Welcome to the Barracuda Brief, your weekly one-stop shop for updates on the San Jose Barracuda. The Barracuda Brief will feature recaps, team news, quotes and other features to keep you up to date on the American Hockey League affiliate of the San Jose Sharks.
The Week That Was
The San Jose Barracuda’s 11-game winning streak has firmly planted the Sharks’ farm club in the driver’s seat to make the AHL playoffs. Their last loss came all the way back on Jan. 21 in a 7-2 stinker against the Ontario Reign. Since that loss, the Barracuda beat their Southern California rival twice, including a 2-0 shutout on Feb. 18 behind Troy Grosenick‘s 20 save performance.
Speaking of Grosenick, his incredible year continues to power the Barracuda with truly sparkling statistics. His 1.93 goals-against average, .935 save percentage and seven shutouts are tops in the AHL. Grosenick’s 18 wins are tied for fourth in the league as well.
Even more impressive is the constant flux the Barracuda roster has been in over the past few months. Ten skaters have spent time with the San Jose Sharks at various points in the season. Nikolay Goldobin, Marcus Sorensen and Mirco Mueller are the current Barracuda up in the NHL. With the Sharks’ bye week upcoming, look for a loaded roster this coming week for the Barracuda.
“That’s kind of the good and bad of playing here. You’re under the microscope a lot. If you play well, you’re going to get your chances. I think we’ve had the most callups in the entire league this year, by a country mile. So [the Sharks are] using everyone, there is a lot of product down here to bring up. It’s not like [it’s] the same guys getting the call all the time. Different guys are getting an opportunity. And they’re the guys that are usually playing the best.
Feb. 14: Barracuda 4 – Roadrunners 1
The Barracuda’s Valentine’s Day win over the visiting Tucson Roadrunners paved the way for a trio of call-ups later in the week. Three of the four goal scorers were with the Sharks before the week’s final game.
The Barracuda jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on a pair of impressive skill plays. Tim Heed, freshly returned from a stint as the Sharks’ seventh defenseman, found Rourke Chartier for an easy tap-in to start the scoring near the midway point of the first period.
The Barracuda added a second goal of the opening stanza when Goldobin fired home a Sorensen pass, but the Roadrunners answered back 86 seconds later on Michael Bunting’s redirection of Jamie McBain’s point shot.
Bunting’s goal would be the end of the offense for Tucson. Mueller tallied his first of the year on his power-play goal that beat Roadrunners goalie Marek Langhamer high to the short side. Sorensen would get another power-play goal in the third period to cement another solid win for San Jose.
“It was really fun to play up [with San Jose], but it’s fun to play with Goldobin and O’Regan too,” said Sorensen after his first game back from a stint with the Sharks. “Goldobin is a great player, O’Regan too. I love playing with those guys.”
Goldobin assisted on the final tally, ending the night with a goal and two assists.
“He was great. I thought he was the best player tonight on the ice for both teams,” said head coach Roy Sommer of Goldobin’s effort.
The Barracuda scored three goals on the power play in five chances and killed four of five shorthanded stretches as well.
Quote of the Game: “They flew [into San Jose] on Sunday, so they’ve been sitting around, they’ve watched us play. I was kind of afraid of them, they have some good players over there, they have some scoring,” said Sommer of the Roadrunners. “But we just stuck with it. It was kind of a funky game. I think overall there were 14 minors combined, almost half the game was special teams, not a lot of flow.”
Feb. 17: San Jose 5 – Heat 4
In what is turning into a theme for the Barracuda, San Jose jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after the first period before a march to the penalty box allowed the free-falling Stockton Heat to get back into the game.
After two goals from Nikita Jevpalovs and a Patrick McNally goal put the Barracuda in a great position to lock in a 10th straight win, the Heat swarmed back in the middle period with two goals by Rasmus Andersson and Mark Jankowski to draw within a goal. Timo Meier, back with the Barracuda after a lengthy stretch with the Sharks, fired home a power-play goal. Heat forwards Matt Frattin and Hunter Shinkaruk put another pair of goals behind Mantas Armalis to tie the game at 4-4.
The Barracuda’s top defenseman of the year, Joakim Ryan, fired home San Jose’s fifth goal of the game and his seventh of the year, and Armalis made nine saves in the final period to once again find a way to record a win despite a mediocre night statistically.
Feb. 17: San Jose 2 – Reign 0
For the second time in as many weeks, the Barracuda were victorious over their rival from Southern California. Adam Helewka opened the scoring in the first period on a great feed from Buddy Robinson. The Barracuda defense kept the Reign offense under wraps in the first 20 minutes, allowing just five shots on goal.
In the second period, the Reign regrouped and peppered Grosenick with 13 shots and allowing San Jose with only four chances on Jack Campbell, who was making his 32nd consecutive start for the Los Angeles Kings’ farm club. Of the Barracuda’s four shots, one of them found twine as captain John McCarthy tipped a Ryan point blast for the only goal of the period.
San Jose’s defense tightened up again in the third, allowing only two shots on Grosenick. Grosenick ended up with 20 saves in the Barracuda’s 11th straight win. He extended his shutout lead in the AHL to seven in just 31 appearances.
On the Schedule: San Jose Barracuda 11-Game Winning Streak On The Line
The Barracuda return to the ice looking to bring their winning streak to a dozen games with a 3:00 p.m. matinee tilt against the Texas Stars on Feb. 20 at SAP Center. The Barracuda then head out to Tucson to face the Roadrunners for back-to-back games on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, with both games starting at 6:05 p.m. PST.