GAMEDAY PREVIEW: BARRACUDA AT GULLSApr 17, 2019
San Jose Barracuda (0-0) vs. San Diego Gulls (0-0)
WED, APR. 17 | 7:00 PM
Pechanga Arena | San Diego, CA
Playoff Primer: After finishing second in the Pacific Division, the Barracuda kick-off the Divisional-Semifinal round at the Pechanga Arena against the Gulls on Wednesday. The Barracuda are the only team in the AHL’s Pacific to reach the dance in all four years of its existence. During the regular season, San Jose went 4-5-0-1 against SD and 3-1 in the final four meetings. The Barracuda are 10-13 in Calder Cup playoff games all-time and 2-3 in playoff series. In the only prior playoff meeting, San Jose went 4-1 against the Gulls in the 2017 Divisional Final, including winning all three games in San Diego.
Winning Pedigree: Nine different skaters on San Jose’s roster boast winning pedigrees at either at the junior, NCAA or international ranks (T.J. Hensick – CCHA, Rourke Chartier – WHL, Alex True – WHL, Jeffrey Viel – QMJHL/Memorial Cup, Antti Suomel – Finnish Elite League Champion, Francis Perron – QMJHL, John McCarthy – NCAA, Dylan Gambrell – NCAA, Antoine Bibeau – QMJHL). 11 Barracuda skaters have Calder Cup playoff experience.
That’s a Wrap: The Barracuda concluded the regular season on Saturday in Colorado, falling 3-2 to the Colorado Eagles. San Jose finished with a regular-season record of 39-22-4-4 (H:22-1-1-1/R: 17-12-2-3), the second best in franchise history. San Jose finished with a plus-30 goal differential, scoring 41 more goals than they did a season ago.
True That: San Jose forward Alex True concluded his stellar sophomore season just one goal shy and three points shy of Barracuda single-season watermarks in both categories. The Denmark native set a new franchise record with six game-winning goals. True finished the regular season first on the Barracuda in points (55), first in goals (24), second in assists (31) and third in shots (142).
Dynamic Dezy: Nick DeSimone netted his 14th goal of the season on Friday, tying him with Tim Heed (2016-17) for the most goals in a single season for a San Jose d-man. Among all AHL defensemen, DeSimone finished the regular season T-seventh in points (46), T-sixth in goals, T-12th in assists (32), T-ninth in power-play goals (5) and T-11th in shots (154).
Gambo Good: Among AHL rookies, Dylan Gambrell finished the regular season T-10th in points (45), T-fifth in goals (20), T-13th in shots (147) and ninth in points-per-game (.88). Gambrell also skated in eight games up top with the Sharks.
Henner Heating Up: Prior to being held pointless last Wednesday, Barracuda forward T.J. Hensick had recorded points in six-straight games (two goals, six assists), his longest such streak in two years. On Friday, Hensick picked up the primary helper on Dylan Gambrell’s third-period insurance goal and finished his regular season with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 23 games played. Since joining the Barracuda in mid-February, the Howell, Michigan native has recorded five multi-point games and now has 145 in his 12-year career. Hensick appeared in his 650th AHL game last Friday.
Backend Boost: San Jose Sharks 2018 first-round pick Ryan Merkley made his pro debut on Friday as he recorded a pair of shots in San Jose’s 3-1 win at Colorado. Merkley, 19, just completed his third full season in the OHL, totaling 71 points (14 goals, 57 assists), 66 penalty minutes and a plus-four rating between the Guelph Storm and Peterborough Petes. Among OHL d-men, Merkley finished second in points, T-ninth in goals, first in assists and first in power-play assists (33).