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SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (18-29-2-1) vs TUCSON ROADRUNNERS (17-27-4-1)
WED., MAR. 16 | 6:30 P.M. | TUCSON CONVENTION CENTER | TUCSON, AZ
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Playoff Push: Tied at 39 points each, the Barracuda and Roadrunners square off for the first of three over the next four days on Wednesday night at the Tucson Convention Center. After Wednesday, the Barracuda will have 17 games remaining in the regular season and are 2-1 against Tucson this year.
Marching Along: The Barracuda entered last Saturday’s game on a season-long five-game point streak (3-0-1-1) and had picked up eight of a possible 10 points to start March after going just 1-6 in February. The point streak ended with a 6-3 loss to Stockton on Saturday. The Barracuda now sit five points behind the San Diego Gulls for the last playoff spot in the Pacific Division. The Gulls are coming off a 4-0 win over Ontario and will host Henderson on Wednesday night.
Trudging Tucson: The Roadrunners return home on Wednesday after a five-game roadie, going 0-3-2 over the five games. Tucson boasts an AHL-worst -64 goal-differential and have dropped six-straight (0-5-2-0) after a 3-2 OTL at Texas on Saturday. The Roadrunners’ power-play ranks seventh in the league (21.6%), while its penalty kill is last in the AHL (74.3%). With both Matias Maccelli and Michael Carcone up with the Arizona Coyotes, Jan Jenik currently leads the team in points (15+20=35) and power-play goals (8).
Powering Up: Last Wednesday, the Barracuda matched a season-high with three power-play goals in a 4-3 OTW at Ontario, and against the Heat last weekend the club went 3-for-8 on the PP, notching its first goal in 16 attempts on the power-play versus the Heat. The ‘Cuda have now potted multiple power-play strikes in five of its last seven games and rank sixth in the league on the man-advantage (21.8%).
J-Leno: After recording just seven points (3+4=7) through his first 20 games this year, second-year forward John Leonard has notched 25 points (14+11=25) since the new year began in 25 games. Last Sunday, he recorded his first pro hat-trick and added an assist for the first four-point game of his career in a 6-2 win over Tucson, culminating in AHL Player of the Week honors after collecting seven points (5+2=7) in three games. Since the new year, he is pacing all Barracuda skaters in goals (14) and points (25). After being recalled on Monday, Leonard skated in 11:45 of ice time in the Sharks 3-2 OTL against Florida.
All-Day AK: Rookie d-man Artemi Kniazev collected two goals and three total points, both single-game career-highs on Friday, in the Barracuda’s 6-5 shootout loss against Stockton. Since Jan. 22, Kniazev has 14 points (4+10=14) over his last 18 games played.
Sizzlin’ Sash: Sasha Chmelevski collected a career-best three assists on Friday and now has points in four of his last five (2+4=6). The third-year pro is tied for third on the team in scoring (11+19=30) and has already set career-highs this season in assists, power-play goals (5), game-winning goals (3), shootout goals (2), and shots (102).
Sommer Time: On Jan. 8, 2022, head coach Roy Sommer picked up AHL victory #800 with a 6-3 win over the Henderson Silver Knights. The Oakland, Calif., native has been behind the bench for 1,725 games in the AHL, going 806-708-50-161 (W-L-T-OTL/SOL) over that span. During the 2015-16 season, the Barracuda’s first in San Jose, Sommer surpassed Fred “Bun” Cook (636 wins) for the most wins in AHL history, notching a 4-2 victory on Feb. 10, 2016, over Ontario. Sommer collected his 700th win on Dec. 3, 2017, at Bakersfield (2-1 W).