Mar 10, 2022

SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (18-28-2-0) vs STOCKTON HEAT (32-9-4-1)

FRI., MAR. 11 | 7:00 P.M. | SAP CENTER | SAN JOSE, CA


Heat Check: The Barracuda and Heat square off for the sixth time on the 10-game season series on Friday, the first game of a home-and-road, and the second game of four in the month of March. The Barracuda scored twice in the third period last Saturday in Stockton to force overtime but would eventually fall 4-3 in the extra session. The Barracuda are 1-3-1-0 against the Flames affiliate this year and 0-2 at the SAP Center, falling 4-1 on Jan. 2 and 4-1 on Nov. 3. The ‘Cuda have lost seven in a row at home against the Heat dating back to the 2018-19 season. The last victory at the SAP Center against Stockton came on March 10, 2019 (5-4 SOW).


Marching Along: The Barracuda enter Friday’s game on a season-long four-game point streak (3-0-1-0) and have picked up seven of a possible eight points to start the month of March after going just 1-6 in February. The Barracuda have collected wins in consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 18 (4-1 W @ SD) and Dec. 21 (4-1 W @ COL) and have won in consecutive games on home ice for the first time since Dec. 12 (5-2 W vs. ABB) and Dec. 15 (10-5 vs. COL). The Barracuda enter Friday just two points behind the San Diego Gulls for the final playoff spot. The Gulls wrap up their eight-game road trip in Bakersfield on Friday and have dropped their last three after winning three straight.


Boiling Point: The Heat enter Friday’s game with an AHL-best .750 winning percentage (32-9-4-1) and are four points behind the Ontario Reign with four games in hand in the Pacific Division. After Friday, the Heat will have 21 games remaining on their regular-season schedule and the second-easiest strength of schedule in the Division down the final stretch. The Heat are third in the AHL in goals differential (+42) and have the best winning percentage in the AHL when scoring the first goal of the game (24-1-3-0=.911). The Heat boasts the AHL’s best PK in the league and have killed off their last 10-straight entering Friday’s tilt. The Heat are also second in the league in shorthanded goals (10).


Powering Up: The Barracuda matched a season-high with three power-play goals on Wednesday in the 4-3 OTW at Ontario. The team has now potted multiple power-play strikes in three of its last four games and rank seventh in the league on the man-advantage (45/212=21.2). The Barracuda also sit at second in the league in home power-play percentage (27/101=26.7) and have home power-play goals in four-straight games (7/20=35%).


New Guy: Barracuda forward Lane Pederson has goals in consecutive games and six points (2+4=6) over his first five games with the team. Pederson began the year with the Sharks, collecting two assists in 26 outings. In 2020, he was an AHL All-Star with the Tucson Roadrunners.


J-Leno: After recording just seven points (3+4=7) through his first 20 games this year, second-year forward John Leonard has notched 22 points (13+19=22) since the new year began in 23 games. On Sunday, he recorded his first pro hat-trick and added an assist for the first four-point game of his career. Culminating in AHL Player of the Week honors after recording seven points (5+2=7) in three games. Leonard picked up an assist on Wednesday and now has points in a career-long four games (5+3=8). Since the new year, he is pacing all Barracuda skaters in goals (13) and points (22). 


Mighty Merks: Barracuda forward Nick Merkley notched a pair of points (1+1=2) on Sunday and added an assist on Wednesday and now has points in six of his last seven (4+5=9). Merkley ranks t-first on the club in game-winning goals (two in the last four games), first in power-play assists (11), first in total assists (22), and t-first in total scoring (32).


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 1,723 games in the AHL, going 806-707-50-160 (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). 

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