The San Jose Barracuda made their first trip to Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena to face the Bakersfield Condors last night. The Cuda’s second game of the 2018-2019 American Hockey League season saw them on the road against the Edmonton Oilers’ top-level affiliate the Bakersfield Condors. Last season, the Barracuda earned a 6-3-0-1 record against the Condors.
Both teams’ backup goaltenders started between the pipes. Barracuda goalie Josef Korenar hoped to follow up a successful preseason campaign with a win, with Antoine Bibeau operating the bench door tonight. Oilers draftee Dylan Wells also earned his first game played in the AHL, starting tonight over Al Montoya, who was sent down by the Oilers earlier this month, in part due to Mikko Koskinen’s no-move clause.
The Barracuda lineup was mostly unchanged from the previous night, with a notable absence in Dylan Gambrell, who was recalled earlier in the day by the San Jose Sharks.
The first period was relatively quiet. Over the first twenty minutes, the Condors ultimately recorded more shots on goal (14) relative to the Barracuda (9). Condor Ryan Stanton did take two penalties in the first — a tripping minor (at 16:40) and a holding minor (at 20:00), but the Barracuda power play failed to convert on either of these chances. Both teams finished the first period scoreless.
The Barracuda’s momentum began to pick up in the second frame. Immediately after the expiration of Stanton’s holding minor, the Condors took another minor penalty when Patrick Russell was binned on a hooking call. The Barracuda did not score on this power play, but Barracuda rookie Jayden Halbgewachs subsequently recorded his first professional goal at 4:03 into second period, assisted by Nick DeSimone and Vincent Praplan.
Maxim Letunov recorded his second goal in Barracuda teal at the 11 minute mark, assisted by Keaton Middleton and Nick DeSimone.
At the 13 minute mark, Cavan Fitzgerald scored his first of the season (assists to Alex True and Manny Wiederer) to put the Cuda up 3-0.
The Cuda finished of the second frame up 3-0 having out-shot the Condors 15-8 over the middle period.
Brad Malone was caught tripping a Barracuda skater early in the third period (2:38), but a power play goal continued to elude the baby sharks. At 5:46 into this frame, Korenar conceded his only goal of the game, scored by Condors mainstay Josh Currie. Just over two minutes later, Condor Caleb Jones (brother of Columbus Blue Jacket Seth Jones) was caught tripping a Barracuda player, and was sent to the box. It took most of the two minutes, but the Barracuda finally converted on the power play — Nick DeSimone recorded the night’s sole power play goal at 9:51, assisted by Francis Perron and Jeremy Roy.
Halfway through the final third, Keaton Middleton was called for the only Barracuda penalty of the night, a minor call for elbowing at 11:16. The Condors did not score on this power play opportunity. Francis Perron got his own tally of the night at 15:21, assisted by Vincent Praplan and Jacob Middleton.
In the remaining five minutes, the Condors somehow succeeded in taking three more minor penalties. The Barracuda won a stellar 5-1 victory on the road, and Nick DeSimone and Cavan Fitzgerald were named the first and second stars of the game, respectively.
The Barracuda next play at home in the SAP Center on Wednesday, October 10 at 7 p.m. Pacific, again against the Condors.