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 that will keep you up to date on the American Hockey League affiliate of the San Jose Sharks.
Trade, All-Star Game Bring Reinforcements
The Barracuda also welcomed an army of reinforcements to the squad.
With the NHL’s All-Star break sending the parent club scattering for some much-needed rest, the kids joined the Barracuda on the road. Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier, Barclay Goodrow and Tim Heed returned to the AHL farm club. The ‘Cuda also welcomed Buddy Robinson and Zack Stortini, two players that came from the Binghamton Senators in the Tommy Wingels deal.
Robinson and Stortini are exciting additions for a couple of reasons. Without getting into the weeds of the Tommy Wingels deal at the NHL level, the return unlikely makes Sharks fans happy, but Barracuda fans should be thrilled. The Barracuda struggle at times with heavier, bigger teams with a small, speedy, young, and skilled lineup.
Robinson is 6-foot-6, and Stortini is 6-foot-4 and more that familiar with the rough stuff. Stortini served as captain of the B-Sens as well, so some additional leadership, size, and grit are big shots in the arm for San Jose and address a weakness other teams have exploited. Credit Doug Wilson for opening a roster spot and cap space in the NHL while sending players to help the youthful AHL team as they challenge for a long postseason. Even with the addition of the two veterans to the roster, the Barracuda remain the youngest team in the AHL.
The San Jose Barracuda Week That Was
The San Jose Barracuda again skated in three games, all of them away from the comfy confines of the SAP Center. After a rough 1-2 record last week, they were a perfect 3-0. The Barracuda finished the week with a 22-11-1-3 record and a winning percentage of .649, sitting in second place in the Pacific Division and third in the Western Conference.
Jan. 25: Barracuda 5 – Heat 0
The Barracuda got the first win of their current road trip over the Stockton Heat on the strength of Troy Grosenick’s AHL-leading sixth shutout of the 2016-17 campaign. Rourke Chartier, Bryan Moore and Danny O’Regan all scored in the first period to get out to a commanding lead over the hosting Heat and chase starting netminder David Rittich.
Stockton started Jon Gillies in the second period in the hope of a spark, but he only helped stem the tide. Tim Heed added a power-play marker in the second period to make it a four-goal lead. Newcomer Bryan Moore had a goal and assist in his best showing since a call-up from the Allen Americans. O’Regan added his second of the game in the third period, the first two-goal game of his young AHL career as he returned from a lower-body injury that kept him out of the previous three games.
“I was just excited to get back and play it again and had a little jump in my step early,” said O’Regan after his first game back in the lineup. “I just stopped thinking about my injury right off the bat. It was fun to get back out there.”
The frustrated Heat took 59 penalty minutes in the final frame as they lost their fourth straight game against the Barracuda this season, with the last two coming via shutouts. Grosenick saved all 24 shots he faced.
“There was maybe one or two I didn’t see,” Grosenick said after the win over their Pacific Division rival. “I got a little lucky on one in the first. But (the defense) did a great job of keeping the lanes clear and clearing out rebounds.”
Quote of the Game:
“We weren’t very good this last weekend. We went down to San Diego and lost 5-2 and then got beat on by Ontario,” head coach Roy Sommer bluntly stated after the game. “So it was a good comeback for us. We started well, and we finished on our chances. Three goals in the first period; no matter who you’re playing, that’s a tough hill to climb to get back into it.”
Jan. 20: Barracuda 4 – Griffins 1
The Griffins served as a measuring stick for the Barracuda in the first visit to Grand Rapids, MI this season. The Griffins are atop the Central Division, and playing an unfamiliar team that leads its division is always a good test.
Speaking of a test, Grosenick was under siege for most of the night and finished with 43 saves, which seemed a little bit light. But even with the shot counter being stingy, it was still the most saves for Grosenick this season.
The Barracuda got outshot in a rare instance of falling behind on the shot clock, but they got out to an early lead when Barclay Goodrow potted his 13th of the year in the first period. Nikolay Goldobin got back into a groove with a pair of goals, and Julius Bergman scored the final San Jose goal for his own two-point night. Evgeny Svechnikov scored the only goal of the night for Grand Rapids, who lost in regulation for just the 12th time this season.
Barracuda get a power play and Goldobin buries it.
— Ian Reid ???? (@IanBlogsHockey) January 28, 2017
Jan. 21: Barracuda 4 – Admirals 2
The final game of the weekend featured the return of Kevin Labanc to the Barracuda.While the score looks close, the Barracuda transition game kept the Admirals on their heels.
Labanc did not disappoint and in the first minute of play, he again showed he’s just too good for the AHL. The rookie got behind the Milwaukee defense and slid the puck five-hole on Marek Mazanec.
— Zachary DeVine (@zakkthebear) January 29, 2017
Goldobin kept his hot streak going with another goal in the second period. Heed scored just over a minute later when he blasted in his 11th goal of the season. Robinson got his first point in teal with the only helper on Heed’s blast. BGoodrow finished up the scoring with his 14th of the season with assists going to John McCarthy and Labanc.
All four scorers against the Admirals are likely to be or seriously considered, for roster spots when the Sharks return from the All-Star break against the Chicago Blackhawks.
On the Calendar:
Danny O’Regan and Troy Grosenick head off to the AHL All-Star Classic.
— San Jose Barracuda (@sjbarracuda) January 29, 2017
The Barracuda’s seven-game road trip wraps up after the AHL All-Star Classic with back-to-back games at the Manitoba Moose starting on Feb. 3. San Jose then returns home on Feb. 8 for four games in six days, with three of them (Feb. 8, 12 and 14) at home.