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Bakersfield, CA - The San Jose Barracuda (35-20-3-4) entered Saturday's tilt at Rabobank Arena against the Bakersfield Condors (39-17-3-2) having lost the last five meetings against the Edmonton Oilers affiliate but a stingy PK and opportunistic-offense proved to be a successful recipe as the Barracuda claimed a 4-2 win.
With the victory and losses by both the Colorado Eagles and San Diego Gulls, the Barracuda now hold a four-point lead for the second spot in the Pacific Division.
After a scoreless first period that saw Bakersfield go on the only power-play and outshoot San Jose 15-to-seven, the Barracuda found a way to open up the scoring in the second. Antti Suomela threaded a pass to Marcus Vela who fired a shot in on net that would skip off Matt Fonteyne (5) and past Shane Starrett at 3:09. At 19:11, Luke Esposito (6) would draw even by swiping in a loose puck along the right side after San Jose failed to clear its own end.
In the third, after Evan Polei was called for tripping at the 24-second mark, the Barracuda regained its lead just four seconds into the power-play as Cavan Fitzgerald (6) blasted a point shot past Starrett. Less than four minutes later, PC. Labrie would center a below the goal-line pass to Cooper Marody (19) and Marody snapped a one-timer over Josef Korenar's right shoulder. But, 31 seconds later, Nick DeSimone found Max Letunov (11) uncovered in the high-slot before the rookie would beat Starrett short-side at 5:06 as he stumbled to a knee. In the game, the Barracuda would kill off all six Condors power-plays, including three in the third. At 19:02, Jeffrey Viel (10) potted an empty-netter to seal the 4-2 win.
Korenar (21-8-2) made 27 saves to collect the win while Starrett (25-5-5) saw his four-game winning streak against San Jose and six-game point streak come to an end after giving up three goals 28 shots.
The Barracuda return home on Wednesday for the final home-stand of the 2018-19 regular season as the San Diego Gulls (Anaheim Ducks) visit the Tank for the fifth and final time before a pair of visits from the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) on Friday and Saturday. Listen to Barracuda hockey live on AM 1220 KDOW, Sharks + SAP Center App and watch at watchtheahl.com.