Heat shut down Barracuda in 4-1 win

The visiting Stockton Heat picked up a three goal win over the San Jose Barracuda on Sun Jan 2, 2022 at the SAP Center in San Jose (image by the San Jose Barracuda)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE — The Stockton Heat enacted revenge on the San Jose Barracuda in a 4-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at SAP Center.

San Jose has two out of its past three games. Stockton have won five out of its last six. The Barracuda handed the Heat their first regulation on home ice back on New Year’s Eve.

Adin Hill made his first career start for the Barracuda. Hill just came off the Covid-19 protocol, and the San Jose Sharks sent him down for a conditioning assignment.

Stockton (19-3-2-1) drew first blood early in the first period. A turnover by Artemi Kniazev was picked up by former ‘Cuda forward Alex Gallant who snapped home a wrist shot top shelf past Hill for his first goal of the season at the 2:04 mark.

The Heat doubled its lead on the power play halfway through the opening frame. Martin Pospisil sent a shot from the point initially saved by Hill but Luke Philp cleaned up the rebound for his eighth goal of the season.

The aftermath set off ‘Cuda head coach Roy Sommer who frantically went over by the Stockton bench and started yelling at them. The referees ejected both head coaches after the hostile exchange of words.

Stockton scored their third unanswered goal in the second period. Matthew Phillips sent a home run pass up the ice that sprung Jacob Pelletier on a breakaway. Pelletier skated in a snapped home a wrist shot top shelf past Hill for his team leading 11th goal of the season at the 7:52 mark.

Pelletier has a team high 28 points on the season.

San Jose (11-14-1-0) scored its only goal of the game halfway through the third period. Adam Raska skated in on Heat goalie Dustin Wolf, who made the initial save. Scott Reedy cashed in the rebound for his team leading 14th goal of the season at the 10:10 mark.

Stockton iced the game with an empty net goal with 1:05 remaining. Justin Kirkland’s fourth goal of the season snapped a 19-game goal less draught for the Heat left winger.

Wolf finished the game stopping 33 out of the 34 shots to earn his league best 15th victory of the season and 10th in a row. Hill made 33 saves on 36 shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished 0-for-5 on the power play. Stockton was 1-for-6.

The Three Stars of the Game were: 1) Wolf 2) Reedy 3) Pelletier

UP NEXT: San Jose continues its five-game homestand on Friday 1/7 as they host the Henderson Silver Knights at 7:00pm at SAP Center.

Barracuda cool off Heat in 4-0 shutout victory

Stockton Heat left winger Alex Gallant (20) and San Jose Barracuda right winger Steenn Pasichnuk (80) go for the throw down at Stockton Arena in downtown Stockton on Fri Dec 31, 2021 (photo by the Stockton Heat)

by Marko Ukalovic

STOCKTON, Calif. — The San Jose Barracuda wiped the bad taste out of its mouth the last time they played in Stockton.

The ‘Cuda ended 2021 on a good note with a dominating 4-0 shutout victory over the Heat on Friday afternoon at Stockton Arena.

The last time San Jose played in Stockton back on December 7th, they suffered an embarrassing 10-1 loss to the Pacific Division leaders.

The Barracuda stole a page out of the Heat playbook by playing more physical, cashing in on counter attacks and getting outstanding goaltending.

San Jose have lost two games in a row after having their past two games postponed earlier this week due to Covid-19 protocols. Stockton had its four-game winning streak and seven game point streak snapped after having their two past games also postponed. It was their first home loss in regulation this season.

The first period was scoreless as both goalies, San Jose’s Sam Harvey and Stockton’s (and former ‘Cuda) Andrew Shortridge who both made their first starts of the season, made key saves to keep each team off the board.

Harvey stopped a Glen Gawdin breakaway 14 seconds into the game. Shortridge robbed an open net attempt by Nick Merkley with San Jose on a power play with 2:03 remaining in the opening period.

San Jose (11-13-1-0) drew first blood past the halfway point of the second period. Jayden Halbgewachs sent an outlet pass that sprung Merkley on a breakaway. Merkley lifted a backhander under the glove of Shortridge for his sixth goal of the season at the 11:27 mark.

Merkley’s goal was the first time San Jose have had a lead against Stockton this season.

The Barracuda doubled its lead after a taking advantage of a Heat turnover. Joachim Blichfeld intercepted Conner Mackey’s clearing attempt inside the Heat zone. Blichfeld skated in a snapped a wrist shot past Shortridge for his ninth goal of the season at the 15:20 mark.

Stockton (18-3-2-1) was left scratching their heads heading into the second intermission at they outshot San Jose 11-7 in the middle frame.

San Jose scored its third unanswered goal on the penalty kill early in the third period. Seconds after killing the first penalty off of a five-on-three opportunity for Stockton, Merkley found Evan Weinger up the ice as he just left the penalty box. Weinger skated in on a breakaway and beat Shortridge with a wrist shot for his fifth goal of the season at the 4:36 mark.

It was the ‘Cuda’s sixth short-handed goal of the season.

Blichfeld scored its second goal of the game late in the period. Blichfeld gathered the puck in the neutral zone. As he skated into the Heat zone, he fired a shot from just inside the blueline that beat Shortridge top shelf to the short side for his 10th goal of the season at the 13:26 mark.

Harvey stopped all 30 shots he faced to earn his first career AHL shutout. Shortridge made 22 saves on 26 shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished 0-for-2 on the power play. They are 0-for-9 against Stockton on the man advantage this season. Stockton was 0-for-4.

This was San Jose’s first shutout win since 1/8/20. They now have four shutout wins against Stockton. The ‘Cuda’s last shutout win against the Heat was on 1/14/17.

Mike Murphy, the Barracuda’s head equipment manager, was the backup goalie for San Jose as Alexei Melnichuk is still on the AHL Covid-19 protocol. Zachary Sawchenko is up with the Sharks as their netminder due to Adin Hill still on the NHL Covid-19 protocol.

Bilchfeld has 10 multi-goal games in his career.

Steenn Paschinuk was recalled by San Jose from Orlando. Paschinuk fought with Alex Gallant in the second period.

The Three Stars of the Game were: 1) Harvey 2) Blichfeld 3) Merkley

UP NEX: San Jose play their first game of 2022 on Sunday 1/2 as they host the Stockton Heat at 1:00pm at SAP Center.

AHL postpones Barracuda-Heat game on Wednesday due to Covid-19 protocols

The San Jose Barracuda and Stockton Heat postponed for Wed Dec 29 at SAP Center the game will be rescheduled. The Barracuda have 12 players on their Covid 19 protocol list. (photo from San Jose Barracuda)

by Marko Ukalovic

The AHL announced earlier today that due to league COVID-19 protocols affecting the Barracuda, the San Jose Barracuda’s game on Wed., Dec. 29 against the Stockton Heat has been postponed.

The ‘Cuda now have 12 players on the protocol list as well as assistant coach Michael Chiasson. Here is the current list of players that are on the protocol.

Mark Alt

Sasha Chmelevski

Nick Cicek

Joe Garreffa

Dillion Hamaliuk

Patrick Holway

Krystof Hrabik

Evander Kane

Alexei Melnichuk 

Ryan Merkley

Scott Reedy  

Jasper Weatherby

An additional Barracuda staff member also remains in the AHL’s COVID-19 protocol.

An update to the status of Friday and Sunday’s games will be provided in the coming days.

A make-up date for Wednesday’s game has yet to be determined.

All San Jose Sharks and San Jose Barracuda players and staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and compliant with the NHL and AHL’s COVID-19 testing and guidance protocols. 

Froese’s hat trick powers Heat in 10-1 route of the Barracuda

The San Jose Barracuda sat on the bench expressionless at the Stockton Arena as they find out there is no mercy rule in hockey against the Stockton Heat on Tue Dec 7, 2021 (photo from San Jose Barracuda)

by Marko Ukalovic

STOCKTON, Calif, —There are games where you want to set the tape on fire and never watch again.

In what was their worst performance of the season, the San Jose Barracuda suffered a severe beating from the Stockton Heat in a 10-1 loss on Tuesday evening at Stockton Arena.

San Jose have lost six out of its last seven games. Stockton have won three games in a row and lead the Pacific Division with 30 points.

Stockton (14-2-2-0) jumped out to an early lead in the first period when they scored two goals 14 seconds apart.

Glenn Gawdin found Matthew Phillips along the right wing. Phillips skated back into the middle and lifted a backhander past ‘Cuda goalie Zachary Sawchenko for his sixth goal of the season at the 8:35 mark.

Then former ‘Cuda defenseman Nick DeSimone fired a shot from the right point that was redirected by Gawdin past Sawchenko for his sixth goal of the season at the 8:49 mark.

The Heat scored its third unanswered goal of the period when a counterattack led to a two-on-one odd man rush. Rookie sensation Jacob Pelletier centered a pass from the end line over to Gawdin who beat Sawchenko with a one-timer for his second goal of the game and seventh of the season at the 15:43 mark.

San Jose (6-10-1-0) had chances to get on the board, including a breakaway from Jayden Halbgewachs in the first five minutes of the period, but Heat goalie Dustin Wolf Adam Werner kept San Jose off the board in the opening frame.

Stockton out shot San Jose 12-11 in the first period.

The Heat picked up in the second period where they left off in the first by scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes of the second period.

Connor Mackey sent a cross ice pass to a streaking Eetu Tuulola who beat Sawchenko with a wrist shot to the short side for his third goal of the season at the 6:49 mark.

Less than two minutes later, Stockton extended its lead to 5-0. Ilya Solovyov fed a pass back up to the point where Byron Froese ripped a slap shot past Sawchenko for his fifth goal of the season at the 8:18 mark.

That ended the night for Sawchenko (3-5-0) as he gave up five goals on 18 shots. Zachary Emond finished the game for San Jose.

It did nothing to spark the Barracuda as they played lifeless the rest of the game with multiple turnovers and taking frustration penalties that kept them for establishing a forecheck.

The Heat’s onslaught continued with its sixth straight unanswered goal just 55 seconds later. Gawdin set up Matthew Phillips with a backdoor centering pass that Phillips buried a one-timer past Emond for his seventh goal of the season at the 9:13 mark.

Stockton kept pouring it on with a power play late in the middle frame. Mackey sent in a shot from the point and Froese cleaned up the rebound for his second goal of the game and sixth goal of the season for the Heat captain at the 18:23 mark.

The Heat made it 8-0 early in the third period. Martin Pospisil fired a shot in on net and Connor Zary poked in the rebound for his third goal of the season at the 4:14 mark.

San Jose spoiled the shutout bid for Wolf when Dilion Hamaliuk sent a cross ice pass to Montana Onyebuchi in the left slot and the rookie defenseman rifled a wrist shot past Wolf for his first career AHL goal at the 11:08 mark.

Froese completed his hat trick when he was camped out in front of the crease and redirected Andy Welinski’s shot from the point past Emond for his second power play goal and eighth goal of the season at the 15:05 mark.

Gawdin finished his own hat trick when the ‘Cuda turned the puck right over to his stick and his wrist shot into an empty net for the Heat’s third power play goal that completed the scoring at the 17:04 mark.

Wolf (10-0-2) finished the game stopping 24 of the 25 shots he faced to earn the victory and still hasn’t lost in regulation this season. Emond made 16 saves on 21 shots in mop-up duty.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished 0-for-3 on the power play. Stockton was 3-for-5.

The Three Stars of the Game were: 1) Gawdin 2) Froese 3) Phillips

UP NEXT: San Jose returns to home to host the Abbotsford Canucks in a two-game series on Saturday at 1:15pm at SAP Center.

San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic: Barracuda come away with split against Canucks; Face off with Stockton on Tuesday

The San Jose Barracuda scrum in front of the Abbotsford Canucks net on Sun Dec 5, 2021 at the Abbotsford Arena in their second meeting of the two game series (photo by the San Jose Barracuda)

On the Barracuda podcast with Marko:

#1 The Abbotsford Canucks (7-7-2) used a three-goal third period to defeat the San Jose Barracuda (9-9-1-0) 5-2 on Sunday evening at Abbotsford Centre.

#2 San Jose have lost five of its past six games as they anchor the basement in the Pacific Division with 13 points. Abbotsford have won three of its last four games.

#3 Scott Reedy continues to be consistent on offense with two assists in five straight games. Reedy a rookie looks to be a an up and comer with nine goals and six assists for 15 points and ranks sixth in scoring amongst AHL rookies.

#4 The Barracuda Ryan Merkley a long time waiting to get his first goal of the year after 31 games his offense has improved he has chalked up points in three consecutive games.

#5 The Stockton Heat (13-2-2) host the Barrcuada on Tue Dec 7 at 6:30pm at the Stockton Arena. The Heat have won four out of their last six games and are in first place in the AHL Pacific Division. The last time the two clubs met was at SAP Center Wed Nov 3 the Heat defeated the Barracuda by three goals 4-1.

Join Marko for the San Jose Barracuda podcasts heard Mondays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Heat first period outburst buries Barracuda 4-1

San Jose Barracuda and Stockton Heat matched up at the SAP Center in San Jose on Wed Nov 3, 2021 (photo from the San Jose Barracuda)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE—There’s a heatwave happening in the Central Valley. And it has nothing to do with the weather.

The Stockton Heat scored three goals is the first period en route to a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Barracuda on Wednesday evening at SAP Center.

San Jose is 2-2-0 in its past four games. Stockton have won five games in a row and still haven’t lost in regulation.

Stockton (5-0-1-0) drew first blood four minutes into the first period. A turnover by the Barracuda inside their own zone led to Adam Ruzicka all alone on ‘Cuda goalie Alexei Melnichuk. Ruzicka made one move before lifting a backhander past Melnichuk for his fifth goal of the season at the 4:04 mark. Jacob Pelletier was credited with an assist.

Pelletier now has eight points (2G, 6A) in fives game for Stockton to begin his rookie season.

Stockton doubled its lead just under two minutes later. Glenn Gawdin skated around Adam Parsells and sent a pass through the crease over to Luke Philip who tapped home the puck into an empty net for his third goal of the season at the 5:54 mark.

The Heat scored their goal of the period on the power play. Andy Welinski sent a pass from the point over to the right faceoff circle to Martin Pospisil who sent a wrist shot on net. Ruzicka, who was camped out in front of the crease, redirected the puck past Melnichuk for his second goal of the game and sixth of the season at the 11:13 mark.

San Jose (2-2-1-0) weren’t able to generate much offense as they were busy killing off penalties in the entire second half of the period. Their best chance to get on the scoreboard was on a short-handed odd man rush where Kyle Topping’s shot was saved by Heat goalie Dustin Wolf.

Stockton out shot San Jose 14-6 in the opening 20 minutes.

It’s been a tough few days for ‘Cuda head coach Roy Sommer. The game in Stockton was canceled due to two San Jose players and their goalie coach that tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday afternoon. That had left the team with only 12 players available to play.

There was no time for the recent callup from Orlando to get any practice time before tonight’s game.

“That’s probably the best team in the division and we were a little shorthanded on the back,” said Sommer. “And the guys (who just got here) haven’t had (a chance to) practice yet. They just got off the plane today. So that made a big difference.”

The Heat extended its lead with their second power play goal of the game midway through the second period. Ruzicka sent in a wrist shot on Melnichuk that was initially stopped but Pospisil cleaned up the rebound with a backhand shot for his second goal of the season at the 8:12 mark.

San Jose finally got on the board late in the middle frame. Cole Moberg sent a shot on net from the right end line. The puck ricochet off Wolf into the middle as Scott Reedy crashed in and put the puck into the back of the net for his third goal of the season at the 12:57 mark.

“Just not a real good hockey game (from us). (We) didn’t come out of our end real clean. Turned some pucks over in the neutral zone and didn’t have any (offensive) zone time,” Sommer said.

A scoreless third period featured lots of chippiness between the two teams that have no love lost for one another. Multiple scrums with pushing and shoving ensued throughout the final 20 minutes.

Wolf finished the game with 22 shots on 24 shots to earn the victory. Melnichuk stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished 0-for-4 on the power play. Stockton went 2-for-5.

‘Cuda forward Timur Ibragimov was injured in the third period with an apparent lower body injury when he was tripped up inside the Heat zone. He was not able to finish the game.

This was the first meeting between the two clubs since March 10, 2020, marking a 603 day gap between games.

The Barracuda are 34-20-2, including 18-11-1-0 at home, all time against the Heat.

Forward Noah Gregor remained on the Covid-19 protocol list. Goalie Zachary Sawchenko was released from the list.

San Jose recalled goalie Zachary Emond, defenseman Montana Onyebuchi and forwards Jake McGrew and Kyle Topping from the ECHL’s Solar Bears on Monday.

UP NEXT: San Jose host the Texas Stars on Saturday 11/6 at 1:15pm at SAP Center.

San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic: How bad is the Covid 19 spread in San Jose as game is postponed?

Photo from previous game between the Colorado Eagles and San Jose Barracuda. The Barracuda and Stockton Heat contest was postponed due to Covid 19 protocols on Sun Oct 31, 2021 at Stockton Arena (photo from the San Jose Barracuda)

On the SJ Barracuda podcast with Marko:

#1 Marko, the San Jose Barracuda just barley got their home opener completed on Friday night but on Sunday night they were to travel to Stockton but had their game postponed due to Covid 19 protocols and sitting San Jose players Noah Gregor and Zachary Sawchenko, and goaltending coach Dany Sabourin.

#2 Coincidently the Barracuda’s parent club the San Jose Sharks had to sit several of their players including their head coach as follows,  Andrew Cogliano, Jonathan Dahlen, Erik Karlsson, Jacob Middleton, Matt Nieto, Radim Simek, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Head Coach Bob Boughner were all held out of the game due to NHL COVID-19 protocol. Could the residue of the virus could have compromised the dressing room for the Barracuda?

#3 The Barracuda (2-1-1-0) are coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to the Colorado Eagles (1-4-0-1) in a game that the Barracuda loss on home ice for the home opener.

#4 The Eagles Kiefer Sherwood had himself an evening on Friday scoring twice against the Barracuda and couldn’t keep him down as he even scored the overtime winner.

#5 The Barracuda and Heat will play at the SAP Center on Wed Nov 3rd for a 7:00pm face off both teams will be well rested after having Sunday off but will Gregor and Sawchenko be ready and pass Covid protocols for Wednesday’s game?

Marko does the Barracuda podcasts each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Barracuda-Heat game is postponed due to Covid-19 protocols

The Stockton Heat and the San Jose Barracuda seen here in a previous game at SAP Center. The contest between the Heat and the Barracuda at Stockton Arena for Sun Oct 31, 2021 had been called due to Covid 19 protocols (photo from sjbarracuda.com)

by Marko Ukalovic

STOCKTON, Calif.—The AHL has postponed tonight’s San Jose Barracuda-Stockton Heat game at Stockton Arena as San Jose players Noah Gregor and Zachary Sawchenko, and goaltending coach Dany Sabourin are in COVID protocol.

Here is the team statement from the Barracuda regarding the postponement:

“Due to roster constraints affecting the #SJBarracuda resulting from league COVID-19 protocols, our game scheduled for this evening at Stockton has been postponed.”

UP NEXT: The Barracuda return to action on Wednesday 11/3 hosting the Stockton Heat at 7:00 pm at SAP Center.

San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko Ukalovic: Barracuda look to shut off Knights scoring in tonight’s game in Vegas

Orleans Arena in Las Vegas site of tonight’s San Jose Barracuda and Henderson Silver Knights second game (@JesseGranger photo) Jesse Granger is a staff writer for the Athletic and covers the Knights

On the San Jose Barracuda podcast with Marko:

#1 The Henderson Silver Knights wasted no time scoring five goals in the second period and the Barracuda were whipped 7-3 at Orleans Arena in Vegas for game one of this two game series.

#2 Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer had to be concerned in that second period about shutting the Silver Knights offense but they found they’re way to the net with no problem.

#3 Sommer had to be concerned about goaltender  Zachary Sawchenko who stopped 25 shots but allowed six goals. Was this a game where Sawchenko was just off or he just wasn’t getting enough protection up front?

#4 Marko the other concern that the Barracuda had was the Silver Knights took just 11 shots to convert the six goals in that short of time the defense had to try and reconfigure the Knights offense.

#5 It’s another try again tonight for the Barracuda who face off at 7:oopm at Orleans. In pre season coach Sommer has the opportunity to take a look at a lot of talent how do you see tonight’s match up?

#6 In other AHL news Marko, the Stockton Heat will now play all of it’s home games in Calgary since they are the Flames minor league affiliate and the Heat want to avoid all Covid-19 border crossing protocols.

Join Marko for the Barracuda podcasts Saturday nights at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NHL, Sharks, Suspend All Games Due to COVID-19 Concerns

The Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Capitals NHL hockey club, sits empty Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Washington. The NHL is following the NBA’s lead and suspending its season amid the coronavirus outbreak, the league announced Thursday (photo from usnews.com)

By Mary Walsh

On Thursday the NHL announced a pause in the season. They released a statement that read, in part:

In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019-20 season beginning with tonight’s games.

The move came on the heels of the NBA’s decision to suspend their season after one of their players tested positive for the new virus. Other leagues and events in the US are being suspended or cancelled daily due to concerns over the virus.

The San Jose Sharks had previously announced that March games would be played without fans and only limited media access, consistent with Santa Clara County’s March 9 ban large gatherings of people. After today’s NHL announcement, the Sharks released the following press release about the status of games and tickets:

The National Hockey League has announced today that the 2019-20 NHL regular season will be paused for the safety of its players, employees, and fans in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharks Sports & Entertainment is fully supportive of the NHL’s decision.

With NHL games now being placed on hold as opposed to played without fans, ticket holders are asked to hang on to their tickets until additional information from the NHL becomes available.

As new developments arise, we will communicate with our fans and partners. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

The AHL has also suspended play, which puts the San Jose Barracuda and Stockton Heat and their fans in the same state of limbo as the Sharks.

The NHL expressed the hope that the season could resume at an appropriate time. There are 189 regular season games remaining, as well as the Stanley Cup playoffs. For the complete statement, go to the NHL website.