When the then Worcester Sharks made their improbable run to a Calder Cup Playoff berth last season, one of the main catalysts for the team was forward Micheal Haley, who led the team in goals (18), penalty minutes (106), fighting majors (10) and power-play goals (8).
Though the Sharks were relocated from Worcester to San Jose over the summer and had their name changed to Barracuda, not everything changed as Haley has continued to be that catalyst for the Barracuda by recording back-to-back two point games (goal and an assist) in the franchise's first two games this season.
Saturday night's Barracuda game against the Bakersfield Condors (AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers) at Rabobank Arena was no different as Haley registered his third consecutive two-point game, this time scoring two goals, including what held up as the game winning power play goal at 17:41 of the third period to lift the Barracuda past the Condors 4-3 for their second consecutive win.
In addition to Haley's two goal night, Barracuda forwards Chris Crane and Ryan Carpenter dished out two assists each; forward Trevor Parkes had a two point game with a goal and an assist; and captain Bryan Lerg scored his second goal of the season.
Between the pipes, goaltender Aaron Dell made his second straight start and picked up his second win of the season by making 30-saves, 13 of which came in the first period that was highlighted by a two-on-one breakaway save on Condors forward Leon Draisaitl just 80-seconds into the game.
Haley put the Barracuda up 1-0 at 6:16 when he dumped the puck into the left corner of the Condors zone, finished his check on Condors forward Andrew Miller, spun-off to get positioning on top of the crease and deflected in Carpenter's quick shot from out of the left corner for his third goal of the season.
Lerg extended the lead to 2-0 at 2:30 of the second period with a rebound strike that saw Lerg follow his initial shot from on top of the left face-off circle and slide a backhanded shot from on top of the crease past Condors goaltender Eetu Laurikainen. Parkes, who used his body to knock the puck down on the Condors clear attempt of Lerg's initial shot, and Crane were credited with the assists.
Three consecutive minor penalties through the middle portion of the period cost the Barracuda their lead and season perfect penalty kill as the Condors scored two power play play goals in a span of 89-seconds. Condors forward Philip McRae beat Dell with a one-timer blast from just inside the right face-off circle for his first goal of the season at 13:16, and forward Matthew Ford shoveled a rebound from on top of the crease past Dell at 15:45 for his second goal of the season after Dell had made the initial save on Condor's defenseman Brad Hunt's one-timer blast from the center point.
The Condors went ahead 3-2 at 3:53 of the third period when a video review ruled that Ford's shot from just in front of the right face-off dot on a three-on-one odd man rush went in under the crossbar and out through the side of the net for Ford's second goal of the game.
Parkes pulled the Barracuda even at 8:08 when he snuck the puck past Laurikainen from behind the goal line on the right side for his first goal of the season. Barracuda defenseman Joakim Ryan and Crane had the assists.
With the Barracuda on a power play late in the period, Haley scored the winning goal when he settled a bouncing puck on top of the crease off a centering feed from behind the net by Carpenter, and fired a quick shot on net that trickled past Laurikainen for his second goal of the game and team leading fourth goal of the season.
NOTES... Shots on goal were 33-22 in favor of the Condors... The Barracuda went 1-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill... Dell improved to 2-0-0 with a 2.00 goals-against-average and .932 save percentage... Parkes, Haley, Lerg and forward Nikita Jevpalovs each had three shots on goal for the Barracuda... Barracuda defenseman Julius Bergman made his professional debut and was plus-two... Haley leads the Barracuda with two power play goals and has six points (4-2-6) during his three-game point streak... This was the first of 12 meetings between the Barracuda and Condors this season... The Barracuda are 1-0-0 against the Condors, 2-0-0 on the road and 2-1-0 with four points overall... The Barracuda are back in action Oct. 21 when they host the San Diego Gulls at SAP Center with puck drop at 7pm/pt.
1. Micheal Haley - Barracuda (1-1-2, GWG)
2. Matthew Ford - Condors (2-0-2)
3. Brad Hunt - Condors (0-2-2)
Haley / Carpenter / Emanuelsson
McCarthy (A) / Lerg (C) / Langlois
Helewka / Timmins / Jevpalovs
Crane / Parkes
Stollery / Ryan
Cundari / Young
Mueller / McNally