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Chmelevski on Sharks’ Message to Him, Barracuda Win 5-1



Credit: San Diego Gulls

After spending most of the year on the San Jose Sharks taxi squad, Sasha Chmelevski scored his first goal of the season for the Barracuda on Friday night. Chmelevski made only two appearances for the Sharks, his only game action in about a year.

“It’s tough because I’m a guy who tries to get into a rhythm,” Chmelevski said before the game to Locked On Sharks. “When you don’t play for such a long time … your instincts aren’t as sharp.”

Chmelevski’s goal, a backdoor tip-in, was a sneaky play. While playing front-of-net on the power play, he slipped behind the Gulls’ defense, got in the blind spot of the goalie, and presented his stick as an easy target for Robbie Russo’s shot. 

Playing in just his fourth game of the season, Chmelevski also led San Jose with five shots on goal. 

The Huntington Beach, CA native is known for his intelligent, crafty play. After being picked by the San Jose Sharks in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL draft, Chmelevski finished his OHL career with back-to-back 75+ point seasons. He played his first full AHL season last year, recording 11 goals and 16 assists in 42 games.

Chmelevski was scheduled to play in his first NHL game Jan. 28, but a transaction error held him back. Chmelevski said he had heard the news during his pre-game routine. He made his San Jose Sharks debut in the next game, against the Ducks Feb. 5, and earned an assist.

“I feel like I got all those little jitters out,” Chmelevski said. “When it came to the Anaheim game, it felt like second nature to me, honestly. I just felt like I was part of the team, and it wasn’t my first game.”

However, Chmelevski didn’t play again until Feb. 27 and saw limited fourth-line minutes again. He played an average of 6:10 through two NHL appearances. The Sharks sent Chmelevski back to the Barracuda on Mar. 2.

“I think at that point, I’d played two games in the last year, and that’s insane,” Chmelevski said. “That’s not enough in terms of development. You just need to feel like yourself … the message was go down there and play some big minutes and just get back to yourself.”

Tune into the Locked on Sharks’ full interview with Sasha Chmelevski, coming out on Wednesday morning.

Halbgewachs leads Barracuda bounceback

Jayden Halbgewachs helped put the Barracuda’s worst performance of the season in the past by scoring two goals in San Jose’s (4-3-1-0) 5-1 win over San Diego (8-5-0-0) Friday night. The Barracuda outshot the Gulls 32-17.

Halfway through the first period, Evan Weinger stole the puck and scored his first goal of the year unassisted. The Gulls tied the game just 16 seconds later, but Halbgewachs scored on the power play to re-take the lead. Playing in his first-ever game as a forward, Robbie Russo earned an assist while quarterbacking the power play.

Defenseman Karlis Cukste was also playing out of position in his professional debut. Cukste, the San Jose Sharks 2015 fifth-round draft pick, was the fourth-line left wing. Cukste deflected in his first career goal, also earning Christian Jaros his first assist with the Barracuda.

Chmelevski scored halfway through the second period, assisted by Russo and Antti Suomela on the power play.

Late in the third period, Frederik Handemark stole the puck along the boards to set up Halbgewachs’ second goal of the night. Halbgewachs wristed in a top corner shot to seal the 5-1 win. Alexei Melnichuk (1-2-1) made 16 saves in his first win of the season.

The Barracuda play the Gulls again Saturday at 7:30 P.M.

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