The Cleveland Barons had just one night to leave a lasting impression, and they sure made it count.
On Sunday the San Jose Barracuda donned the sweaters of their predessors, the Cleveland Barons, and spanked the Colorado Eagles 5-0 in front of 5,000 strong in their first Affiliate Throwback Night at the SAP Center. Francis Perron led the way with a pair of goals and an assist, while Josef Korenar turned away 16 Colorado shots for his first AHL shutout.
For a veteran like Perron, the individual stats weren’t as important after the team suffered two shutout losses against the Tuscon Roadrunners a couple weeks ago. “It was big for me, but it was big for the team.” Perron said. “It just feels good for everyone to put some pucks in the net again.”
The ‘Cuda couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity in the opening frame, when the Eagles were called for three consecutive penalties, including two delay of game calls. Unfortunately, Colorado netminder Spencer Martin had an incredibly stellar period of his own, stopping all 14 San Jose shots and stymying the team’s power play unit.
The sustained pressure finally began to pay off for San Jose early in the second period, when Jonathan Martin beat Mark Alt in a race to the puck and whipped a pass from the far boards to a trailing Francis Perron. Perron deflected the hard dish past Martin’s right pad to give the ‘Cuda the lead on his seventh of the year.
The parade to the sin bin continued in the second period, with the two teams combining for 12 minors. When Colorado wound up taking a trio of penalites midway through the period, the Barracuda were determined to take advantage. Some well-executed passing by the top power play unit landed on the stick of Perron, who one-timed a shot from the top of the right circle through Martin to double the Barracuda lead after 40 minutes.
Down by a pair of goals, the Eagles made attempts to climb back into the game. But the Barracuda defence had one of their best collective nights of the season, holding Colorado to just nine shots in the third period.
The few shots that did get to the net were held out by Korenar, who praised his teammates effort in front of him. “I think today was about the guys doing a good job...especially after two games we didn’t score in.” Korenar said. “The defense helped me a lot today.”
As the game wound down, San Jose was determined to make sure they wouldn’t let their foot off the pedal. The Barracuda ramped up the offensive pressure in the final ten minutes, and with seven minutes to go, Jeffrey Viel faked a wraparound attempt and made a backpass to John McCarthy. McCarthy then scooped the puck into the net, catching Martin off guard and earning his second goal of the season.
Three minutes later, with Mason Geertsen in the box for cross-checking, the ‘Cuda power play moved the puck with quick pricision until Vincent Praplan snapped a shot home from the slot, all but putting the game away for San Jose. Alex True rubbed some salt in the wound with just 18 seconds remaining when Jeremy Roy threw a bad angle shot of the right pad of Martin and True whacked home the rebound.
The win helped the Barracuda regain their lead in the Pacific Division from Tuscon, and with two more games against the Eagles coming up this weekend, there’s a golden opportunity to increase their points total. The first of their weekend series in Colorado comes on Friday at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland at 6:05 p.m. Pacific.