SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (10-18-0-2) at TUCSON ROADRUNNERS (25-7-0-0)
SATURDAY, JAN. 4 | 6:05 P.M. | TUCSON ARENA | TUCSON, AZ
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20/20 Vision: The Barracuda wrap up their three-game road trip in Tucson on Saturday in the second game of a two-game weekend in desert. After a 5-1 loss to the Roadrunners on Friday, the Barracuda are now 1-3-0 against the Coyotes affiliate this season and have dropped four in a row overall.
Last Time Out: The Barracuda put 39 shots on net on Friday but were handed their fourth-straight loss, 5-1 at Tucson. In the defeat, Alex True netted San Jose’s only goal and Nick DeSimone pick up an assist and now has points in six of his last seven (2+4=6). Josef Korenar allowed three goals on 17 shots and Ivan Prosvetov stopped 38 of 39 to pick up the win for Tucson.
Roadrunners Rolling: Tucson enters Saturday with the Pacific Division's best record and the best winning percentage in the AHL (.781). The Roadrunners are coming off back-to-back wins and are in the midst of a season-long seven-game homestand. Tucson boasts a 14-4-0-0 home record, the best in the Pacific Division and are averaging the second most goals-per-game (3.91) in the AHL and the third-fewest goals-against-per-game (2.47).
A Career Capped: Before last Friday’s game, Barracuda captain John McCarthy, 33, announced he was going call it a career after 11 seasons due to health reasons. McCarthy suffered an Ischemic stroke on December 10th and has since made a full recovery. He joined the Barracuda’s coaching staff immediately after the announcement. McCarthy will go down as the San Jose’s Sharks all-time AHL leader in games played (552) [Worcester, San Jose], goals (125), assists (164), and points (289) and the Barracuda’s all-time leader in games played (275), goals (62), assists (76), points (138), power-play goals (17), and shorthanded goals (5). Also, McCarthy skated in 88 NHL games with Sharks between 2009-2016, accumulating six points (three goals, three assists) and 22 penalty minutes. The Boston native also captained the 2009 Boston University Terriers to a National Championship and skated for Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Hey Now You’re an All-Star: On Friday, rookie forward Joachim Blichfeld was named to the 2020 AHL All Star game, joining Jake Middleton, Francis Perron, Josef Korenar, Barclay Goodrow, Ryan Carpenter, Troy Grosenick, Danny O'Regan, Antoine Bibeau, and Rudolfs Balcers as players to represent the Barracuda at the AHL All-Star Classic. Blichfeld, 21, has appeared in 24 games with the Barracuda this season and currently leads the team in goals (11), is second in points (22) and is tied for first in power-play goals (3). In addition, he is pacing the Barracuda in points-per-game (.92) for skaters who have appeared in three or more games. Among AHL rookies, the Denmark native is first in points-per-game among skaters who have appeared in five or more games, tied for sixth in goals, tied for seventh in points and tied for fifth in power-play goals.
Goalie Swap: Prior to Tuesday’s game, the Barracuda recalled goaltender Zachary Sawchenko from the Allen Americans. Prior to his recall, Sawchenko had appeared in 13 games with the Americans, going 8-2-3, with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage, with a pair of shutouts. In a corresponding move, the team assigned goaltender Andrew Shortridge to the Americans. The Barracuda signed Sawchenko to a two-year deal on March 29, 2019.
Maxed Out: Sophomore forward Max Letunov picked up an assist on Friday and Sunday and now leads the team in points (23) and is tied for first in power-play goals (3) and game-winners (2). Prior to Tuesday, Letunov had recorded points in 13 of his last 15 games (3+14=17). The Sharks originally acquired Letunov from the Arizona Coyotes in a draft-day trade in 2016.
Youth Movement: The Barracuda are the AHL’s youngest roster with an average age of 22.48-years-old. No other team in the league is under 23-years-old. In fact, seven players on the 'Cuda roster are 21-years-old or younger, including two players under 21 (Sasha Chmelevski  and Ivan Chekhovich ).