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Tonight’s Matchup: On Saturday, the Barracuda make their only visit to Rockford this season as they take on the IceHogs for the first time since they hosted the Hogs on January 12 (L, 4-2). Two seasons ago, the Barracuda beat Rockford 5-2 in their only trip in franchise history to BMO Harris Bank Center.
The Truth: Rookie forward Alex True tipped in his team-leading seventh power-play goal on Friday at Grand Rapids and now ranks second on the Barracuda in goals. True signed an AHL contract after being invited to the Sharks Development Camp this past July. Barracuda Head Coach Roy Sommer coached Alex’s dad, Soren, during the 1990-91 season as a member the IHL’s Albany Choppers.
Youth Movement: With an average age of 23.26 years old, San Jose 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-second on the team. Also, Balcers leads the Barracuda in points, goals, and points-per-game (.68).
Powering Up: On Friday, the Barracuda lit the lamp on the man-advantage for the fourth-straight game. So far in March, the Barracuda are 11-for-49 (22%) on the PP and seven-for-17 (29%) in their last four games. Since March 1, San Jose has moved from 30th on the power play to T-22nd 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.