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SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (1-1-1-0) vs TEXAS STARS (2-2-0-0)
SATURDAY, FEB. 13 | 5:00 P.M. PT | H-E-B Center | Cedar Park, TX
LISTEN | WATCH | GAME NOTES
On the Road Again: The San Jose Barracuda will face the Texas Stars for the second night in a row on Saturday, after a 5-2 victory Friday. The win against Texas was the Barracuda’s first of the season and the first win of rookie netminder Sam Harvey’s professional career. After Saturday, the two teams will wrap up their three-game series on Tuesday.
A First Time for Everything: Friday’s game saw five players make their season debuts and saw four players notch significant career firsts. 2020 draft pick Ozzy Weisblatt (1st round, 31st overall) scored his first professional goal in the third period Friday. Kyle Topping, in his pro debut, found the back of the net in the first period and 2017 Sharks’ draft pick Jake McGrew (6th round, 159 overall) tallied his first AHL point with a first-period assist. Rookie goaltender Sam Harvey had a stellar performance in his professional debut, tallying 29 saves en-route to his first career win.
Movin’ on Up: The Sharks recalled three from the Barracuda on Thursday. Defenseman Jake Middleton, forward John Leonard, and goaltender Alexei Melnichuk. Leonard and Middleton started the season with the Sharks, while rookie goaltender Alexei Melnichuk returns back to the Sharks active for the first time since being assigned to the Barracuda from the Sharks’ practice squad in late January. Leonard had a goal and an assist in two games with the Barracuda, while Melnichuk registered a 3.52 GAA in two starts at the AHL level.
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 the San Jose’s opening-night roster, and nine different players made their AHL debut. The group of first-year pros are headlined by 2020 early-round selections Ozzy Weisblatt (round one, 31st overall) and Tristen Robins (round two, 56th overall) as well as 2018 draft-picks Ryan Merkley (round one, 21st overall) and John Leonard (round six, 182nd overall).
Dazzling Danes: Alexander True and Joachim Blichfeld continued on their success from last season on Monday night. True tallied two goals for the Barracuda in a 5-3 loss against Tucson, while Blichfeld added a goal and an assist to start off his 2020-21 campaign. It was True’s sixth multi-goal effort of his Barracuda career and one point off a career-high for Blichfeld. Both players tallied multiple points again on Friday, as the pair of forwards lead the Barracuda with four points apiece heading into Saturday’s tilt with the Stars
The Return of Roy Sommer: The 2019-20 season saw long-time Barracuda bench-boss Roy Sommer become a part of the San Jose Sharks coaching staff. Sommer will return to his role behind the bench for the Barracuda this season and will look to add to his AHL-record 773 wins. Also returning to the Barracuda coaching staff are assistants Michael Chiasson and Jimmy Bonneau. Long-time Barracuda captain John McCarthy will enter his first season as a development coach after serving as an assistant last year following his retirement.
Familiar Faces: The Barracuda come into the 2020-21 season returning three of their top five point-getters from 2019-20. Jayden Halbgewachs who led the team in goals (19) returns for his third pro campaign. While Jeffrey Viel (13+17=30) and Joachim Blichfeld (16+16=32) look to improve upon their contributions from last season.
Oh Captain: Last Saturday, Jaycob Megna was named the third captain in San Jose Barracuda history. 2020-21 will mark the 28-year-olds first season with the team. Megna does boast a leadership background, serving as an alternate captain for the Chicago Wolves last season under current Sharks associate coach Rocky Thompson. He was also the captain of the San Diego Gulls in 2018-19.