The Barracuda continue their seven-game exhibition schedule this afternoon in El Segundo as they take on the Ontario Reign at the Toyota Sports Performance Center. After dropping their exhibition opener on Tuesday to the Gulls, the Barracuda answered back with a 4-1 win over San Diego on Thursday, thanks to 28 saves by rookie goaltender Samuel Harvey.
In the win, Kurtis Gabriel scored within the first minute and Jayden Halbgewachs and Antti Suomela cashed in on the power-play in the first as the Barracuda jumped out to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes. Kyle Topping would score the team’s fourth goal in the second to make it 4-0. Sam Carrick negated Harvey’s shutout bid with under three minutes to play in regulation, but the Barracuda rolled to the 4-1 victory.
Friday marks Ontario’s first preseason action after its first two games, scheduled for this past weekend, were canceled over COVID-19 concerns.
In nine meetings a season ago, the Barracuda went 3-5-0-1 against the Reign, and 2-1-0-1 in Ontario. The Reign (El Segundo) and Gulls (Irvine) are two of five teams in the AHL this season to have been granted provisional relocations to assist with logistical challenges presented by COVID-19. Ontario will play out of the LA Kings’ practice facility, Toyota Performance Center.
During the nine head-to-head games a season ago, Joachim Blichfeld led all skaters with five goals and nine points.
The Barracuda finished the Covid-19 shortened 2019-20 campaign, 7th in the Pacific Division with a record of 21-27-5-2 (49 points), but finished on a strong note, going 6-2-2-0 over their final 10 games.
Ryan Merkley and Ozzy Wiesblatt highlight the Barracuda's opening preseason roster. The Sharks selected Merkley 21st overall in 2018 and Wiesblatt 31st overall in 2020. Wiesbatt recorded one shot on net in his professional preseason debut. Merkley, who skated in a handful of games for the Barracuda two years ago, fired one shot on net and finished with a minus-two rating on Tuesday.
A current Barracuda Training Camp roster can be found, here.
A projected Barracuda lineup can be found below:
86 Blichfeld - 14 Suomela - 27 Wiesblatt
45 Bergmann - 60 Gallant - 29 Gabriel
89 Halbgewachs - 84 Letunov - 42 Kotkov
80 - Pasichnuk - 91 Robins - 78 Weinger
47 Carrick - 6 Merkley
77 Cukste - 79 Gregoire
72 Reddekopp - 57 DeSimone