“It was a special night for him (Sommer). He’s a great coach. It’s sad to see him go, but it’s a great opportunity for him and he deserves it,” said Brodzinski.
GAME NOTES:San Jose was 0/1 on the power play. Bakersfield was 0/2.
Brodzinski with his goal has a six-game point streak.
Halbgewachs has scored a goal in three straight games and five in his last six.
Carrick’s hat trick was the first one by a defenseman in franchise history. The last ‘Cuda hat trick was back on March 9, 2018 when captain John McCarthy scored three goals against the Cleveland Monsters at SAP Center.
The announced attendance was 3,186.
UP NEXT: The Barracuda host the Stockton Heat on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 1:15 pm at SAP Center in the first game of a two-game weekend series.