By: Joe Lami
SAN JOSE, Calif.—San Jose Barracuda season ticket holder’s were treated to their first taste of action on Thursday night at Sharks Ice at San Jose as the new AHL team played their first pre-season game. Fans might have disappointed in the outcome, as the Barracuda lost to the Stockton Heat 4-2 but enjoyed the physicality brought in the combined 66 penalty minutes that included four fights.
The first fight got the fans going just two minutes into the contest, as Alex Gallant dropped the gloves with Garrett Hunt in a heated battle.
Barracuda coach, Roy Sommer, loved the physical play “I really liked the compete level. I didn’t think it was a 4-2 game. I thought the game had a lot of energy. I would’ve loved to get the win, but we saw what we needed to tonight”. The Barracuda are scheduled to play the Heat 12 times during the regular season, setting up what’s sure to be a heated rivalry.
Sharks’ prospect, Troy Grosenick, started the night between the pipes for the ‘Cuda playing a total of 27 minutes before Sommer pulled him. He gave up one goal on nine shots in his period and a half. A scary moment occurred in the second period when he was run into and taken out during a breakaway. Fortunately, he would be okay, according to Sommer who mentioned afterwards, “I was going to take him out at the midway point, and we were going to split tonight”. Aaron Dell came into replace Grosenick and faced 17 shots, giving up three of them.
It took until the second period for the Barracuda to light the lamp, as Petter Emanuelson scored the franchise’s first (pre-season) goal. Emanuelson finished the night with two points as he picked up the assist on San Jose’s second goal, scored by Julius Bergman just 12 seconds into the third period. Bergman had a perfect shot from the right circle hitting the top right corner. Bergman is going to be a force for the ‘Cuda this year on the blue line and will add a lot of offense from the right point. Last year in London, the 19-year old finished with 42 points in 64 games.
The Barracuda continue their pre-season schedule as they will play their first road game on Saturday in Bakersfield. The Condors are the new AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers. Expect goaltender Joel Rumpel to get the nod in net for the Barracuda, as Sommer wants to give him a chance.