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SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (1-2-1-0) vs ONTARIO REIGN (1-6-1-0)
SATURDAY, FEB. 27 | 5:00 P.M. | Solar4America Ice at San Jose | San Jose, CA
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Home Is Where You Make It: After five-straight postponements due to inclement weather and Covid-19 protocols, the San Jose Barracuda finally return to action on Saturday against the Ontario Reign at Solar4America Ice at San Jose. The game will mark the end of a 13-day hiatus for the Barracuda and will kick-off a two-game homestand. The last time the Barracuda played a game in San Jose was on March 7th, 2020 against the San Diego Gulls, 357 days ago. A season ago, the Barracuda went 3-5-0-1 versus the Kings affiliate, twice scoring nine goals in a game.
Players To Watch: The Kings’ top two draft picks over the last two years will be on display on Saturday when the Reign and Barracuda square up. Alex Turcotte (Round one, fifth overall) who LA selected in 2019 and Quinton Byfield (Round one, second overall) who the organization took this past draft are both expected to play on Saturday. Turcotte who spent last year at the University of Wisconsin has yet to register a pro point through five games while Byfield has four points (one goal, three assists) in eight games with the Reign this season.
2020 Draft Picks: Sharks’ 2020 draft picks Ozzy Wiesblatt (Round one, 31st overall) and Tristen Robins (Round two, 56th overall) both returned to their respective Western Hockey League teams on Monday as the league announced that its Eastern Division would be starting back up. Wiesblatt was able to score his first professional goal in the Barracuda’s 5-2 win over the Texas Stars on Feb. 12.
Back Again: With all of the movement over the past week, the Barracuda did get back a pair of familiar faces. Last season’s leading point getter Maxim Letunov (12G + 28A) and 2019 AHL All-Star goaltender Josef Korenar were returned to the Barracuda after spending the start of the season on the Sharks’ taxi squad. Neither player has seen regular-season game action this year.
Next Stop, Allen: Before the Barracuda left the state of Texas last week, they announced they’d be assigning five players to the ECHL’s Allen Americans. Forwards Kyle Topping, Joe Garreffa, Krystof Hrabik, Steen Pasichnuk and defenseman Chaz Reddekopp. For Topping, Hrabik and Pasichnuk, it’ll be their first stint in the ECHL. Reddekopp split time between the ECHL and AHL a season ago as a member of the Kings organization and Joe Garreffa began the year in Allen, where he has totaled 14 points (6G + 8A) in 13 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).
Dazzling Danes: Denmark natives Alexander True and Joachim Blichfeld have been stellar in the early going this season. True tallied two goals for the Barracuda in a 5-3 loss against Tucson on Feb. 8, while Blichfeld added a goal and an assist in that game and has since collected multiple points in each of his team’s last three contests. After the long-hiatus True and Blichfeld sit first and second on the Barracuda in scoring while Blichfeld ranks tied for sixth in the league in points-per-game (1.5).
Oh Captain: Before the year began, 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.