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San Jose, CA - The San Jose Barracuda (36-21-3-4) opened up a two-game weekend series with the Grand Rapids Griffins (38-24-6-4) (Detroit Red Wings) on Friday night at SAP center and used a pair of third-period goals to capture a 3-1 win. With Friday's victory the Barracuda can clinch a playoff spot as early as Saturday if they are to win and Colorado is to lose in regulation.
The Barracuda capitalized on a four-on-three power-play early in the first when Ivan Chekhovich (1) gathered a cross-crease pass from T.J. Hensick and slammed it in from below the face-off dots at the 2:45 mark. After the early goal, San Jose would take the 1-0 lead into the intermission as both teams put 10 shots on net in the period.
At 4:06 of the second, Grand Rapids broke through and tied the game 1-1 on a low-slot redirection by Troy Loggins (1), the first of the rookie's career. Libor Sulak set up Loggins with a pass as he moved in down the right wing. The goal would turn out to be the only strike in the frame as the game remained tied heading into the third.
With 11:12 remaining in the third, Evan Weinger drove the puck deep down the left wing as he slipped a Kevin Tansey attempted hip-check and found a trailing Jayden Halbgewachs (12) as he hit the brakes and Halbgewachs rocketed a one-timer over the glove of Patrik Rybar to give the Barracuda a 2-1 lead. San Jose tacked on an empty-netter with 34 seconds remaining when Kyle Wood (6) wheeled and fired a wrist shot 180 feet and into the empty-net, halting the Griffs comeback attempt.
The Barracuda maintained their two-point lead over the San Diego Gulls in the Pacific Division with the 3-1 victory and saw their magic number for clinching a spot in the 2019 Calder Cup playoffs shrink to three points.
Korenar (22-8-2) earned the victory for San Jose allowing only one goal on 25 shots, while Rybar (16-14-5) took the loss for the Griffins after surrendering two goals on 29 shots.
The Barracuda play the first game of the #HockeyDayInSanJose doubleheader on Saturday at 1:15 PM against the Griffs. Saturday's contest can be heard live on the Sharks + SAP Center App and seen on watchtheahl.com.