The San Jose Barracuda made winning plays in the third period and escaped Rabobank Arena on Saturday with a late season win.

The Barracuda tallied three third period goals — the first a power play marker to go ahead 2-1, the second to immediately answer a Condors' equalizer, and the third being an empty net goal to ice things away. The final score was 4-2 in front of 6,502 fans.

It was an emotional — and perhaps tiring — weekend for the Condors, who clinched a Western Conference playoff spot Friday night with a 3-2 win at San Diego. The team then had a four-hour bus ride to Bakersfield and didn’t arrive until 2:30 a.m. — the same time the Barracuda rolled into town after their 5-0 home win over Ontario.

Saturday's game saw both teams play well at times and sluggish at others. Even so, two quality opponents took the ice — it was a matchup between the first and second place teams in the AHL’s Pacific Division, albeit the Condors have been just a hair better this season. Bakersfield remains in first with a 39-18-3-2 record (83 points) while San Jose is entrenched in second with a 35-20-3-4 overall mark (77 points).

After Bakersfield outshot the Barracuda 15-6 in the first period, San Jose took a 1-0 lead to open the second. Coming in along the right side, Barracuda forward Marcus Vela threw the puck in front, and it went off a body and into the net. The goal was awarded to Matt Fonteyne.

The Condors finally got one past San Jose goalie Josef Korenar with under a minute remaining in the second. Jakub Stukel kept the puck in the zone and it was flipped in front. Luke Esposito eventually whacked it home — his sixth of the year — to tie the score 1-1.

San Jose opened the third on the right foot, however. After Bakersfield was immediately whistled for a penalty, Barracuda defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald ripped home a one timer off the faceoff to put San Jose ahead 2-1.

Cooper Marody tied the score about four minutes later, when he roofed a shot off a feed from P.C. Labrie.

But San Jose would cash in again 5:06 of the third when, off another faceoff, Maxim Letunov got the puck in the slot and beat Shane Starrett blocker side for the go-ahead goal.

Korenar stopped 27 of 29 shots. Bakersfield was 0 for 6 on the power play. The Condors still lead the season series against San Jose 6-4, and won five straight head-to-head matchups entering Friday's game.

Bakersfield has six games remaining in the 2019 regular season schedule. They’ll look to wrap up a Pacific Division championship and a No. 1 seed in the Western Conference postseason next week with a road trip to Manitoba and San Antonio.

Teddy Feinberg can be reached at 661-395-7324. Follow him on Twitter: @TeddyFeinberg

(1) comment

Ledzepplin4800

Well put, The celebrations incoupled with a sleepless night from SD , the team looked tired and I’m sure the SJ knew all about it , Sj has infact become a better hockey team in less than a month , They obviously have been studying our lines and made clear evidence of that by closing each one down last night. Our game is in Manitoba will define the next couple of weeks to come

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