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Tonight’s Matchup: On Thursday, the Barracuda collide with the Bakersfield Condors for the 10th and final meeting this season and the second in as many nights. The Barracuda are 5-3-0-1 against the Oilers affiliate this year and 3-1-0-0 at SAP Center.
Young Guns: Last Wednesday, Sasha Chmelevski, and Ivan Chekhovich made their pro debuts, and both forwards found the back of the net on their first shots in the opening period. Chmelevski, the first Californian to play in a game for the Barracuda, ended the night as the games second star after collecting a pair of points (one goal, one assist), a plus-two rating, and the game winner. Chmelevski (two goals, one assist) and Chekhovich (two goals, five goals) have combined for 10 points in four games since signing amateur tryout agreements with the 'Cuda.
Powering Up: On Wednesday, the Barracuda lit the lamp on the man-advantage for a franchise record ninth-straight game. Over the nine-game stretch, the Barracuda have gone 12-for-35 (34%) on the man-advantage and since March 1 have moved from 30th on the power play to T-20th.
Killing It: After going two-for-two on the PK on Wednesday, the Barracuda have now killed off 18-straight penalties including a perfect 12-for-12 stretch in April. The Barracuda hold the Pacific’s best penalty kill and rank T-fourth overall in the AHL (84.3%).
Youth Movement: With an average age of 22.78 years old, San Jose is the AHL’s second youngest team in the league only behind the San Antonio Rampage who average 22.76-years-old. 13 of San Jose’s 27 players on their roster are AHL rookies.
Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!: Rookie forward Rudolfs Balcers is riding a four-game goal streak and now ranks seventh in points (47) among AHL freshman, T-fourth in goals (22), and T-14th in assists (24). Balcers leads the Barracuda in points, goals, and points-per-game (.73), and power-play goals (8). Balcers is the sixth player in Barracuda history to reach the 20-goal mark in a season (Brian Lerg (21) ’15-16, Nikolay Goldobin (21) ’15-16, Barclay Goodrow (20) ’15-16, Danny O’Regan (23) ’16-17, Barclay Goodrow (25) ’16-17). Balcers goal on Wednesday tied him with O’Regan for the most goals scored in a season by a Barracuda rookie.
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.