End of a long road trip for the Barracuda
The San Jose Barracuda will wrap up their longest road trip of the season as they make a stop in Winnipeg for a pair of games against the Manitoba Moose. It has been a long road trip for the team in both miles and time away from home that has seen them travel as far as Norfolk Virginia and included stops in Grand Rapids Michigan and now Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada.
The trip started in California though and didn’t get off to a great start as they dropped a 5-1 loss against the Gulls and had another ugly game against the Ontario Reign dropping a 7-2 decision to their hated rival. Things turned around from there though as they went on to beat two very good teams in the Grand Rapids Griffins (4-1) and the Milwaukee Admirals (4-2) who are as of this writing the top and third best team in the central respectively.
Manitoba Moose Have Struggled
The Manitoba Moose have had a tough go of things this year with a record of 18-20-5 and a .466 point percentage they are well outside the playoff picture in the AHL’s western conference. A major problem for the Moose is even though the Jets have a very good pool of prospects if you ignore Logan Stanley they have all but strip-mined their AHL team because of injuries. The Jets are currently ranked seventh in man games lost this year among NHL teams.
With the Jets not sending a goalie down after recalling Ondrej Pavelec, they have had to rely more heavily on developing goaltender Eric Comrie. Still, if you are able to watch this game a player who I would definitely keep an eye on is Kyle Conner who is a highly skilled 17th, overall pick from the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He has split time between the NHL and AHL squad this year. Another player is Moose leading scorer Jack Roslovic also a first round pick in 2015 (25th overall).
Barracuda Keeping Pace
While winning a head to head match-up would certainly help the Barracuda have done a good job keeping pace with the Ontario Reign considering all the call ups of key components to the NHL club. The Barracuda weathered a storm that saw their defense core gutted by injury and call-ups and still found ways to win. A credit to the roster and the coaching of Roy Sommer. With both games starting at 5 p.m. pacific I expect Troy Grosenick will be getting the start in goal both games.
While no team should ever be taken lightly these two games are an excellent opportunity to keep pace in the AHL’s tight pacific division race. The Barracuda currently sit in second place with a record of 22-11-7 with 48 points and 0.649 winning percentage. They have two games in hand on the Ontario Reign (23-9-7, 53 pts. 0.679 winning percentage) but will need to keep an eye on the San Diego Gulls (21-12-4, 46 pts. and 0.622 winning percentage) who are hot on their heels.