SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (1-0, 15-15-4-2) vs COLORADO EAGLES (1-0, 15-15-3-1)
WED., MAY 19 | 7:00 P.M. | FivePoint Arena | Irvine, CA
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Playoff Preview: After a 2-1 win over the Tucson Roadrunners on Tuesday, the Barracuda (15-15-4-2) and Colorado Eagles (15-15-3-1) are set to play in the final single-elimination play-in game on Wednesday at the FivePoint Arena in Irvine. The winner of Wednesday’s game will face the Henderson Silver Knights in a best-of-three series which will begin on Friday in Las Vegas. The semifinal winners will advance to the best-of-three finals, with that winner being awarded the John D. Chick Trophy as champions of the Pacific Division.
Tale of the Tape: Wednesday will mark the first meeting between the Barracuda and Eagles this season and the first-ever postseason matchup between the two clubs. Colorado is led by their captain T.J. Tynan who finished the regular season tied for sixth in the AHL in scoring (35), second in assists (27), tied for second in power-play assists (12) and power-play points (14). Tynan picked up a goal and an assist in the Eagles 5-4 overtime win over the Ontario Reign on Tuesday and now has 23 points (four goals, 19 assists) in 43 career AHL playoff games. Tynan won a Calder Cup in 2016 with the Lake Erie Monsters and is a former teammate of Barracuda defenseman Robbie Russo at Notre Dame and during their youth hockey careers with the Chicago Mission.
Things to Know: The Barracuda finished the regular season with the AHL’s best home power-play (26.7) while Colorado finished with the sixth-best overall power-play (21.4) and penalty-kill (84.2). In addition, the teams finished 20th and 21st in goals-for-per-game (COL – 2.97, SJ – 2.92), sixth and seventh in shots-per-game (SJ – 32.00, COL – 31.91) and 14th and 15th in shots against-per-game (SJ – 29.75, COL – 30.03).
Midds Matchup: On Wednesday, for the first time since Keaton Middleton signed with the Eagles this offseason, brothers Jake and Keaton Middleton will face off against each other at the pro level. The two were teammates with the Barracuda over the last two seasons. When both brothers were playing in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), the two squared off three different times with Jake’s Ottawa 67’s taking down Keaton’s Saginaw spirit in all three games. Keaton, who did not score in the regular season for the Eagles, picked up two goals and two assists in Colorado's 5-4 overtime win against the Ontario Reign on Wednesday.
California Kids: SoCal natives Jake McGrew and Evan Weinger each scored in the Barracuda’s 2-1 single-elimination play-in win over the Tucson Roadrunners on Tuesday. For Weinger, it was his fifth career point (3+2=5) in his fifth career AHL playoff game. For McGrew, it was his first AHL playoff goal in his postseason debut. Both Weinger and McGrew played their youth hockey with the LA Jr. Kings and their junior careers in the WHL.
World Championship Bound: The Barracuda will be without the services of Sasha Chmelevski (USA), Alex True (Denmark) and Lean Bergmann (Germany) during the playoffs as all three skaters will be headed to Riga, Latvia for the 2021 World Championships. In addition, the team will be without Joachim Blichfeld (injury).
Joe the Wall: Josef Korenar made 19 saves on Tuesday for his second career playoff win. With the Sharks season officially over, the team assigned the goaltender back to the American Hockey League. Korenar appeared in 10 games with the Sharks this past season, where he made seven starts and went 3-5-0, with a 3.17 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage. Before Tuesday, Korenar’s only AHL postseason action came in 2019 where he appeared in four games against the San Diego Gulls, going 1-3, with a 3.45 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage.