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Barracuda clip Eagles, move on to semifinals

Photo: Andy Hayt

The San Jose Barracuda got 32 saves from Josef Korenar and defeated the Colorado Eagles, 5-1, at FivePoint Arena at Great Park Ice in Irvine, Calif., on Wednesday night.

With its second win in as many days during the play-in portion of the Pacific Division playoffs, San Jose advances to the best-of-three semifinals where they will face the Henderson Silver Knights at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Game 1 is Friday evening.

Maxim Letunov, who tied for the team lead with 12 goals in the regular season, opened the scoring for the Barracuda with his first career postseason tally at 14:10 of the first period.

Zach Gallant extended the lead to 2-0 at 9:25 of the second, and Krystof Hrabik, playing just his second career AHL contest, made it 3-0 at 12:36.

Sampo Ranta got the Eagles on the board with a power-play marker late in the second period, but that was the only blemish of the evening against Korenar, who stopped 51 of 53 shots in the two play-in victories (.962).

Former Eagles defenseman Nicolas Meloche iced the game with an empty-net goal from 160 feet out with 2:40 remaining, his first goal in 85 games since Mar. 3, 2019. Hrabik added another empty-netter for the final 5-1 margin.

Justus Annunen made 30 saves in the loss for Colorado.

Pacific Division Play-In Round
Game 1 – Tue., May 18 – (4) San Jose Barracuda 2, (7) Tucson Roadrunners 1
Game 2 – Tue., May 18 – (5) Colorado Eagles 5, (6) Ontario Reign 4 (OT)
Game 3 – Wed., May 19 – (4) San Jose Barracuda 5, (5) Colorado Eagles 1
— All games at Irvine, CA

Pacific Division Semifinals (best-of-3)
(1) Henderson Silver Knights vs. (4) San Jose Barracuda
Game 1 – Fri., May 21 – San Jose vs. Henderson, 7:00 PDT
Game 2 – Sun., May 23 – Henderson vs. San Jose, 1:00 PDT
Game 3 – Mon., May 24 – San Jose vs. Henderson, 1:00 PDT (if necessary)
— All games at Las Vegas, NV

Pacific Division Semifinals (best-of-3)
(2) Bakersfield Condors vs. (3) San Diego Gulls
Game 1 – Fri., May 21 – San Diego vs. Bakersfield, 6:00 PDT
Game 2 – Sun., May 23 – Bakersfield vs. San Diego, 5:00 PDT
Game 3 – Mon., May 24 – San Diego vs. Bakersfield, 6:00 PDT (if necessary)
— All games at Bakersfield, CA

Pacific Division Finals (best-of-3; to conclude by May 29)
Semifinal #1 winner vs. Semifinal #2 winner
Game 1 – TBD
Game 2 – TBD
Game 3 – TBD (if necessary)
— All games at home of higher seed