Before we remotely go one step further. Play this song in the background and keep it on a loop for today’s pre-game scout. “Why,” you ask. Well, it sets a lovely tone for the first time the Milwaukee Admirals see the San Jose Barracuda.
The Barracuda have been known for a few other names through the years: Kentucky Thoroughblades, Cleveland Barons, and Worcester Sharks. Throughout their movement across the United States they have always been an AHL organization. When NHL ownership packed up their Worcester Sharks and brought them out Californi-way it moved them across conferences.
This match-up between the two sides comes thanks to a chance meeting against California based opposition. Last season the Admirals saw the Bakersfield Condors and the San Diego Gulls. This season they will be getting the San Jose Barracuda and Stockton Heat. Those evil kiddos that took the Western Conference crown on a system that the Californian teams forced the AHL to mandate because they play less games, points percentage – the Ontario Reign, they’ll have to wait at least one more season.
Entering this game the Barracuda have a record of 16-7-1-3 (36 points, 0.667 points percentage). That has them in second place in the Pacific Division and are fourth in the Western Conference standings – one spot behind the Admirals.
The Barracuda have played 4 games less than the Admirals. By the end of the Admirals season the Barracuda will play a further 4 games less. “Why,” you ask. …I still don’t really know.
What I do know though is that this Barracuda team is coming on the Admirals schedule at a time in which they have an 8-1-1-0 run in their last 10 games. This season they have scored 3.48 goals per game while allowing 2.59 goals against per game. Their home power-play is clicking at 27.8% (15/54) which likely helps see that sparkling home record of 10-2-1-1 be what it is.
This will not be a push-over for the Admirals tonight. This should be a battle. They have already logged 18 road games this season and have a 0.667 points percentage from those contests. What they are going to need to avoid is that bug that can plague them at times which is penalty trouble. The less the Barracuda go on the power-play the better. And, speaking of the PP, the Admirals road power-play needs to improve: 13.3% (11/83).
Like the Admirals, the Barracuda will have two representatives at the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic at the end of the month.
22-year old forward Danny O’Regan is the team’s top scorer with 31 points (10 goals, 21 assists) in 27 games and in November made his NHL debut with the San Jose Sharks.
Their last representative is goaltender, and Brooklyn, Wisconsin native, Troy Grosenick who has been part of the organization since the 2013-14 season. On paper, Grosenick has done well by winning 9 games from 19 appearances with a 2.06 goals against average and 0.929 save percentage. What stands out is his AHL best 5 shutouts this season.
Final Note. Get your coffee ready, folks. Tonight’s game starts at 9:00 PM CST and tomorrow night against the Stockton Heat is a half-hour later than that.
What are your expectations for this weekend? Knowing how a Californian AHL team playing 8 games less than the Milwaukee Admirals last season snuck past them on points percentage for the Western Conference crown – how vital are these games for the Admirals to negate points from San Jose and Stockton?
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