SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (9-12-0-2) vs STOCKTON HEAT (16-5-1-2)
SUNDAY, DEC. 15 | 5:00 P.M. | STOCKTON ARENA | STOCKTON, CA
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Sunday Funday: On Sunday, the Barracuda and Heat square off for the second time in as many days and the third meeting out of six at the Stockton Arena. The Barracuda are 0-2-0-1 against the Heat this year and 0-1-0-1 at the Stockton Arena. Each meeting has been decided by just one goal. The Barracuda are 33-14-2-2 all-time against the Flames affiliate and 15-7-2-2 at the Stockton Arena.
Last Time Out: On Saturday, the Barracuda never held a lead and couldn’t erase an early deficit, falling 3-2 to the Heat at the SAP Center. In the loss, Max Letunov and Ivan Chekhovich scored and Josef Korenar suffered the defeat after allowing three goals on 26 shots.
Sommer Time: After 22 seasons in the AHL, Roy Sommer earned a promotion to the Sharks on Wednesday, being named the team’s associate coach, after Pete DeBoer and a majority of his staff were relieved of their duties. Sommer, 62, is the AHL’s all-time leader in wins (773), games coached (1,570), and seasons coached (22). Assistant coaches Michael Chiasson and Jimmy Bonneau were appointed co-coaches of the Barracuda on Friday. In addition, Mike Ricci and Evgeni Nabokov were also promoted to the Sharks.
Heating Up: The Stockton Heat enter Sunday possessing the AHL’s most dangerous offense, averaging 4.00 goals-per-game. In addition, the Flames affiliate boasts the best power-play in the league (26/96 = 27.1%), second-best penalty kill (95/109 = 87.2%) and the Heat’s .916 (10-0-0-2) winning percentage when scoring first is the best in the league.
Blichfeld Beasting: Joachim Blichfeld made his NHL debut on Thursday for the Sharks after earning his first NHL call up earlier in the day. On Wednesday, with the Barracuda, the 21-year-old recorded his third-straight multi-point effort and now leads the team in goals (9), points (19) and power-play goals (3). Among AHL rookies, Blichfeld is second in points-per-game (.95), among skaters who have appeared in seven or more games, seventh in scoring, seventh in goals and T-fourth in power-play goals. Last year, Blichfeld led the WHL in scoring (53 goals, 61 assists) and was named the WHL Player of the Year (Four Broncos Trophy) as a member of the Portland Winterhawks. The Sharks selected the Denmark native with the second-to-last pick (210th) in the 2016 NHL draft.
Jonny Be Good: Prior to Saturday, Barracuda forward Jonny Brodzinski had recorded points six-straight games (3+7=10) and now leads the Barracuda in points-per-game (1.00). The St. Cloud product was an AHL All-Star with the Ontario Reign in 2017, a season in which he scored 27 goals and added 22 assists. Brodzinski began the year with the Sharks where he appeared in three games.
Maxed Out: Sophomore forward Max Letunov scored on Saturday and now co-leads the Barracuda in points (19), power-play goals (3) and is first in game-winners (2). Letunov has points in nine of his last 10 games (3+10=13) and had a career-high seven-game point streak from November 17 to December 6. The Sharks originally acquired Letunov from the Arizona Coyotes in a draft-day trade in 2016.
Blueline Bolster: After collecting a goal and a pair of assists for his second career three-point game on Saturday, sophomore blueliner Thomas Gregoire is now third on the Barracuda in points (17), first in assists (14), third in power-play goals and fourth in points-per-game (.85). Among AHL defensemen, Gregoire is T-eighth in points, T-seventh in assists, and second in points-per-game among skaters who have appeared in 17 or more games.
Youth Movement: The Barracuda are the AHL’s youngest roster with an average age of 22.79-years-old. No other team in the league is under 23-years-old. In fact, six players on the 'Cuda roster are 21-years-old or younger, including two players under 21 (Sasha Chmelevski  and Ivan Chekhovich ).