Mar 22, 2022

SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (20-29-2-2) vs STOCKTON HEAT (36-11-4-1)

TUES., MAR. 22 | 7:00 P.M. | SAP CENTER | SAN JOSE, CA



Heat Check: After a four-game road trip, the Barracuda return to the SAP Center on Tuesday to take on the top club in the AHL, the Stockton Heat. Stockton suffered consecutive losses in regulation for the first time this season but rebounded with a 10-3 win on Saturday in Colorado, becoming the first team in the AHL to clinch a playoff spot. The Barracuda are coming off a 5-2 win at Tucson and have now picked up points in eight (5-1-1-2) of nine games to start the month of March.


Trade Winds: The Sharks made multiple moves before Monday’s trade deadline that impacted the Barracuda. The club traded forward Nick Merkley, who was second on the team in scoring and first in assists, to the New York Rangers for veteran d-man Anthony Bitetto. In addition, the org traded goalie Alexei Melnichuk to the Tampa Bay Lightning for former San Diego Gulls forward Antoine Morand. The Sharks also dealt blueliner Jake Middleton to the Minnesota Wild for a fifth-rounder in 2022 and the 2020 AHL Goalie of the Year Kaapo Kahkonen. Middleton is the Barracuda’s franchise leader in penalty minutes (273) and ranks second in games played (228). In corresponding moves, the Sharks recalled forward Sasha Chmelevski and defenseman Ryan Merkley and reassigned goaltender Zachary Sawchenko.


Blistering Blichy: Barracuda forward Joachim Blichfeld collected his 20th goal of the year on Saturday, his second in as many games, and his 10th on the power-play. The third-year pro is the 10th player in franchise history to reach 20+ goals in a year and the first since Alex True (24) and Dylan Gambrell (20) in 2018-19. The Denmark native is just one goal shy of matching Danny O’Regan’s single-season record for the most power-play goals scored in a season, which was set in 2016-17. Blichfeld is second on the team in points (36), first in goals, t-first in power-play goals, first in shots (150), and first in shootout goals (3).


Heating Up: Heat forward Jakob Pelletier was named the AHL Player of the Week for the period ending March 20 after he notched seven points (5+2=7) in four games. The former first-rounder of the Flames leads all rookies in goals (25), is ninth in overall scoring (53), second in game-winning goals (8), and fifth among freshmen in plus/minus (+17). Against the Barracuda, he has seven points (2+5=7) in seven games.


Sparkling Special Teams: The Barracuda went 2-for-6 on the power-play on Friday and have now notched multiple power-play goals in seven of its last 12 games. The Barracuda’s power-play ranks fifth in the league (21.7%) after going 1-for-5 on Saturday in a 5-2 win at Tucson. On the other side, the penalty kill went 4-for-5 on Saturday and is now 48-for-54 over its last 14 games (88%). Despite not scoring a shorthanded goal since Jan. 14 (John Leonard), the Barracuda still rank t-fifth in the AHL in shorties this season.


Stay in your Lane: Barracuda forward Lane Pederson scored in his fourth consecutive game on Saturday and now has goals in six of his last seven. Pederson has 10 points (6+4=10) in 10 games with the Barracuda and is just one goal shy of tying John McCarthy’s franchise-record five-game goal streak which was set during the 2015-16 season. McCarthy notched points in eight consecutive games (6+6=12) from 2/10/16-to-3/1/16 and buried goals in five-straight games (6) from 2/20/16-to-3/1/16. 


California Connection: Cali natives Jake McGrew (10, 11) and Evan Weinger (10) each reached double-digit goals on Wednesday, joining six other Barracuda skaters to hit the 10-goal plateau. The Barracuda are now 11th in the AHL in goals-for (3.19) and have scored 3+ goals in 10-straight games. McGrew notched an assist on Saturday and is now riding a career-best five-game point streak (3+3=6).


Montana Tough: Rookie d-man Montana Onyebuchi dropped the gloves on Friday for the third time in as many games and now leads all rookies in fighting majors (10) and penalty minutes (104). Onyebuchi is 18 PIMS shy of matching Alex Gallant’s (122) rookie record which was set in the team's inaugural season (2015-16). Due to league rules, Onyebuchi had to serve a one-game suspension on Saturday for accruing his 10th fighting major of the year. Every subsequent fight this season with garner a one-game suspension.


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 1,728 games in the AHL, going 808-708-50-162 (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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