SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (2-3-1-0) vs TEXAS STARS (4-5-0-0)
SUN., NOV. 7 | 3:00 P.M. | SAP Center at San Jose | San Jose, CA
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Starfish: On Sunday, the Barracuda continue their four-game homestand with the second of two games over the weekend with the Texas Stars, affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. The Barracuda are 13-7-1-2 lifetime against the Stars after going 4-2-0-0 a season ago. The Stars are in the midst of a four-game roadie and erased their three game losing streak by defeating the Barracuda Saturday by a score of 7-3.
Shining Star: Stars captain Curtis McKenzie leads the team with seven points (2+5=7) in eight games played so far this season. In 2009, McKenzie’s rookie season, he earned AHL Rookie of the Year honors and helped the Stars capture a Calder Cup. Of his 389 games played in the AHL, 231 have been with the Stars. The 30-year-old spent the last three seasons prior between Utica and Chicago (AHL). In 2019-20, McKenzie was an assistant captain with the Chicago Wolves, alongside current Barracuda captain Jaycob Megna.
First of Many: On Tuesday, Sharks d-man prospect Ryan Merkley scored his first NHL goal in a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. The second-year pro has gotten off to a fabulous start with the Barracuda, earning assists in each of his last three games and still ranks first on the Barracuda in helpers despite not playing on Wednesday. Merkley has averaged over 25 minutes per-game so far this season which leads the team.
Back in Action: Noah Gregor returned to the lineup Saturday after missing time due to COVID-19 protocols. The forward posted a career high three points (one goal, two assists) and now leads the team with seven points (3+4=7) in five games played.
Sommer Time: Head Coach Roy Sommer returns for his AHL-best 24th season in 2021- 22 and his 26th within the Sharks organization. The Oakland, Calif. native has been behind the bench for 1,680 games, going 790-682-49-159 (W-L-T-OTL/SOL) over that span. During the 2015-16 season, the Barracuda’s first in San Jose, Sommer surpassed Fred “Bun” Cook (636 wins) for the most wins in AHL history in a 4-2 win over the Ontario Reign on Feb. 10, 2016.
Major Movement: Due to COVID-19 protocols effecting both the Sharks and the Barracuda, the team has been forced to recall six players from the Orlando Solar Bears (Kyle Topping, Jake McGrew, Montana Onyebuchi, Zach Emond, Joe Garreffa and Krystof Hrabik) and signed four skaters to professional tryouts (Alec Rauhauser, Adam Parsells, Connor McDonald and Patrick McNally). Eight players from the Barracuda’s opening-night roster are not currently on the team (Nick Merkley, Ryan Merkley, John Leonard, Jaycob Megna, Nicolas Meloche, Dylan Gambrell, Joel Kellman and Artemi Kniazev).