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Tonight’s Matchup: On Wednesday, the Barracuda collide with the Ontario Reign for the fifth of eight meetings on the season and the first of four in the final 20 games of 2017-18. In the last meeting between the two clubs, San Jose fell 3-0 on November 24 at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Rudy Rocking: Rookie All-Star Rudolfs Balcers netted a pair of goals in San Jose’s win over Tucson last Wednesday. It was the fourth multi-goal game for Balcers this season and his third in his last six games. Balcers ranks 13th in the AHL among first-year players in points (33), T-15th in assists (19), and T-14th in goals (14). The Latvia native leads the Barracuda in points, assists, goals, and T-first in power-play goals and T-first in game-winning goals.
Killing It: The Barracuda have been stingy on the penalty kill this year, ranking first in the Pacific Division (83.8%) and 9th in the AHL. The Barracuda is six-for-seven on the penalty kill this season against Ontario.
Moving On Up: The San Jose Sharks recalled veteran blueliner Paul Martin on Monday, along with Forward Rudolfs Balcers. In a corresponding move, the Barracuda recalled Forwards Colby McAuley and Alex Schoenborn.
Captain America: San Jose Barracuda Captain John McCarthy and Team USA eliminated Slovakia with a 4-1 win on Tuesday and are two round away from medal contention. The Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament will run from February 14-24. McCarthy is in his ninth year of pro hockey, appearing in 88 games with the San Jose Sharks, and 454 games of his 479 AHL career between the Worcester Sharks and San Jose Barracuda. Over the last two seasons, McCarthy has missed just two games with the Barracuda.
All-Star Antoine: In his fourth professional season, and first within the Sharks organization, AHL All-Star Antoine Bibeau is 14-10-2 in 27 games played with a 2.20 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. The native of Victoriaville, Quebec is sixth in the AHL in shutouts (3), fifth in goals-against average and eighth in save percentage.
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.