By: Joe Lami
The San Jose Barracuda lost their first pre-season game on Thursday night to the Stockton Heat 4-2 at Sharks Ice at San Jose. Sharks’ prospect, Chris Crane was impressive in the loss and will bring a presence to the forward position. Barracuda coach, Roy Sommer loved the line of Crane, Petter Emanuelson and Greger Hansen exclaiming it was the best line of the night.
Crane, a Sharks 7th round selection in 2010, is starting to come into his zone as a center and is beginning to realize what it is going to take to eventually make it to the next level, “I put on about ten pounds this summer. If I want to move up to the next level, I got to be that power forward. I got to finish my hits. I got to be physical in front of the net and be full of sandpaper”.
Crane did an excellent job bringing his physicality in front of the net, creating chances all night long and earned a plus on Julius Bergman’s goal. “They preach all the time, get in front of the net, get the puck in the blue paint. You’re going to get a lot of bounces in front of the net, and that’s where you score goals,” he added. Sommer has been loving the play of Crane lately, “he’s had a great camp in my eyes”.
With expected captains Bryan Lerg, John McCarthy, and Karl Stollery out of the lineup on Thursday night, it gave Crane the chance to sport the “A” on his sweater. He mentioned the honor to wear it, “I think they’re looking for me to have more of a leadership role as I get older, and it’s great to have a lot of ice time.”
Last year, Crane only played 13 games in Worcester and was able to add six points, with a goal and five assists. He spent most of the year in the ECHL with the Missouri Mavericks and Kelly Cup champion, Allen Americans. During the playoff run in Allen, Crane played in 25 games scoring 20 points with ten goals and ten assists. “He’s really matured a lot. Going down to Allen last year has really helped his game. That’s the beauty of playing a lot. He wasn’t going to get the ice time he got with them, and he won a cup and was a major part of it. You can see that carried into camp,” Sommer added.
It looks like Crane is beginning to transition into the power forward the Sharks have been missing ever since Ryan Clowe left for New Jersey and if he continues his progression moving forward, he will be pivotal in the upcoming years for San Jose.
Photo Credit: San Jose Barracuda