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Tonight’s Matchup: On Wednesday, the Barracuda collide with the Bakersfield Condors for the ninth time this season and the first of two meetings this week. The Barracuda are 4-3-0-1 against the Oilers affiliate this year and are 1-2-0-1 at Rabobank.
Young Guns: Last Wednesday, Sasha Chmelevski, and Ivan Chekhovich made their pro debuts, and both forwards found the back of the net on their first shots in the opening period. Chmelevski, the first Californian to play in a game for the Barracuda, ended the night as the games second star after collecting a pair of points (one goal, one assist), a plus-two rating, and the game winner. On Friday, Chekhovich tallied a three-point evening after adding two helpers and the game-sealing empty-netter in a 6-2 win at Stockton. Chekhovich added a pair of assists in San Jose’s 7-3 win on Saturday and now has six points (two goals, four assists) and a plus-six rating in three career AHL games. Chmelevski also scored in the Barracuda’s win over Stockton on Saturday and now has three points in three career AHL games (two goals, one assist).
Powering Up: On Saturday, the Barracuda lit the lamp on the man-advantage for the eighth-straight game. In March, the Barracuda went 12-for-55 (22%) on the PP and are 11-for-31 (35%) in their last seven games. Since March 1, San Jose has moved from 30th on the power play to 21st in the AHL.
Youth Movement: With an average age of 22.78 years old, San Jose is the AHL’s second youngest team in the league only behind the San Antonio Rampage who average 22.76-years-old. 13 of San Jose’s 27 players on their roster are AHL rookies.
Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!: Rookie forward Rudolfs Balcers is riding a four-game goal streak and now ranks seventh in points (46) among AHL freshman, T-fifth in goals (22), and T-12th in assists (24). Balcers leads the Barracuda in points, goals, and points-per-game (.70), and T-first in power-play goals (7). Balcers is the sixth player in Barracuda history to reach the 20-goal mark in a season (Brian Lerg (21) ’15-16, Nikolay Goldobin (21) ’15-16, Barclay Goodrow (20) ’15-16, Danny O’Regan (23) ’16-17, Barclay Goodrow (25) ’16-17).
Sommer-Time: San Jose Barracuda Head Coach and Bay Area native Roy Sommer collected the 700th AHL win of his career on Dec. 3 at Bakersfield (2-1). Sommer is the first coach in the 82-year history of the American Hockey League to reach 700 coaching wins. In 2015-16, Sommer surpassed Fred “Bun” Cook as the AHL’s all-time leader in wins and collected his first A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as AHL Coach of the Year in 2016-17. Sommer, who’s in his AHL record 20th season behind the bench for the top affiliate of the San Jose Sharks, coached his 1,500th game in the AHL on Dec. 8 at SAP Center against Tucson. During his playing career, Sommer played nine games with the IHL’s Grand Rapids Owls during the 1979-80 season.