GAMEDAY: BARRACUDA VS EAGLESNov 18, 2023
SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (3-6-3-0) vs. COLORADO EAGLES (7-5-3-0)
SAT, NOV. 18 | 6:00 P.M. | Tech CU Arena | Calgary, AB
Eagle Scout: The San Jose Barracuda and Colorado Eagles (Avalanche) close out their two-game set on Saturday night at Tech CU Arena after the Avs affiliate picked up a 5-2 win on Friday. Saturday will be the final of two games on the year between the clubs in the Bay Area. The Barracuda are set to travel to Loveland, Colorado, on Jan. 20 and 21 to wrap up the four-game season series. A year ago, the Barracuda went 1-6-1-0 against the Eagles and 1-2-1-0 at home. All time the Barracuda are 12-15-4-1 against Colorado and 7-7-2-0 in the Bay Area. Dating back to last season, the Barracuda have now dropped eight in a row to Eagles (0-7-1-0), getting outscored 33-13 during that stretch.
Friday Funk: The Barracuda fell behind early on Friday against Colorado and could never recover, losing 5-2 in the first meeting of the four-game season series. Justin Bailey and Ozzy Wiesblatt managed to score San Jose’s only two goals in the loss, while Ben Meyers notched his first AHL hat-trick and Riley Tufte collected a career-high three helpers as he assisted on each Meyers’ tally. Oskar Olausson also scored for Colorado on the power play, and Keaton Middleton sealed the win with Colorado's second of two empty-netters. Justus Annunen made 26 saves and has now won four in a row against the Barracuda dating back to last season. After Friday, the Barracuda are now 0-6 in the first game of a two-game series this year, getting outscored in those games 31-10.
Eagle Expectations: The Eagles reached the postseason for the fifth consecutive year in 2022-23 as now Anaheim Ducks head coach Greg Cronin led the group to 40-22-7-3 mark which was good for 3rd in the Pacific Division. Colorado’s top two scorers from last season, Charles Hudon (Ontario Reign) and Alex Galchenyuk (St. Petersburg SKA), are no longer with the team, but 13 players are back from the 2022-23 squad. The Eagles are 2-5-2-0 on the road this season and have begun their current four-game roadie with a 2-1 record after starting the year 0-4-2-0 on the road through its first six. Of Colorado’s nine games on visiting ice this season, they’ve scored the first goal just three times. The Eagles will begin a six-game homestand next Friday against the Texas Stars. The Avs farm team boasts the league’s fifth-best penalty kill (41/46=87.2%) but rank 17th (25/30=85%) on the road in PK percentage.
Gush Goin’: The Sharks assigned forward Danil Gushchin back to the AHL on Friday morning after collecting one assist in two games up top. The sophomore forward is pacing the Barracuda in points (13), points-per-game (1.18), shots (49), T-first in assists (9), and T-second in goals (4). A year ago, as a rookie, he ranked first among league freshmen in shots (203), T-11th in goals (22), T-13th in points (45), T-10th in power-play goals (7), and 16th in shootout percentage (4/7=57.1%).
Tuf Customer: Former Dallas Stars first-rounder Riley Tufte is off to a hot start in his first season with the Avs organization. The six-foot-six, 230-pounder collected three assists on Friday and now has a point in 10 of his first 11 games (9+7=16) in an Eagles’ sweater. Tufte, a two-time National Champion at Minnesota-Duluth, ranks T-third in the AHL in shots (51) and goals, T-sixth in points, and T-first in points-per-game (1.45) among skaters who have appeared in at least five games this season. In addition, he has skated in three games up top with the Avalanche. A year ago, he set career-highs in goals (19), assists (16), points (35), penalty minutes (90), and plus/minus (+23) as a member of the Texas Stars.