Barons goaltender Richard Bachman couldn’t have picked a better time to post his second shutout of the season.
In a showdown of two teams trying to earn one of the final Western Conference playoff berths, Bachman stopped all 31 shots to lead the Barons to a 1-0 win over Charlotte on Saturday night at the Cox Convention Center.
With the win, the Barons officially have climbed to the playoff cutoff line, although six more games are left in the regular season to determine whether they qualify for the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
“This is a very huge win for us which sets the stage for an even bigger game (on Sunday),” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “For Richard to get a shutout against a great offensive team like they have is pretty remarkable.”
At press time, the Barons were tied with Charlotte and Rockford for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. Rochester, riding a three-game winning streak, is in seventh, one point in front of the trio tied at eighth.
C.J. Stretch scored the game’s only goal early in the second period. Stretch scored the power-play goal after he paused then faked a shot to beat Checkers goalie John Muse.
“I haven’t had much success shooting straight on a goalie, so I tried to get a better angle,” Stretch said. “(Matthew) Ford set a good screen for me. I decided to fake a shot and then slide the puck in.”
Nelson had a good view from the Barons’ bench.
“I was yelling, ‘Shoot, shoot!’” Nelson said. “Stretchy had good poise. It obviously was a huge goal for us, not just because it ended up being the only goal, but it helped everyone relax.”