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Tonight’s Matchup: On Saturday, the San Jose Barracuda and San Diego Gulls collide for the fifth of eight matchups this season and the final tilt in San Diego. San Jose is 2-2-0-0 against the Anaheim Ducks affiliate this year and 4-7-2-1 all-time at Valley View Casino Center. San Jose’s win on Friday was its first regular-season win at San Diego since January 13, 2016 (W/OT, 2-1) and its first regular-season regulation win at San Diego since November 14, 2015 (W, 4-3).
Fehr Factor: On loan from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Eric Fehr has 21 points (12 goals, nine assists) in 24 games for the Gulls this year, including a team-high five points (two goals, three assists) against the Barracuda in four games. Fehr is a 2006 Calder Cup Champion with the Hershey Bears and a 2016 Stanley Cup Champion with the Pittsburg Penguins. Over his thirteen year career, Fehr has skated in 566 NHL games with the Capitals, Jets, Penguins, and Maple Leafs, collecting 202 points (103 goals, 99 assists), 187 penalty minutes, and a plus-50 rating. In addition, Fehr has appeared in 144 AHL games with Hershey and San Diego, totaling 122 points (62 goals, 60 assists), 145 penalty minutes, and a plus-11 rating.
Blueline Bolster: The San Jose Sharks reassigned veteran blueliner Paul Martin to the Barracuda on Tuesday after clearing waivers. Martin appeared in four games with the Barracuda during a rehab stint in December, collecting one assist, and a plus-one rating. Over a 14-year NHL career, Martin has skated in 859 games with New Jersey, Pittsburg, and San Jose, collecting 318 points (50 goals, 268 assists), 236 penalty minutes, and a plus-119 rating.
Sorensen’s Services: The San Jose Sharks loaned forward Marcus Sorensen to the Barracuda on Sunday and in his first game back in the AHL he was able to assist on San Jose’s game-winning-goal by Nick DeSimone in overtime against Bakersfield. Sorensen has appeared in 20 games with the Sharks AHL affiliate this season, collecting 16 points (six goals, 10 assists), 14 penalty minutes, and an even rating. Also, Sorensen has skated in 15 games for the Sharks, totaling three goals, five penalty minutes, and a minus-three rating.
Captain America: USA Hockey announced on Jan. 1 during the second intermission of the Winter Classic between the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres at Citi Field in New York, York York that San Jose Barracuda Captain John McCarthy had been selected to the United States men’s ice hockey team for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The Olympics will be held from Feb. 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. McCarthy spent four years at Boston University from 2006-to-2010, winning an NCAA National Championship as the team’s captain in 2012. McCarthy has skated in 472 career AHL games with Chicago, Worcester, and San Jose over his nine-year pro career, accumulating 249 points (108 goals, 141 assists), 193 penalty minutes, and a plus-51 rating.
All-Star Antoine: Antoine Bibeau will be San Jose’s lone representative in Utica at the end of the month for the AHL All-Star game. In his fourth professional season, and first within the Sharks organization, Bibeau, 23, is 11-7-0 in 19 games played with a 2.24 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. The native of Victoriaville, Quebec is T- second in the AHL in shutouts (2), sixth in goals-against average and 10th in save percentage.
Winners For Wiederer: Barracuda rookie forward Manuel Wiederer has four goals this season for San Jose, all game winners. Wiederer has 10 points (four goals, six assists), 14 penalty minutes, and a plus-three rating.
Rudy, Rudy, Rudy!: Freshman forward, Rudolfs Balcers ranks T-12th in the AHL among first-year players in points (25), and T-10th in assists (17). Balcers leads the Barracuda in points, assists, and goals (8). A season ago, Balcers led all WHL rookies in goals (40) with the Kamloops Blazers. The Sharks selected the Latvian forward in the fifth round (#142 overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft. Balcers has two points (one goal, one assist) in three games this season against San Diego, good for second on the team.
700 For Sommer: San Jose Barracuda Head Coach and Bay Area native Roy Sommer collected his 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 last on Dec. 8 at SAP Center against Tucson.
Cuda Call Up: Five players from the Barracuda’s 2017 Calder Cup playoff roster are now on the San Jose Sharks (Tim Heed, Barclay Goodrow, Timo Meier, Joakim Ryan and Kevin Labanc). A season ago, the Barracuda finished with the Western Conference’s best regular season winning percentage (.699) and advanced to the Conference Finals before being eliminated by the Grand Rapids Griffins in five games.