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Barracuda Bites: Hunting the Moose

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The only two AHL teams to share their NHL arenas collide.

Flickr / SJBarracuda

This weekend, the San Jose Barracuda took on the Manitoba Moose for a weekend series at the SAP Center, their first and second of four matchups this season.

Saturday’s clash was a lopsided affair for the Manitoba Moose, despite the Barracuda leading in shots all game long. Troy Grosenick and Eric Comrie received the calls in net. A familiar face started up front for the Moose as Buddy Robinson, who went the other way along with Zack Stortini in the Tommy Wingels trade, made his return to the Tank on Saturday.

There’s not much to say about the first period other than the fact that Jack Roslovic essentially owned this period. Winnipeg’s first round pick in 2015 made a statement in the first, contributing to two goals and scoring one. His first goal of the game came on a power play. Troy Grosenick robbed him a few shifts before and Roslovic got his revenge, beating him blocker side to put the Moose up, 1-0. After a scramble in the crease, Roslovic nearly got his second, but the goal was credited to Mike Sgarbossa for his sixth of the year. Nearly two minutes later, JC Lipon redirected a shot from Cam Schilling to crack the game open for the Moose.

In the second period, Jack Roslovic struck once again, reading a pass from Sami Niku on the left wing and poking it past Grosenick for his second of the game, and his eighth goal of the season. With 53 seconds to go in the period, a shot by Jansen Harkins took a bad bounce off the skate of Michael Brodzinski to put the game beyond doubt, 5-0 Moose.

During the second period intermission, former Army goalie Parker Gahagen was unofficially introduced as the newest member of the San Jose Barracuda. He’ll train with the ‘Cuda in preparation for the PyeongChang Olympics.

Antoine Bibeau replaced Troy Grosenick in net in the third, and the goals stopped there for the Moose. Nearly six minutes into the period, the line of Kevin Labanc - Daniel O’Regan - Marcus Sorensen led the Barracuda to a goal once again. This time, it was the Bancer who received an almost no-look pass from O’Regan for his first goal of the (AHL) season. With 1:08 remaining in the game, Brandon Bollig found the net as he tripped on the end of Jansen Harkins’ stick with his third goal of the campaign, but the damage had already been done, as the ‘Cuda dropped the first game 5-2.

Sunday’s match went much better for the Barracuda, as Antoine Bibeau got the start in net. Off the heels of a great game the previous night, Eric Comrie once again led the Moose onto the ice for warm-ups and subsequently the game.

There was no scoring in the first period, but it was chock full of chances for both teams. However, only 4:10 into the second, Danny O’Regan scored his sixth goal of the season when he found the very top of the net, leading to some confusion, but a goal nonetheless for the Barracuda. The Moose answered back late into the period when their captain, Patrice Cormier, beat Antoine Bibeau shorthanded to tie the game.

Despite Kevin Labanc’s call-up on Sunday morning, the O’Regan - Sorensen duo and their new found partner, Rudolfs Balcers, produced like Labanc had never left. Early in the third period, Balcers in the corner found Marcus Sorensen, who sent it bar-down for his fifth goal of the season. A few minutes later, Rourke Chartier made his triumphant return to the Tank as he put a rocket past Eric Comrie for his first goal of the year. Radim Simek delivered the dagger, shooting the puck from center ice into the empty net, and the Barracuda won 4-1.

Following this weekend, the Cuda currently sit in fifth place in a tight Pacific Division with a .458 winning percentage, still unable to crack .500 at 5-6-1. The Moose are in first in the Central Division at 8-5-2.