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Tonight’s Matchup: On Friday, the Barracuda make their only visit to Grand Rapids this season as they take on the Griffins for the first time since they hosted the defending Calder Cup Champions on October 13 (L, 7-3). Last May, San Jose fell four-games-to-one in the Western Conference Finals to GR with the final game of the series coming at Van Andel Arena on May 27 (L, 4-2).
Bergman Bombs: After combing to score six goals over his first two years in the AHL, Julius Bergman potted his ninth goal of the season in a 3-2 win on Sunday against Tucson. The tally came on the power play which ties him for the team lead with six power-play goals.
Youth Movement: With an average age of 23.26 years old, the Barracuda is the AHL’s second youngest team in the League only behind the San Antonio Rampage who average 23.10-years-old. 11 of San Jose’s 27 players on their roster are AHL rookies.
Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!: Among rookies, Rudolfs Balcers ranks ninth in the AHL in points (41), T-14th in goals (18), and T-12th in assists (23). On Saturday, Balcers collected his sixth power-play goal, which ranks him T-first on the team. In addition, Balcers lead the Barracuda in points, goals, and points-per-game (.69).
Powering Up: On Sunday, the Barracuda lit the lamp on the man-advantage for the third straight game. So far in March, the Barracuda are 10-for-46 (21%) on the PP and six-for-23 (26%) in their last five games. Since March 1, San Jose has moved from 30th on the power play to 24th in the AHL.
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.