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Tonight’s Matchup: On Friday, the Cleveland Monsters make their first ever visit to SAP Center. San Jose went 1-1 in the first two meetings all-time between the clubs back on Oct. 22 and 23 at Quicken Loans Arena.
Cleveland Connection: In 2001, the San Jose Sharks moved their AHL affiliate from Kentucky (Thoroughblades) to Cleveland (Barons), and from 2001-to-2006 called Cleveland home before relocating to Worcester following the 2005-06 season. The Barons went 150-201-26-20-3 (W-L-T-OTL-SOL) under Head Coach Roy Sommer over the five-year stretch. Notable named that played in both Cleveland and San Jose includes Mikka Kiprusoff, Vesa Toskala, Jonathan Cheechoo, Niko Dimitrakos, Patrick Rissmiller, Ryane Clowe, Marcel Goc, Douglas Murray, Tod Harvey, and Christian Ehrhoff.
About Last Time: Sunday’s shootout hero Michael Brodzinski scored his first AHL goal in overtime against Cleveland on October 23, 2017, to earn a 1-0 win against the Monsters, the last meeting between the two teams.
Different Looking Group: Just three players (Brett Gallant, Brad Thiessen, Alex Broadhurst) remain from the Cleveland Monsters 2016 Calder Cup Championship team. Eight players from that group are currently up with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.
Rudy Rocking: Among first-year AHL players, Rudolfs Balcers ranks T-14th in points (34), T-15th in assists (20), and T-18th in goals (14). The Latvia native leads the Barracuda in points, T-1st in assists, goals, T-first in power-play goals and T-first in game-winning goals.
Mac Is Back: Last Friday, San Jose Barracuda captain John McCarthy returned to the Cuda lineup after skating in five games for Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics. McCarthy is in his ninth year of pro hockey, appearing in 88 games with the San Jose Sharks, and 456 games of his 479 AHL career between the Worcester Sharks and San Jose Barracuda. Over the last two seasons, McCarthy had missed just two games with the Barracuda. McCarthy is T-first on the Barracuda in plus/minus (+5) and T-first in power-play goals (5) this season.
All-Star Antoine: In his fourth professional season, and first within the Sharks organization, AHL All-Star Antoine Bibeau is 16-11-2 in 31 games played with a 2.17 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage. The native of Victoriaville, Quebec is T-sixth in the AHL in shutouts (3), fifth in goals-against average and fifth in save percentage.
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.