SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (2-2-1-0) vs ONTARIO REIGN (1-7-1-0)
SUNDAY, FEB. 28 | 5:00 P.M. | Solar4America Ice at San Jose | San Jose, CA
LISTEN | WATCH | GAME NOTES
Run It Back: After a two-week hiatus, the Barracuda returned to action on Saturday, besting the Ontario Reign 6-3. In the victory, the Barracuda erased a three-goal first-period deficit. On Sunday, the Barracuda will look to make it back-to-back wins and move above .500 for the first time this year. After Sunday’s contest, the Barracuda will embark on a stretch of their schedule where they will play six games over ten days starting on Wednesday in Bakersfield.
Let’s Go Streaking: Both Antti Suomela and Joachim Blichfeld enter Sunday’s tilt against the Reign on four-game point streaks. Suomela netted an empty-netter on Saturday and now has points in each of his last four games (1G, 3A), while Joachim Blichfeld has a team-leading seven points over his last four games (4G, 3A) after scoring on Saturday. Joel Kellman (1G, 4A) also enters Sunday with points in his last three games after picking up a goal and an assist on Saturday.
The Gordie: On Saturday, in his Barracuda debut, forward Kurtis Gabriel collected a Gordie Howe hat-trick as he scored, fought, and added an assist. Gabriel also put a team-best nine shots on net and his goal turned out to be the GWG. The Sharks signed the 27-year-old free-agent on Nov. 2, 2020, to a one-year deal.
Fred Feelin’ It: Fredrick Handemark (1, 2) collected his first two goals of his AHL career and added an assist on Saturday. Handemark scored San Jose’s first and sixth tallies of the game, sparking the team’s comeback win. The Sharks signed the 27-year-old out of the Swedish Hockey League as a free agent on May 4, 2020. Handemark made his NHL debut on Jan. 18, 2021, at St. Louis.
Players To Watch: The Kings’ top two draft picks over the last two years may be on display on Sunday when the Reign and Barracuda square up for the second time in as many days. Alex Turcotte (Round one, fifth overall) who LA selected in 2019 sat out Saturday with an injury but could be in the lineup for the Reign on Sunday. Quinton Byfield (Round one, second overall) who the organization took this past draft collected a pair of first-period assists in his team’s 6-3 loss on Saturday and now has six points (1G, 5A) in nine games with the Reign this season. Turcotte who spent last year at the University of Wisconsin has yet to register a pro point through five games.
New Faces: Once again in 2020-21, the Barracuda will boast one of the youngest rosters in the AHL. In total, there were 14 rookies on San Jose’s opening-night roster, and nine different players made their AHL debut. The group of first-year pros is headlined by 2018 draft-pick Ryan Merkley (round one, 21st overall).
2020 Draft Picks: The first two picks in the Sharks 2020 draft have returned to the junior ranks. With the announcement of the WHL’s Eastern Division restarting, Ozzy Weisblatt (Round one, 31st overall) and Tristen Robins (Round two, 56th overall) both returned to their respective Western Hockey League teams last Monday.