Barracuda edge Roadrunners 2-1 advance to play in game finale

The San Jose Barracuda after defeating the Tucson Roadrunners on Tue May 18th advance to the next play in game against either the Ontario Reign or the Colorado Eagles in the AHL Pacific Division playoffs (image from @sjbarracuda)

by Marko Ukalovic

IRVINE, Calif–Jake McGrew scored the game winning goal for the San Jose Barracuda halfway through the third period in a 2-1 victory over the Tucson Roadrunners in a Pacific Division single elimination play-in-game on Tuesday afternoon at Five Point Arena.

San Jose came into the play-in-game as the fourth seed and Tucson was the seventh seed after the regular season concluded. The Pacific Division is the only division in the AHL to participate in a post-season tournament for the 2021 season. The winner of both play-in-games will be the fourth seed and take on the top seeded Henderson Silver Knights in a best of three series.

McGrew’s heroics came as San Jose gained its first lead of the game. Scott Reedy poked the puck away from Victor Soderstrom behind the net. Jayden Halbgewachs quickly found McGrew along the end line and the SoCal native beat Prosvetov with a quick wrist shot to the near side of the post for his first playoff goal at the 9:18 mark of the third period.

The opening 20 minutes was scoreless as both teams played a defensive minded style of play. Both teams combined for just 11 shots in the first period.

Tucson drew first blood early in the second period. A clearing attempt by San Jose was intercepted by Nate Sucese near the left corner boards. Sucese found Jan Jenik at the left slot and Jenik skated in and shot a backhander that beat ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar at the 3:01 mark.

San Jose answered back just past the half way mark in the middle frame. Nicolas Meloche fired a shot along the left boards that hit off the skate of a crashing Evan Weinger through the five-hole of Roadrunners goalie Ivan Prosvetov at the 11:24 mark. Brandon Coe received the secondary assist.

Both teams had 13 shots each after the first 40 minutes of the game.

Tucson pulled Prosvetov in the final 2:05 for an extra attacker to try send the game into overtime but Korenar and his defense held down the fort and sent the Roadrunners into the off season.

Korenar finished the game stopping 19 of the 20 shots he faced to earn the victory and his second playoff victory of his ALH career. Prosvetov made 18 saves on 20 n the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose went 0-for-3 on the power play. Tucson was 0-for-3.

The Three Stars of the Game were: 1) Korenar 2) McGrew 3) Jenik

UP NEXT: The Barracuda will play the winner of the Ontario Reign vs, Colorado Eagles game on Wednesday 5/19 at 7:00pm at Five Point Arena in Irvine.

Barracuda take down Reign 4-2

The San Jose Barracuda were able to skate ahead of the Ontario Reign at the Toyota Performance Center in El Segundo on Sun Apr 25, 2021 (@ sjbarracuda photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

EL SEGUNDO, Calif-The San Jose Barracuda created a new line and it paid dividends right away as they upended the Ontario Reign on 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at the Toyota Performance Center.

San Jose snapped its two game losing streak and earned its third straight road victory. They swept the season series 4-0 against their SoCal division rival. Ontario has lost six straight on home ice (0-4-2).

Ontario (10-18-4-0) drew first blood on the power play in the first period. Akil Thomas’ shot from the left slot was saved by ‘Cuda goalie Alexei Melnichuk but the rebound leaked out to Martin Frk who buried a wrist shot under the crossbar into the back of the net for his second goal of the season at the 12:16 mark.

San Jose (13-11-4-2) answered back immediately just seven seconds later. Scott Reedy won the ensuing faceoff at center ice over to Jake McGrew who raced down the right wing and whistled a wrist shot off the far post past Reign goalie Jean-Francois Berube for his third goal of the season.

With Joachim Blichfeld called up to the San Jose Sharks, ‘Cuda head coach Roy Sommer put together the line of Reedy, McGrew and Jayden Halbgewachs. Each member of the newly formed line each had a goal in the game as they had a hand in 75% of San Jose’s goals. The lined combined for eight total points.

The Barracuda gained its first lead of the game just over two minutes later. A turnover by the Reign at its own blueline led to a shot by McGrew that Berube couldn’t corral. Reedy crashed the net and jammed home the rebound past Berube for his fourth goal of the season at the 15:47 mark.

Ontario out shot San Jose 13-7 in the opening 20 minutes.

San Jose went up 3-1 early in the second period. The ‘Cuda kept sustained pressure inside the Reign’s zone. Jaycob Megna collected the puck at the left point and fired home the puck past a screened Berube for his second goal of the season at the 7:15 mark. Megna snapped a 19-game goal less draught.

Ontario cut the lead to a one-goal game late in the second period with its second power play goal of the game. Alex Turcotte lasered a wrist shot from top of the circle on the left side past Melnichuk into the right corner for his third goal of the season at the 16:10 mark.

The Reign had a 22-15 edge in shots at the end of 40 minutes.

The Barracuda scored an insurance goal early in the third goal and took control of the third period. Once again the line of McGrew, Reedy and Halbgewachs created the much needed offense.

McGrew threw a shot in on net from the right slot. Reedy’s rebound attempt was saved by Berube, but Halbgewachs cashed in on the second chance right at the doorstep of the crease as he lifted the puck over the sprawled out Berube for his fifth goal of the season at the 4:22 mark.

Melnichuk (5-6-3) finished the game stopping 33 of the 35 shots he faced to earn the victory. Berube (4-9-2) made 18 saves on 22 shots in the losing effort. He was 0-2 versus the ‘Cuda this season.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0-for-3 on the power play. Ontario went 2-for-3.

The Three Stars of the Game were: 1) Reedy 2) McGrew 3) Halbgewachs.

UP NEXT: San Jose returns home to host the Bakersfield Condors on Tuesday 4/27 at 6:00pm at Solar4America Ice.

San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic: Barracuda and Reign face off in Ontario Sunday

The San Jose Barracuda and San Diego Gulls faced off last Wed Apr 21, 2021 in San Diego (@sjbarracuda photo)

On the SJ Barracuda podcast with Marko:

#1 The game wasn’t even close Marko the San Jose Barracuda (12-11-4-2) were blown out Wednesday night 6-2 by the San Diego Gulls (21-13-0-0) in San Diego.

#2 The game Wednesday was the last meeting between the Barracuda and the Gulls for the season the Barracuda were 2-3-1 against San Diego.

#3 Tough night between the pipes for Cuda goaltender Steve Harvey (2-3-1) facing 36 shots surrendering five goals.

#4 On the bright side the Barracuda Alex True now has nine goals and 20 points for the season.

#5 The Barracuda are in Ontario Sunday night at 3:00pm to face the Reign. The Barracuda have been playing .500 hockey going 3-3 in their last six games how do you see Sunday night’s match up?

Join Marko for the Barracuda podcasts each Saturday night at

San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic Sat Apr 24, 2021 by Sports Radio Service | Free Listening on SoundCloud

Barracuda route Reign in 5-1 victory

The San Jose Barracuda share congratulations after their win over Ontario Reign at the Toyota Sports Performance Center in El Segundo on Sun Apr 11, 2021 (@sjbarracuda photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

EL SEGUNDO, Calif—The San Jose Barracuda scored three goals in the first period as they dominated the Ontario Reign in a 5-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at the Toyota Sports Performance Center.

San Jose’s win gave them 24 points as they continue to occupy fourth place in the Pacific Division and the final playoff spot. Ontario have lost four of its past five games.

The Barracuda (9-8-4-2) opened the scoring early on in the first period. Alex True picked up the puck after a multi-player collision along the right boards and quickly found a wide open Sasha Chmelevski in front of the crease and he snapped home a wrist shot past Reign goalie Matt Villalta for his first goal of the game and his fourth goal at the 4:00 mark.

Chmelevski didn’t take long to double the ‘Cuda’s lead to 2-0. Once again it was True setting up his winger. True spun away from an Ontario defender and found Chemelevski in the right slot. The Orange County native then fired home a wrist shot top-shelf past Villalta for his two-goal afternoon and fifth of the season at the 6:36 mark.

Ontario (9-15-3-0) cut the lead in half just under two minutes later. A failed clearing attempt by San Jose was intercepted by Lias Andersson and he sent the puck back up to the point where Austin Strand fired a shot through a body of traffic past ‘Cuda goalie Zachary Sawchenko for this first goal of the season at the 9:04 mark.

San Jose regained its two-goal lead when Nicolas Meloche led an odd-man rush down the left wing. Meloche centered a pass over to Brinson Pasichnuk who lasered home a wrist shot top-shelf past Villalta for his first career AHL goal at the 13:52 mark.

The Barracuda outshot the Reign 10-9 in the opening frame.

San Jose went up 3-1 more than halfway through in the second period as Scott Reedy also scored his first career AHL goal. Joel Kellman sent a cross ice pass from the right slot over to Reedy who beat Villalta with a well placed wrist shot at the 13:52 mark.

The Barracuda out shot the Reign 13-11 in a penalty free middle frame.

San Jose put the game way late in the third period when Jacob Middleton intercepted a pass inside the ‘Cuda zone. Middleton raced down the ice on a breakaway where his initial shot was saved by Villalta but the veteran defenseman cleaned up his own rebound with a backhander for his third goal of the season at the 14:25 mark.

Sawchenko finished the game stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced to earn the victory. Villalta made 27 saves on 32 shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose went 0-for-2 on the power play. Ontario was 0-for-1.

The Three Stars of the Game were: 1) Chmelevski 2) True 3) Pasichnuk

UP NEXT: The Barracuda host the Texas Stars on Tuesday 4/13 at 6:00pm at Solar4America Ice.

Barracuda come back from three-goal deficit to beat Reign 6-3

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif. — When you have been off for 13 days, a little rust is expected in your first game back.

The San Jose Barracuda gave up the game’s first three goals, but ended up scoring the final six in a 6-3 victory over the Ontario Reign on Saturday evening at Solar4America Ice.

San Jose had five consecutive games postponed due to a combination of inclement weather and COVID-19 protocols. This was their first game played since February 13th.

In the first period, the ‘Cuda had a tough time shaking off the rust as the Reign scored three goals in a three-minute span to take a commanding 3-0 lead.

First Aidan Dudas scored his second goal of the season at the 8:34 mark. Cameron Gaunce received the only assist on Dudas’ goal.

Quinton Byfield set up Mikey Eyssimont down low and Eyssimont slid the puck past ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar for his first goal of the season at the 10:28 mark.

Just over a minute later, Blaine Byron scored a power play goal for Ontario (1-7-1-0) when he tipped in a shot from Blyfield past Korenar for his third goal of the season at the 11:39 mark.

Ontario dominated the opening 20 minutes, outshooting San Jose 14-4.

San Jose (2-2-1-0) began its comeback near the halfway mark of the second period. Kurtis Gabriel centered a pass over to a wide-open Fredrik Handemark and buried home the puck into an open net for the first of his two goals of his AHL career at the 8:33 mark.

The ‘Cuda scored the next three goals in a two-minute span that had the Reign on their heels for the final five minutes of the middle frame.

Joel Kellman finished off a two-on-one odd man rush with a wrist shot that beat Reign goalie Matthew Villalta for an unassisted goal, his first of the season at the 15:32 mark.

After a clean faceoff win, Nick DeSimone fired a slap shot from the right point that Joachim Blichfeld was able to redirect past Villalta for his team leading fourth goal of the game at the 17:02 mark.

30 seconds later, Gabriel completed his “Gordie Howe hat trick” when he skated in from behind the Reign net and tucked home the puck inside the right post for his first goal of the season at the 17:32 mark.

Gabriel, who assisted on Handemark’s goal, also had a spirited fight with Ontario’s Jacob Doty back in the first period.

Reign head coach John Wroblewski pulled Villalta from the game and replaced him with J.F. Berube to start the third period.

San Jose capped off the scoring with two short-handed, empty-net goals at the end of the third period when Ontario pulled Berube for an extra attacker. Antti Suomela scored art the 18:03 mark and Handemark scored his second of the night at the 18:39 mark.

Kornear, who made his season debut, stopped 33 of the 36 shots he faced to earn his first win of the season. Villalta made 13 saves on 17 shots suffered the loss. Berube stopped all 13 shots he faced.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0-for-3 on the power play. Ontario was 1-for-6.

Suomela extended his point streak to four games (1G, 3A).

Kellman had his fifth multi-point game of his AHL career.

Gabriel and Jeffery Viel put a team-best nine shots on net.

Blichfeld also extended his point streak to four games (4G, 3A).

San Jose’s four-goal second was the most goals scored in a period this season.

UP NEXT: San Jose and Ontario square off again on Sunday 2/28 at 5:00 pm at Solar4America Ice.

San Jose Barracuada podcast: If all goes right Barracuda will face off against Ontario tonight; First game back since Feb 13th

The San Jose Barracuda goaltender Josef Korenar rejoined the team on Feb 21st after a stint with the parent club the San Jose Sharks. Korenar is expected to get his share of work between the pipes as the Barracuda host the Ontario Reign tonight at SAP Center (file photo from the Hockey Writers)

San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic:

#1 Marko tonight finally tonight the Barracuda play their first game since Feb 13th before they got froze out due to weather in Texas. For coach Roy Sommer and the Barracuda their looking to return to action.

#2 Marko, how much does a 13 day lay off period mean to the Barracuda could it beneficial or could it mean their timing could be off once they get back on the ice tonight.

#3 The San Jose Sharks forward Maxime Letunov  and goaltender Josef Korenar joined the Barracuda on Feb 21st. How do you see Letunov coming back from the parent club helping on offense and will Korenar get some starts soon enough.

#4 Cornavirus has played such a huge role in the Barracuda schedule outside of the poor weather conditions they went through in Texas. It canceled three games in Tucson and Thu Feb 25th’s game was canceled when San Jose Shark Tomas Hertl had Covid-19 protocol issues.

#5 The Barracuda open up the first of two games against the Ontario Reign tonight in San Jose. The Barracuda are 2-3 in their two wins showed they have the fight and can score at key opportunities would you say those are some of the things they’ve worked on during morning skates?

Join Marko for the Barracuda podcasts each Saturday night at

San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic Fri Feb 27, 2021 by Sports Radio Service | Free Listening on SoundCloud

SJ Barracuda report: San Jose-Bakersfield postponed for Thursday night due to Covid-19

San Jose Barracuda left winger Jayden Halbgewachs battles for the puck in front of the Bakersfield Condors net in a previous meeting with Bakersfield. The game between the two teams on Thu Feb 25, 2021 has been postponed due to the San Jose Sharks Tomas Hertl testing positive for Coronavirus. ( file photo)

By Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE-Due to the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights NHL game that was scheduled at SAP Center in San Jose on Thu Feb 25th that was postponed due the San Jose Sharks Tomas Hertl having tested positive for Covid 19  been the game between the Bakersfield Condors and San Jose Barracuda has been also postponed for Thursday night as the Condors and Barracuda were scheduled to play at Solar 4America Ice in San Jose.

Despite both teams playing and doing morning skates in separate facilities the AHL and the San Jose Barracuda were on the side of caution and decided to postpone Thursday night’s game.

This will be the Barracuda’s fifth game postponement in a row. The Barracuda had one game in Texas postponed due to freezing weather conditions in the Cedar Park area on Sun Feb 14th. They then flew to Tucson and had their games  and for Fri 19th, Sat 20, and Sun 21st postponed due to Covid 19 issues from the Tucson Roadrunners side. Thu Feb 25th’s cancelation is due to a San Jose Sharks player testing positive for the virus. That player is unnmamed.

The Barracuda are scheduled to host the Ontario Reign on Sat Feb 27th the first of a two game series concluding Sun 28th in San Jose. If they play it it will be the Barracudas first taste of action since Sat Feb 13th when they played the Texas Stars in the second of a intended three game series.

Marko Ukalovic does the San Jose Barracuda podcasts each Saturday night at

San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic: Reign get OT shootout victory 3-2 against Barracuda Friday

The San Jose Barracuda forward Jayden Halbgewachs (89) takes the puck up ice as he’s pursued by the Ontario Reign’s forward Nick Halloran (32) on Fri Jan 22, 2021 at Toyota Sports Performance Center in El Segundo CA (photo from

On the SJ Barracuda podcast with Marko:

#1 Marko, the Barracuda lost a razor edge close game in Ontario on Friday night 3-2 in a overtime shootout. The Barracuda came out at 15 seconds at the start of the game and getting on scoreboard.

#2 Marko, Talk about Kurtis Gabriel over two games he scored 36 seconds into Thursday night’s game against San Diego and Friday night against Ontario 15 seconds if the two thoughts here is his two quick goals out of opportunity or out of design by Barracuda head coaches Roy Sommer.

#3 With the score tied at 1-1 the Reign’s Blaine Byron scored his first goal of the season after intercepting a pass in the neutral zone and took the puck to the slot and shot the puck in the attacking zone past the Barracuda’s goalie Josef Korenar at 0:51 of the second period.

#4 The Barracuda’s Ryan Merkley passed to Jayden Halbgewachs who was at the door step of the goal and scored to tie the game up at 6:24 2-2.

#5 The pre season continues as the Barracuda will face the Tucson Roadrunners at Tucson Convention Center on Wed Jan 27th a 4:00pm face off. Marko the Roadrunners have always given the Barracuda headaches how do you expect the outcome of a game like this?

Join Marko Saturday nights for a look at the SJ Barracuda podcasts at



Reign edge Barracuda in 3-2 shootout win

Final score image from @ontarioreign 

by Marko Ukalovic

EL SEGUNDO, Calif—The Ontario Reign scored on all three shootout attempts to upend the San Jose Barracuda on Friday afternoon at the Toyota Sports Performance Center.

Kurtis Gabriel didn’t wait long to score is second goal of the pre-season. It took only 15 ticks into the game for him to get San Jose on the board. Gabriel redirected a Zach Gallant shot from atop the circle past Reign goaltender Jean-Francois Berube.

The Reign would manage to even the score on the power-play as 2020 second overall pick Quinton Byfield took advantage of a fortuitous bounce on a partially blocked shot below the right circle, and slid it into the open net for his second goal of the season at the at the13:35, mark..

The Barracuda outshot Ontario 11-7 in the opening 20 minutes.

In the second, with 51 seconds remaining in the frame, Ontario took its first lead as Blaine Byron intercepted a neutral-zone pass, cut to the slot as he entered the attacking zone, and beat ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar with a quick snipe for his first goal of the pre-season. 

Antti Suomela had a chance earlier in the period on a two-on-one rush but his shot from the far circle was turned aside by Berube. After two periods, the shots read 19 for each team.

In the third at 6:24, Ryan Merkley found Jayden Halbgewachs on the doorstep, for the equalizer for his second goal of the pre-season.

With under five minutes to play, the Barracuda nearly regained their lead on a similar play, this time Thomas Gregoire set up Gallant for a glorious close-range opportunity, but it wouldn’t go and the score would remain level.

Halfway through the three-on-three overtime, Ontario rushed up the ice on a two-on-one but Korenar came up large with a game-saving stop. Neither team would generate much in the way of offense in the remaining two and a half minutes.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda are back in preseason action on Wednesday 1/27 at 4:00 p.m. as they take on the Tucson Roadrunners at the Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, Arizona.

Reign win seasaw battle over Barracuda 4-2 photo

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif- Luck can be tricky thing. In a game they mostly dominated, the San Jose Barracuda were on the end of some tough luck in a 4-2 loss to the Ontario Reign on Wednesday evening at SAP Center.

A fluky bounce led to a 2-on-0 breakaway for Giovanni Fiore who lifted a backhand top-shelf past ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar for what proved to be the game winning goal, Fiore’s fourth of the season, at the 10:52 mark of the third period.

Both teams split their last two games against each other. San Jose is 3-5-0-1 on the season against its SoCal rival. Ontario have a seven game winning streak on the road and jumped ahead of San Diego for fourth place and the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division with 60 points.

Ontario (27-20-5-1) drew first blood on the power play in the first period. The Reign took advantage of a 5-on-3 opportunity. Paul LaDue sent in a shot from the left point that was initially saved by Korenar but the rebound leaked out to Carl Grundstrom who buried it home for his 11th goal of the season at the 10:57 mark.

The Reign hadn’t registered a shot on goal for almost the first 11 minutes of the opening frame until their two-man advantage. The ‘Cuda (17-27-3-2) had outshot the Reign 8-0 but goalie Matt Villalta made key point blank saves to keep the Barracuda off the scoreboard.

“We had a really solid game,” said Sasha Chmelevski regarding his team’s performance. “I don’t think we had the right breaks at the right time and sometimes that costs you.”

San Jose scored the equalizer 38 seconds into the second period. Jayden Halbgewachs placed a shot on net. Danil Yurtaykin collected the puck and performed a spin-o-rama pass over to a wide open Manny Wiederer who tapped home the puck into an empty net while falling down for his third goal of the season.

Ontario regained the lead thanks to another trip to the sinbin by San Jose. Blaine Byron won a face off back up to Paul LaDue at the point. LaDue’s slapshot was redirected off Tim Schaller’s body for a power play goal, his first goal of the season at the 6:31 mark.

“There were times we pushed the pace, and there were times where they kinda took it to us. It was one of those games. It was a little back and forth. It was enough that I thought we did enough positive things,” said co-head coach Michael Chiasson.

The Barracuda tied the game back up on the power play late in the middle frame. Ivan Chekhovich led a rush up the ice. He fed a pass over to Halbgewachs who quickly sent it over to Chmelevski. The rookie forward then made a nice forehand-to-backhand move to finish off a pretty tic-tac-toe goal for his 10th goal of the season at the 18:27 mark.

“I just went to the net and Halbs (Halbgewachs) found me. I just wanted to be patient with the puck cause I knew the goalie was going to wait for me to make a move. So I was glad that I scored,” Chemelvski said.

With his two helpers, Halbgewachs notched his 11th mutli-point game of the season.

“I’m trying to work, just be consistent every single game. I think that is what I lacked the most is consistency. If I keep that going, things are bright for the future,” Halbgewachs said.

Byron iced the game with an empty netter goal, his 11th of the season, after a turnover by Jonny Brodzinski to complete the scoring at the 19:16 mark.

Villalta finished the night with 33 saves on 35 shots to earn his ninth win of the season. Korenar stopped 21 of the 24 shots he faced in suffering the tough luck loss. He is now 0-4-1 against Ontario.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1-for-4 on the power play. Ontario was 2-for-4. The ‘Cuda have scored a power play goal in five straight games.

Yurtaykin was injured four minutes into the second period and left the game when he was slammed up against the boards by Ryan Stanton. No penalty was called on the play. Yurtaykin did not return to the game.

Anthony Greco played in his first game as a member of the ‘Cuda. He was acquired in a trade by the San Jose Sharks along with a 2020 first-round pick this past Monday for Barclay Goodrow and a 2020 third-round pick. Greco has appeared in 40 AHL games this season between Springfield and Syracuse, recording 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points.

The fourth-year pro set career highs with 30 goals, 29 assists and 59 points last season, earning a trip to the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic. He also made his NHL debut, appearing in one game with the Florida Panthers.

Greco has played 264 AHL games with Springfield and Syracuse, amassing 85 goals and 73 assists for 158 points

Keaton Middleton played in his 100th AHL game.

The announced attendance was 2,149.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda continue their six-game homestand hosting the San Diego Gulls on Saturday 2/29 at 1:15pm at SAP Center.