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San Jose Barracuda

Zach Gallant Providing Solid Play + Merkley “Works” Gallant in What Video Game?

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Credit: San Jose Barracuda

Finally playing in games consistently, rookie center Zach Gallant has been a part of some significant plays for the Barracuda.

Gallant earned the primary assist on Joachim Blichfeld’s most recent AHL goal Apr. 21, right before Blichfeld was called up to the San Jose Sharks. Gallant also set up Steenn Pasichnuk’s first professional goal and helped Lean Bergmann earn his first goal of the season.

“That was like [Ovechkin’s goal] against Arizona,” Gallant said of Bergmann’s goal. “It was wild. I was happy for Bergy to get his first.”

Among the constant lineup changes the Barracuda have dealt with all year, head coach Roy Sommer seems to have found a consistent fourth line in Gallant, Bergmann, and Pasichnuk. First formed Apr. 14, the trio have remained a constant in the Barracuda’s ever-changing lineup, earning points in four of six games together.

“I think we just all play the game pretty hard,” Gallant said. “[Bergmann] and [Steenn] are good, two-way players, forecheck hard, and usually have their head on a swivel. So we can wear down other teams and get pucks deep. We can pen them in and get chances.”

The London, Ontario native earned his first AHL goal early in the season. It just happened to come on his 22nd birthday, Mar. 6.

“That was special,” Gallant said. “I don’t think too many guys do that.”

When the puck bounced off the boards and rolled into Gallant’s power play position at the point, he quickly one-timed a shot that fluttered past the San Diego goalie.

“You gotta shoot the puck to score, right?” Gallant said.

A Fistful First Impression

While Gallant was a 2017 third-round draft pick by Detroit, he never really joined the Red Wings system. A high ankle sprain sidelined Gallant for half the 2018-19 OHL season. He joined the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye to end the season, earning six goals and six assists in 24 playoff games, but didn’t end up with a Red Wings contract.

But then the San Jose Sharks came calling.

“I had a chat with Doug Wilson Jr. before Sharks development camp, and they said they really liked me,” Gallant said. “I knew they were really high on me. I just didn’t know exactly what their mindset was. I came in, had a good camp, and they offered me a deal.”

In the end-of-camp scrimmage played at SAP Center, Gallant opened the scoring and fought with now-linemate Bergmann. Gallant agreed with Bergmann’s memory of the event— it was a result of them battling throughout the scrimmage, then by chance being on the ice together at the end of regulation.

“[Bergmann] plays the game really hard, so I’m happy he is on my team now and on my line,” Gallant said.

In the Fun House

Gallant is enjoying living with fellow rookies Ryan Merkley and Brandon Coe and San Jose Sharks newcomer Kurtis Gabriel. The team captain for the Peterborough Petes for two years, Gallant was already friends with Merkley, who joined the Petes for the end of the 2018-19 season.

“Merkley’s a fantastic guy,” Gallant said. “We’re good friends and he’s come a long way. I think he’s still got a ways to go, as everybody does, to get the NHL. But it’s right there for him if he wants it.”

While Merkley has praised Gabriel’s healthy routines and Coe has complimented Merkley’s cooking, Gallant brought up one of their free-time activities.

“They’re great at video games, I’ll tell you that,” Gallant said. “[Merkley] works me in FIFA everytime.”

Youngsters Power Cuda Victory

The Barracuda (13-11-4-2) completed a season series sweep against the Ontario Reign (10-18-4-0) with a 4-2 win Sunday afternoon.

The newly-formed line of Jayden Halbgewachs, Jake McGrew, and Scott Reedy powered San Jose’s offense, with each player contributing a goal. McGrew and Reedy both had career-high three-point performances, each recording one goal and two assists.

Right after the Reign opened the scoring on the power play, Reedy won the neutral zone face-off to McGrew, who sped up ice and snapped in his third goal of the season.

Late in the first period, Reedy cleaned up a rebound to score his fourth goal of the season, assisted by his linemates.

Midway through the second period, Jaycob Megna scored the eventual game-winner to extend the Barracuda lead to 3-1.

The Reign added another power play goal late in the second period.

Early in the third period, Halbgewachs converted Reedy’s rebound to score. Halbgewachs’ goal snapped his nine-game goalless drought, which included a more than three-week absence due to injury.

Alexei Melnichuk (5-6-3) stopped a career-high 33 of 35 shots on goal. The 4-2 win completed the Barracuda’s 4-0 sweep against the Reign this season.

The Barracuda will host the Bakersfield Condors (19-11-0-1) Tuesday at 6 p.m.

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Sharko

I remember the prospects game fight! Gallant looked great that scrimmage, hope he keeps developing!

[…] Scott Reedy and Jake McGrew. The trio scored three goals to power the Barracuda offense in a 4-2 win against the Reign. Halbgewachs recorded a goal and an assist, while Reedy and McGrew also added a […]

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