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Tonight’s Matchup: On Saturday, the Barracuda conclude their two-game weekend set at Stockton when they take on the Heat. Saturday’s tilt marks the ninth meeting of the season and the fourth in Stockton. The Barracuda are 4-3-1-0 against the Calgary Flames affiliate this year and are 2-0-1-0 at Stockton Arena.
Throw Out The Numbers: Before Friday’s overtime loss, the Barracuda were 10-0-0-0 when scoring four goals this season, and 12-1-1-1 when leading after 40 minutes.
Rudy Rocking: Rookie All-Star Rudolfs Balcers netted a pair of goals in San Jose’s win over Tucson on Wednesday. It was the fourth multi-goal game for Balcers this season and his third in his last six games. Balcers ranks 11th in the AHL among first-year players in points (33), T-12th in assists (19), and T-13th in goals (14). The Latvia native leads the Barracuda in points, assists, goals, and T-first in power-play goals and T-first in game-winning goals. In eight games against Stockton, Balcers has eight points (four goals, four assists), and a plus-one rating.
Rasmus Rolling: Stockton Heat defenseman Rasmus Andersson collected three points (two goals, one assist) in the third period on Friday, and now has four points in his last two games. The All-Star has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) against San Jose this year, which places only behind Andrew Mangiapane for the team lead. Andersson is T-sixth in the AHL among defense in points (30), along with fellow Heat defender Tyler Wotherspoon, T-third in assists (24), and T-12th in plus/minus.
Manga Manga: Sophomore Heat forward Andrew Mangiapane collected an assist on Friday and now has four points in his last two games. The 21-year-old has skated in nine games this season with the Flames, recording zero points, but is pacing the Heat in points (39), goals (18), T-first in power-play goals (5), and fourth in assists (21). In five games against San Jose this season, Mangiapane has 13 points (six goals, seven assists), eight penalty minutes, and a plus-five rating.
Good Wother: Among AHL d-men, Stockton's Tyler Wotherspoon ranks T-sixth in points (30), T-third in assists (24), and eighth in plus/minus (21). In seven games against the Barracuda, Wotherspoon has one goal and three assists and an even rating.
Killing It: The Barracuda have been stingy on the penalty kill this year, ranking first in the Pacific Division (83.9%) and 9th in the AHL. The Barracuda killed off all six Heat power plays on Friday and are now 31-for-34 (91.2%) on the PK against Stockton.
Blueline Bolster: For the AHL’s 22nd youngest team, veteran blueliner Paul Martin has provided San Jose’s backend a veteran boost. The 14-year NHLer has skated in 859 games in the National League with New Jersey, Pittsburg, and San Jose, collecting 318 points (50 goals, 268 assists), 236 penalty minutes, and a plus-119 rating. Aside from Martin, San Jose does not have a single defenseman with more than three years of pro experience.
Captain America: San Jose Barracuda Captain John McCarthy and Team USA opened Olympic play on Wednesday morning against Slovenia, falling 3-2 in overtime, but bounced back with a 2-1 win over Slovakia on Thursday. The Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament will run from February 14-24. McCarthy is in his ninth year of pro hockey, appearing in 88 games with the San Jose Sharks, and 454 games of his 479 AHL career between the Worcester Sharks and San Jose Barracuda. Over the last two seasons, McCarthy has missed just two games with the Barracuda.
All-Star Antoine: In his fourth professional season, and first within the Sharks organization, AHL All-Star Antoine Bibeau is 14-9-2 in 27 games played with a 2.20 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. The native of Victoriaville, Quebec is fifth in the AHL in shutouts (3), fifth in goals-against average and ninth in save percentage. Bibeau is 1-1 in two games played versus Stockton, with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.
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.