LISTEN | WATCH | GAME NOTES
Tonight’s Matchup: On Saturday, the San Jose Barracuda and Cleveland Monsters collide for the fourth and final time this season. San Jose holds a 2-1-0 mark against the Blue Jackets affiliate and have won the previews two matchups.
Big Mac: Barracuda Captain John McCarthy recorded his first pro hat trick on Friday and his first pro four-point night in game 482 of his AHL career. The hat trick was the sixth in Barracuda franchise history. The Olympian ranks first on the ‘Cuda in plus/minus (+6), power play goals (6), and is second in goals (10).
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.
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 11th in points (36), T-13th in assists (21), and T-17th in goals (15). The Latvia native leads the Barracuda in points, assists, goals, and is T-first in game-winning goals (4).
All-Star Antoine: In his fourth professional season, and first within the Sharks organization, AHL All-Star Antoine Bibeau is 17-11-2 in 31 games played with a 2.16 goals-against average and a .926 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. Bibeau is 2-0 this season against Cleveland and is riding a three-game winning streak.
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.