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Tonight’s Matchup: On Tuesday, the San Jose Barracuda and Tucson Roadrunners collide for the sixth of eight meetings on the season. The Barracuda are 3-1-0-1 against the Arizona Coyotes affiliate this year and are coming off a 4-2 win against the Roadrunners in the last meeting on February 14 at SAP Center. San Jose is 2-0 at Tucson Arena this season and 5-0-0-1 all-time in the Old Pueblo.
Young Guns: Tuesday’s tilt will feature three rookie all-stars who rank within the top 10 in freshman scoring (Dylan Strome – TUC, Nick Merkley – TUC, Rudolfs Balcers – SJ). Among rookies, Tucson’s Dylan Strome is second in the AHL in points (50), second in goals (22), fourth in assists (28), third in power-play goals (9), and first in points-per-game (1.06). Nick Merkley who was taken 27 spots after Strome in the 2015 NHL draft ranks T-10th among rookies in points (39), T-10th in goals (18), T-16th in assists (21), first in power-play goals (11), and second in points-per-game (1.05). San Jose’s Balcers who was taken four rounds after Strome and Merkley in the 2015 NHL draft is ninth in first-year scoring (40), T-14th in goals (17), T-10th in assists (23), and T-17th in power-play goals.
Century Mark: The Barracuda earned franchise victory 100 with a 4-0 win over the Cleveland Monsters on March 10. The Barracuda joined the Ontario Reign, San Diego Gulls and *Texas Stars (*play 76 game schedule) as Pacific Division teams to reach 100 wins since 2015-16.
Powering Up: After scoring twice on the man advantage on Friday, the ‘Cuda have scored in three of their last four games (5/16 = 31%) on the power play. In four games, San Jose has risen from 30th in the AHL on the PP to 26th (15%).
Big Mac: Barracuda Captain John McCarthy collected six points (three goals, three assists) in two games against Cleveland last weekend culminating in his first CCM/AHL Player of the Week nomination. McCarthy helped lead San Jose to a 6-2 win on Saturday as he collected his first pro hat-trick (sixth in Barracuda history) and his first four-point night. The Olympian is riding a four-game point streak (three goals, five assists) and ranks first on the ‘Cuda in plus/minus (+7), first in power-play goals (6), third in goals (10), and third in points (25).
All-Star Antoine: In his fourth professional season, and first within the Sharks organization, AHL All-Star Antoine Bibeau is 18-12-3 in 32 games played with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. The native of Victoriaville, Quebec is T-seventh in the AHL in shutouts (4), T-seventh in goals-against average, T-eighth in save percentage, and T-10th in wins.
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.