While the Sharks seem to have reached rock bottom, there may be some hope in the long-term because of some good showings from their AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda.
While most of you were at work or in school, the Barracuda were playing at SAP Center against the Bakersfield Condors with an unconventional puck-drop time of 11:00 AM PDT. This was because the Barracuda were putting on their second-annual “‘Cuda Classroom Day” event where elementary to middle school students could come take in a hockey game while learning about the game itself.
While the kids learned in the stands, the ‘Cuda taught a lesson to the Condors that they weren’t the same team that the Condors won the season series against last year. The Condors out-shot the Barracuda in the first frame, but that ceased to have any importance when Joachim Blichfeld scored his first professional goal on the power play with a minute and change to go in the first frame.
Joel Kellman was credited with the primary assist, extending his point streak to an impressive six games. He finished the game with another helper, giving him seven assists so far on the season, good enough to tie six players, including former Sharks prospect Danny O’Regan, for sixth place in assists in the AHL.
After an impressive penalty kill, Kellman found Alexander True darting out of the box with a nice lead pass and a better back-hand finish that got past Condors netminder Dylan Wells to extend the lead to 2-0.
It was full-throttle from that point on for the boys in white and teal. Joachim Blichfeld once again scored in the middle of the second period with a shot from the faceoff circle in the middle of the second period, then in the third period Evan Weinger scored his second goal of the season off a spinning assist from Jayden Halbgewachs.
Besides the whole education thing, the biggest storyline in the game was the return of Radim Simek to in-game action. Simek hadn’t played since March 12th against the Winnipeg Jets, when an awkward collision revealed a tear of his ACL and MCL, ruling him out for the remainder of the 2018-19 season. He made an offensive impact, nearly scoring in his first game back, but it was tipped off of Lean Bergmann’s stick and in for his third goal in four games. He was also solid defensively, blocking two shots on a penalty kill, which is incredibly bold for someone who came off of two reconstructive surgeries in the knee area.
Josef Korenar followed up a shutout in Loveland, Colorado against the Colorado Eagles on Saturday night with... another shutout. That makes it two consecutive shutouts for the Czechian 21-year old, as he continues to emerge in the Sharks’ prospect pool — and not a moment too soon, as the Sharks’ goaltending situation once again looks shaky.
The Barracuda will next head to Stockton on Friday night to take on their rivals to the north, the Stockton Heat. The puck drops at 7:00, and can be streamed on AHL TV. Alternatively, audio streaming is also available on the Sharks + SAP Center app.