LISTEN | WATCH | GAME NOTES
Afternoon Matchup: On Thursday, the San Jose Barracuda and Stockton Heat return from the holiday break to clash for the fourth of 12 meetings on the season. San Jose is 2-1-0-0 against the top team in the Pacific and 18-7-1-1 all-time against the Stockton Heat. At SAP Center the Barracuda are 11-3-0-0 all-time against the Heat and 1-1-0-0 this season.
Last Time Out: John McCarthy, Brandon Bollig, and Brandon Mashinter each tallied and Antoine Bibeau made 29 saves to lead the Barracuda past the Texas Stars 3-2 on December 22.
Reindeer Games: Freshman forward, Rudolfs Balcers ranks T-12th in the AHL among first-year players in points (20), and T-sixth in assists (14). Balcers leads the Barracuda in points, goals, assists, and power play goals (4). A season ago, Balcers led all WHL rookies in goals (40) with the Kamloops Blazers. The Sharks selected the Latvian forward in the fifth round (#142 overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Bibeau’s Block Party: Barracuda netminder Antoine Bibeau ranks fourth in the AHL in goals-against average (2.17), 12th in save percentage (.920), and T-first in shutouts (2). Bibeau spent the first three seasons of his pro career within the Toronto Maple Leafs organization before signing with San Jose as a free agent this offseason.
Dandy Danny: The Sharks reassigned forward Danny O’Regan back to the Barracuda on Tuesday. In two games against the Heat this season, O’Regan has six points (four goals, two assists) and a plus-one rating. A season ago, the former Boston University Terrier was the AHL’s Rookie of the Year (Red Garrett Memorial) after leading all freshmen with 58 points (23 goals, 35 assists).
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 last on Dec. 8 at SAP Center against Tucson.
Killing It: The Barracuda are 12 for their last 12 on the penalty kill and have been perfect in their last three games. The Barracuda rank fifth in the AHL on the penalty kill (86.1) and first in the Pacific Division.
Cuda Call Up: After Joakim Ryan’s recall, six players from the Barracuda’s 2017 Calder Cup playoff roster are now on the San Jose Sharks (Marcus Sorensen, Tim Heed, Barclay Goodrow, Timo Meier, Joakim Ryan and Kevin Labanc). A season ago, the Barracuda finished with the Western Conference’s best regular season winning percentage (.699) and advanced to the Conference Finals before being eliminated by the Grand Rapids Griffins in five games.