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Tonight’s Matchup: On Friday, the San Jose Barracuda and Rockford IceHogs collide for the first of two matchups this season and just the third meeting all-time. San Jose’s inaugural game came against Rockford at SAP Center on Oct. 9, 2015 (L, 2-4). San Jose’s last meeting with the Hogs was on January 15, 2016 (W, 2-5) at Rockford.
Home Cooking: After Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over San Antonio Rampage the Barracuda are now riding a season long four-game home winning. San Jose’s record for consecutive wins at home is six (Jan. 7, 17-to-Feb. 20, 2017).
Rockford Roots: For veteran forwards Brandon Mashinter and Brandon Bollig, Friday’s game holds a little extra weight. Bollig was signed by the Chicago Blackhawks organization out of St. Lawrence University in 2009 after going undrafted and skated for both Rockford and Chicago over a four-year period including winning a Stanley Cup in 2013 with the Blackhawks. Bollig appeared 146 games with the Hogs, collecting 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists), 442 penalty minutes, and minus-11. Mashinter tied for Rockford’s team lead in goals (15) a season ago and appeared in 189 games while collecting 97 points (50 goals, 47 assists), 217 penalty minutes, and a minus-31 rating over four years. Mashinter also skated in 41 games with the Blackhawks in 2015-16, totaling five points (four goals, one assist), 23 penalty minutes, and a minus-seven rating.
Captain America: USA Hockey announced on Jan. 1 during the second intermission of the Winter Classic between the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres at Citi Field in New York, York York that San Jose Barracuda Captain John McCarthy had been selected to the United States men’s ice hockey team for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The Olympics will be held from Feb. 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. McCarthy spent four years at Boston University from 2006-to-2010, winning an NCAA National Championship as the team’s captain in 2012. McCarthy has skated in 468 career AHL games with Chicago, Worcester, and San Jose over his nine-year pro career, accumulating 249 points (108 goals, 141 assists), 191 penalty minutes, and a plus-53 rating.
All-Star Antoine: The AHL announced on Thursday that netminder Antoine Bibeau has been selected to represent San Jose at the 2018 All-Star game in Utica later this month. In his fourth professional season, and first within the Sharks organization, Bibeau, 23, is 9-7-0 in 23 games played with a 2.28 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. The native of Victoriaville, Quebec is tied for first in the AHL in shutouts (2), sixth in goals-against, and 10th in save percentage.
Winners For Wiederer: Barracuda rookie forward Manuel Wiederer has four goals this season for San Jose, all game winners. Wiederer has 10 points (four goals, six assists), 14 penalty minutes, and a plus-five rating.
Reindeer Games: Freshman forward, Rudolfs Balcers added another assist in San Jose’s last game and now ranks T-11th in the AHL among first-year players in points (24), and T-fifth in assists (17). Balcers leads the Barracuda in points, assists, and is tied with Danny O’Regan and Brandon Bollig for the team lead in goals (7). 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.
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.
Cuda Call Up: 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.