SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (9-11-0-2) vs STOCKTON HEAT (15-5-1-2)
SATURDAY, DEC. 14 | 1:15 P.M. | SAP CENTER | SAN JOSE, CA
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Matinee Matchup: On Saturday, the Barracuda look to extend their point streak to four games as they take on the Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames) for the third time on the 12-game season series. The Barracuda are 0-1-0-1 against the Heat this year, with both games being played at the Stockton Arena. Saturday marks the first meeting of a home-and-road as the Barracuda and Heat will square off again on Sunday in the Port City.
Last Time Out: On Wednesday, the Barracuda returned home and picked up a 6-2 win over the Bakersfield Condors behind Trevor Carrick’s first pro hat-trick. Josef Korenar made 37 saves and Jonny Brodzinski extended his point streak to six games as he collected a goal and a pair of assists. Joachim Blichfeld also recorded his third-straight multi-point effort.
Sommer Time: After 22 seasons in the AHL, Roy Sommer earned a promotion to the Sharks on Wednesday, being named the team’s associate coach, after Pete DeBoer and a majority of his staff were relieved of their duties. Sommer, 62, is the AHL’s all-time leader in wins (773), games coached (1,570), and seasons coached (22). Assistant coaches Michael Chiasson and Jimmy Bonneau were appointed co-coaches of the Barracuda on Friday. In addition, Mike Ricci and Evgeni Nabokov were also promoted to the Sharks.
Heating Up: The Stockton Heat enter Saturday as the AHL’s best road team (10-2-0-1 = .808%) and the most potent offense, averaging 4.04 goals-per-game. In addition, the Flames affiliate boasts the best power-play in the league (25/92 = 27.2%), third-best penalty kill (91/105 = 86.7%) and the Heat’s .909 (9-0-0-2) winning percentage when scoring first is the best in the league.
Blichfeld Beasting: Joachim Blichfeld made his NHL debut on Thursday for the Sharks after earning his first NHL call up earlier in the day. On Wednesday, with the Barracuda, the 21-year-old recorded his third-straight multi-point effort and now leads the team in goals (9), points (19) and power-play goals (3). Among AHL rookies, Blichfeld is second in points-per-game (.95), among skaters who have appeared in seven or more games, seventh in scoring, seventh in goals and T-fourth in power-play goals. Last year, Blichfeld led the WHL in scoring (53 goals, 61 assists) and was named the WHL Player of the Year (Four Broncos Trophy) as a member of the Portland Winterhawks. The Sharks selected the Denmark native with the second-to-last pick (210th) in the 2016 NHL draft.
Jonny Be Good: Offseason free-agent signee Jonny Brodzinski collected a goal and two assists on Wednesday and now has points in six-straight games (3+7=10) and leads the Barracuda in points-per-game (1.08). The St. Cloud product was an AHL All-Star with the Ontario Reign in 2017, a season in which he scored 27 goals and added 22 assists. Brodzinski began the year with the Sharks where he appeared in three games.
Blueline Bolster: After collecting a goal and a pair of assists for his second career three-point game on Saturday, sophomore blueliner Thomas Gregoire is now third on the Barracuda in points (17), first in assists (14), third in power-play goals and fourth in points-per-game (.85). Among AHL defensemen, Gregoire is T-sixth in points, T-seventh in assists, and second in points-per-game among skaters who have appeared in 17 or more games.
Youth Movement: The Barracuda are the AHL’s youngest roster with an average age of 22.79-years-old. No other team in the league is under 23-years-old. In fact, six players on the 'Cuda roster are 21-years-old or younger, including two players under 21 (Sasha Chmelevski  and Ivan Chekhovich ).