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Afternoon Matchup: On Sunday, the Barracuda collide with the San Diego Gulls for the seventh of eight meetings on the season, and the second of two this weekend. San Jose is 3-2-1-0 against the Anaheim Ducks affiliate this year and are 12-11-3-2 all-time. The Gulls are riding a five-game winning entering Sunday’s tilt and have won six in a row away from Valley View Casino Center.
Fehr Enough: On loan from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Eric Fehr has 23 points (14 goals, nine assists) in 30 games for the Gulls this year, including a team-high six points (three goals, three assists) against the Barracuda in five games. Fehr is a 2006 Calder Cup Champion with the Hershey Bears and a 2016 Stanley Cup Champion with the Pittsburg Penguins. Over his thirteen year career, Fehr has skated in 566 NHL games with the Capitals, Jets, Penguins, and Maple Leafs, collecting 202 points (103 goals, 99 assists), 187 penalty minutes, and a plus-50 rating.
Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!: Rookie All-Star Rudolfs Balcers ranks T-11th in the AHL among first-year players in points (31), 11th in assists (19), and T-18th in goals (12). Balcers leads the Barracuda in points, assists, and goals and has two points (one goal, one assist) in five games against San Diego.
Blueline Bolster: For the AHL’s 22nd youngest team, veteran blueliner Paul Martin has provided San Jose’s backend a veteran boost. The 14-year NHLer has skated in 859 games in the National League with New Jersey, Pittsburg, and San Jose, collecting 318 points (50 goals, 268 assists), 236 penalty minutes, and a plus-119 rating. Aside from Martin, San Jose does not have a single defenseman with more than three years of pro experience. With Martin in the lineup, the Barracuda average .53 fewer goals against per-game and their penalty kill is 91.7%, which would rank first in the AHL.
Captain America: San Jose Barracuda Captain John McCarthy and Team USA open Olympic play in Gangneung, South Korea against Slovenia in the preliminary round on Wednesday, February 14 at 4:10 a.m. PST. 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 14-8-2 in 26 games played with a 2.13 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. The native of Victoriaville, Quebec is T-second in the AHL in shutouts (3), fifth in goals-against average and T-sixth in save percentage. Bibeau is 3-0-0 against the Gulls this year with a 2.25 goals-against average, and a .920 save percentage.
700 For Sommer: San Jose Barracuda Head Coach and Bay Area native Roy Sommer collected his 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.