SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (10-16-0-2) vs STOCKTON HEAT (18-6-2-3)
TUESDAY, DEC. 31 | 5:00 P.M. | STOCKTON ARENA | STOCKTON, CA
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New Year’s Eve Plans: The Barracuda wrap up 2019 with a trip to Stockton to take on the Stockton Heat for the sixth time this season. Since earning a point in a shootout loss on November 1, the Barracuda have lost the last four meetings with the Flames affiliate in regulation, including an 8-1 loss on Friday at the SAP Center. The Barracuda are 33-16-2-2 all-time against their Northern California rival and 15-8-2-2 at the Stockton Arena.
Last Time Out: The Barracuda were handed their fourth-straight home loss on Sunday after giving up seven goals to the Bakersfield Condors in a 7-5 loss. The Condors managed to score four even-strength goals, a power-play goal, a shorthanded goal and an empty-netter in the win. Andrew Shortridge allowed five goals on 10 shots in 25 minutes and 39 seconds of action but Josef Korenar took the loss after giving up one goal on seven shots in 32 minutes and 34 seconds of relief. The Barracuda did manage to score twice on the man-advantage in the loss, registering multiple power-play goals in a game for the fourth time this season.
A Career Capped: Prior to Friday’s game, Barracuda captain John McCarthy, 33, announced he was going call it a career after 11 seasons due to health reasons. McCarthy suffered an Ischemic stroke on December 10th and has since made a full recovery. He joined the Barracuda’s coaching staff immediately after the announcement. McCarthy will go down as the San Jose’s Sharks all-time AHL leader in games played (552) [Worcester, San Jose], goals (125), assists (164), and points (289) and the Barracuda’s all-time leader in games played (275), goals (62), assists (76), points (138), power-play goals (17), and shorthanded goals (5). In addition, McCarthy skated in 88 NHL games with Sharks between 2009-2012, accumulating six points (three goals, three assists) and 22 penalty minutes. The Boston native also captained the 2009 Boston University Terriers to a National Championship and skated for Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Blichfeld Beasting: On Monday, the Sharks recalled rookie forward Joachim Blichfeld to join the big club on their road trip that starts in Detroit on New Year’s Eve. Blichfeld leads the Barracuda in goals (11), is second in points (22), T-first in power-play goals (3) and second in points-per-game (0.92). Among AHL rookies, Blichfeld is first in points-per-game among players who have appeared in more than 10 games, tied for seventh in scoring, tied for sixth in goals and T-fifth 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.
Gregor Goin’: Noah Gregor registered the first multi-goal game of his career on Sunday and his third multi-point effort of his first pro season. In just nine games with the Barracuda, Gregor is averaging a point-per-game and co-leads the team with three power-play goals. In 18 NHL games, Gregor has one goal, 17 shots and two penalty minutes.
Maxed Out: Sophomore forward Max Letunov picked up an assist on Friday and Sunday and now leads the team in points (23) and is tied for first in power-play goals (3) and game-winners (2). Letunov has recorded points in 13 of his last 15 games (3+14=17). The Sharks originally acquired Letunov from the Arizona Coyotes in a draft-day trade in 2016.
Youth Movement: The Barracuda are the AHL’s youngest roster with an average age of 22.48-years-old. No other team in the league is under 23-years-old. In fact, seven players on the 'Cuda roster are 21-years-old or younger, including two players under 21 (Sasha Chmelevski  and Ivan Chekhovich ).