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SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (0-0-1-0) vs TUCSON ROADRUNNERS (1-0-0-0)
MONDAY, FEB. 8 | 6:00 P.M. PT | TUCSON CONVENTION CENTER | TUCSON, AZ
LISTEN | WATCH | GAME NOTES
Back-to-Back: The Barracuda return to action on Monday evening for the second game of the young 2021 season. Monday will mark the second-straight tilt with the Tucson Roadrunners (Arizona Coyotes). San Jose fell to the Roadrunners in Sunday’s season-opener, 2-1, in OT.
New Faces: Once again, in 2020-21, the Barracuda will boast one of the youngest rosters in the AHL. In total, there was 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).
Johnny Boy: Barracuda rookie John Leonard scored in his AHL debut on Monday. Leonard, a 2019 Hobey Baker Finalist and 2018 Sharks draft pick, stormed down the left wing in the early stages of the third period and beat Tucson’s Ivan Prosvetov through the five-hole. The UMASS product collected two points (assist) in his NHL Debut for the Sharks on Jan. 13, 2021 at Arizona.
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.
Bolstering the Blueline: The Barracuda brought in several veteran pieces to help with blue-line depth and leadership in 2020-21. The group includes, former Gulls' captain Jaycob Megna, 2017 Calder Cup Champion Robbie Russo, and fourth-year pros Jacob Middleton and Nick DeSimone, who have both played over 150 AHL games in their careers.
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.
Between the Pipes: After last Friday’s recall of Josef Korenar to the Sharks Taxi Squad and the assignment of Alexei Melnichuk, the Barracuda’s opening-night goalies will look a bit different than it did a year ago. Zachary Sawchenko returns, but newcomers Melnichuk and Sam Harvey join the fold. Alexei Melnichuk got the nod and made his AHL debut on Sunday against Tucson. Melnichuk made 23 saves but took the hard-luck loss in overtime.
Oh Captain: On 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.