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SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (3-3-1-0) at SAN DIEGO GULLS (8-4-0-0)
FRIDAY, MAR. 5 | 7:00 P.M. | FivePoint Arena | Irvine, CA
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Down South: The Barracuda wrap up their three-game road trip with back-to-back games against the San Diego Gulls starting Friday night at FivePoint Arena. The Gulls, who are playing out of Irvine, California, this season, began the year with a franchise-best 7-0-0-0 record but have since gone 1-4-0-0 over their last five games after a 5-4 overtime win against Ontario on Wednesday. Last season, the Barracuda went 4-5-2-0 against the Gulls and 2-3-0-0 in Southern California.
Up and Down: On Tuesday, the Barracuda recalled goaltender Josef Korenar, defenseman Nick DeSimone and forwards Joachim Blichfeld, Kurtis Gabriel, and Joel Kellman. Before his recall, Blichfeld (6+3=9) was riding a five-game point streak and ranked first on the team in goals, points, shots (25), shooting percentage (33%), and tied for first on the team in plus/minus (+4), power-play goals (1), game-winning goals (1), and first goals (1). In a corresponding move, the Sharks assigned goaltender Alexei Melnichuk, defenseman Nicolas Meloche and forwards Sasha Chmelevski, Noah Gregor, and Stefan Noeson.
California Connection: Barracuda captain Jaycob Megna and forward Stefan Noesen were once teammates with the San Diego Gulls. Megna, who was drafted by Anaheim in 2012, spent his first five professional seasons within the Ducks organization before signing with Vegas last year. In 2018-19, he served as the Gulls’ captain. Noesen was a first-round pick of the Senators in 2011 but was traded to Anaheim two years later in a deal that included Bobby Ryan. Over his four-year career within the Ducks organization, Noesen skated in 77 games for the Gulls, racking up 48 points (17+31=48). On the other side, two former Sharks prospects are now property of Anaheim. On Jan. 27, 2021, the Sharks traded defenseman Trevor Carrick to Anaheim in exchange for forward Jack Kopacka. The team turned around and traded Kopacka to the Ottawa Senators along with a seventh-round draft pick for defenseman Christian Jaros. Former Sharks’ second-round pick Jeremy Roy is also on San Diego’s roster, currently on a professional tryout agreement.
California Dreaming: Barracuda forwards Sasha Chmelevski, Jake McGrew, and Evan Weinger all return back to their native Southern California this weekend. Chmelevski, who was born in Huntington Beach before moving to Michigan in his early teens, made his NHL debut on Feb. 5 at Anaheim, making Sharks history by assisting on fellow Californian Matt Nieto’s goal. McGrew, who was selected along with Chmelevski in the 2017 NHL Draft by the Sharks, grew up just 15 minutes from Irvine in Orange California. Weinger grew up in El Segundo, California, which is 45 minutes from Irvine.