Barracuda Can’t Come All The Way Back Against Heat

By Matthew T.F. Harrington

photo credit: San Jose Barracuda–SJ Barracuda @ Stockton Heat promo for Sat 2-20-16 game

The San Jose Barracuda narrowly dropped a 6-5 overtime decision to the Stockton Heat Saturday night at Stockton Arena. Barclay Goodrow put San Jose (21-17-6) on the board first, but Stockton (21-20-1) answered back with 3 straight goals to grab a stranglehold on the game. San Jose would tie the game at 5-all to earn a point. Ryan Carpenter, John McCarthy and Captain Bryan Lerg also scored for the Barracuda while forward Trevor Parkes collected a pair of assists. Former San Jose Shark Freddie Hamilton tallied a goal and two assists, as did Barracuda forward Trevor Parkes.

Goodrow opened the scoring just 2:13 into the game, beating Stockton netminder Kent Simpson for his 16th goal of the season. The Heat responded immediately, with Kenny Agostino also potting his 16th goal of the season just 1:47 later.

Stockton would take the lead 9:24 into the contest on defenseman Kenney Morrison’s power play goal.  Hamilton would then double the lead 10:19 into the 2nd period. Lerg’s 13th goal of the year, coming at the 13:01 mark of the period would pull San Jose within one, but the Heat would seemingly put San Jose away in the 3rd.

Agostino again beat Sharks netminder Troy Grosenick 2:20 into the final period, then NHL veteran Mason Raymond would add the dagger goal at the 4:21 mark to make it 5-2. Grosenick made 33 saves on 39 shots.

To commence the comeback, Ryan Carpenter netted his 11th goal of the season 10:18 into the 3rd. McCarthy scored with just 1:11 left, then Parkes would score with 33 seconds remaining to force the extra session.

The comeback was for naught after Raymond beat Grosenick 3 minutes into the 3-on-3 overtime period for his 2nd goal of the night and 4th of the year.

Michael Haley and Raffi Torres both fought for the Barracuda.

Up next for San Jose is a meeting with the Bakersfield Condors next Friday then a stop in San Diego Saturday before the Barracuda return home for three-straight.

Barracuda Fall 4-2 to Condors

By Mary Walsh

photo credit: San Jose Barracuda–The Barracuda lose to the Bakerfield Condors 4-2 on Valentines day at SAP

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Barracuda fell to the Bakersfield Condors by a score of 4-2 Sunday. The game winner was scored by Ryan Hamilton. Anders Nilsson was in net for the win, making 21 saves on 23 shots. For San Jose, Aaron Dell made 22 saves on 25 shots faced. Both Barracuda goals were scored by Ben Smith.

San Jose and Bakersfield were playing for third place in the division on Sunday. When the game started, the Barracuda had a two point lead over the Condors but had played one more game. With the win, the Condors jumped the Barracuda for third place in the AHL’s Pacific Division.

I remember when the Bakersfield Condors wore grey and burgundy and had the names of local businesses on the tails of their jerseys. That was when they were an ECHL team last year. Now the Condors look pretty much like the Oilers, especially from a distance far enough to not see the emblem. They wear the same colors but they differ in one important respect: they are doing well in their division this season.

The Barracuda were first on the power play, into the first period. Bakersfield was called for too many men on the ice and Anton Slepyshev served the penalty at 11:47. San Jose did not score. Instead, Bakersfield scored at . Barracuda goaltender Aaron Dell stopped the first couple of shots during a Condor attack during which the Barracuda could not clear the puck out. Andrew Miller’s shot went over Dell’s shoulder from the slot to give the visitors the lead. It was Miller’s twelfth of the season. Assists went to Rob Klinkhammer and Jujhar Khaira.

The Condors kept the Barracuda on their heels for the rest of the period. With San Jose defenders stuck in their zone, they were lucky to make it to intermission down by just one.

At the end of the period, the teams were tied on the shot clock but the home team trailed by one.

The second period was marked by a lot of hits and questionable stick use. By the ten minute mark, the Barracuda had added two shots and the Condors just one. Near the eleven minute mark, the game’s first fight broke out behind the Barracuda goal line. The scuffle landed Andrew Miller and Joakim Ryan in the box with roughing minors. Miller got an additional two minutes, so Slepyshev joined him in the box and a Barracuda power play commenced.

San Jose still could not score, but they did keep the Condors on the defensive. And defend they did. The Baracuda had very little time to take the shots they got credit for and many that just missed the net. With six minutes left, Bakersfield still only had one shot in the period but they still had a one goal lead.

The Condors got their first power kay with 4:13 left in the second. San Jose’s Julius Bergman went to the box for slashing. During their power play they finally got a few shots on goal. Half way through the power play, Karl Stollerysent the puck out of play and was called for delay of game. San Jose managed the three on five penalty kill and the minute of four on five that followed.

At the end of the second, the score was still 1-0 Condors and the shots were 17-15 Condors.

The third period started with an early chance for the Condors that hit a post. That seemed to wake the Barracuda up and they responded with several good shifts in the offensive zone. When the Condors pushed back, they were wrapped up in extended board battles and had few chances to score again until the middle of the period.

At, the Condors extended their lead. A neutral zone breakdown gave the Condors a two-then-three on one with Julius Bergman as the one. Jujhar Khaira scored the goal with assists going to Andrew Miller and Griffin Reinhart.

The goal unsettled the Barracuda and inspired the Condors. The orange and blue attack continued with the Barracuda scrambling defensively.

The Barracuda recovered somewhat in the second half of the period. At 12:05 they scored after John McCarthy and Ben Smith combined to win the puck off the boards. McCarthy carried it behind the net and tried a wraparound. That did not work but Smith was on the other side of the crease to catch the puck and put it in. It was his seventh goal of the season in eleven games played with the team. McCarthy received the lone assist.

The Condors did not let that go and stretched their lead back to two with 3:40 left in the game. Entering the zone fast two one two, Ryan Hamilton and Tyler Pitlick gave the Condors their third goal of the game.

The Barracuda made a game of it with just over a minute left. A good four skater rush through the neutral zone and some give and go between Smith and Bryan Lerg resulted in another goal for Smith.

Barracuda coach Sommer opted to pull his goaltender after that and with 26.2 left in the game, the puck escaped the neutral zone and only the Condors’ Klinkhammer was near enough to catch it. He put it in the Barracuda net.

Final score: 4-2 Condors.

John McCarthy led the Barracuda in shots on goal with five. Mirco Mueller, called up to the Sharks briefly after Brenden Dillon’s recent injury, was back with the AHL squad in time for Sunday’s game.

Raffi Torres, still on the Barracuda roster, did not play for the second game in a row. He has played five games with the Barracuda this year.

The Barracuda hit the road next week and will face the Heat on Saturday and Sunday in Stockton.

Aaron Dell, Barracuda Shutout Rampage

By Ben Leonard

photo credit: San Jose Barracuda–Pink is the new color for shutout for SJ Barracuda Saturday over San Antonio

SAN JOSE, Calif. –The long, drawn-out chase for Roy Sommer’s 637th win seemed to take a lot out of the San Jose Barracuda, pressing to earn their coach his win. After they finally helped him set the AHL’s all-time wins record on Wednesday, captain Bryan Lerg said the victory helped them all “take a deep breath.” That breath certainly appeared to have helped the team clear its head, picking up its first shutout in franchise history in a 5-0 victory over the San Antonio Rampage.

Before Wednesday’s victory, the Barracuda had dropped 8 of their last 9 in search of that victory. “Enough was enough, Lerg said. “I told Roy before the game that it was happening tonight. It’s just been lingering too much. It’s easy to say, but it had been weighing down people because everyone wanted it done.”

With the weight off his shoulders, ‘Cuda goalie Aaron Dell had another masterful game in the net for San Jose, picking up 30 saves to keep the Rampage from lighting up the lamp. Dell now has 80 saves in the last two games.

Right winger Ben Smith scored twice for San Jose, including the first goal off a deflection on a power play early in the first period. Heading into the third period, the ‘Cuda had a nice 3-0 cushion behind goals from defenceman Patrick McNally (his first of the season) and right winger Nikita Jevpalovs.

In the third period, the ‘Cuda added some insurance on another Smith goal, his fifth of the season, pushing the lead to 4-0. A few minutes later, Lerg added a goal, pushing the lead to an insurmountable 5-0.

NOTES: Sommer bestowed the honor of dropping the puck in the second game of a doubleheader at SAP Center…San Jose donned pink sweaters for cancer research…San Jose outshot San Antonio 43-30….

Barracuda Coach Roy Sommer Sets AHL Wins Record

By Ben Leonard

photo credit: San Jose Barracuda–San Jose Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer break the all time win record in the AHL with his 637th career win on Wednesday night against the Ontario Reign 4-2

SAN JOSE, Calif. —

After eighteen seasons as a coach in the American Hockey League, it’s about time San Jose Barracuda coach Roy Sommer got to wear his barracuda hat. The cap is literally a big fish, apparently a barracuda, but probably actually a koi, and is emblazoned with countless jewels and charms.  A “mail-order barracuda,” Sommer called it. Fit for a king.

The honor of wearing such a hat is only bestowed upon the player of the game, but tonight, his team finally honored him with the right to wear it. Wednesday night, Sommer surpassed legendary AHL coach and Hockey Hall of Famer Fred “Bun” Cook with his 637th career win, a 4-2 victory over the Ontario Reign.

It had been a long time coming — the Barracuda had dropped eight of their previous nine games, making Sommer wait what seemed like an eternity for his right to wear that hat.

A native of nearby Oakland, Sommer briefly played for the Edmonton Oilers before making it into coaching. He started his career as an assistant with the Sharks, sticking with the organization becoming a head coach in the AHL. He coached the Cleveland Barons, the Worcester Sharks, and the Kentucky Thoroughblades (all San Jose affiliates) throughout his 18-year career.

“It’s an honor,” Sommer said Wednesday. “You look at all the guys who have coached in the American Hockey League. You think back on the people you’ve worked with and the trainers, and how the organization stuck with me. It’s something to do it with the same organization, and that’s what makes me proud.”

The ever-humble Sommer has been very nonchalant about the win chase throughout the process, even after getting the big win Wednesday. “We’re just putting another season in. What I liked most about it was that we’re back in a playoff spot — I was looking for that more than we win. A big thing for me is that after everyone’s been talking so much about it, that it’s finally done.”

What made the win even better for Sommer was that his ‘Cuda did it against the best team in the league. Ontario (28-10-3-1) had won nine straight games coming into today, and were stopped in their tracks by Barracuda goaltender Aaron Dell, who made a whopping 50 of 52 save attempts.

“This was one I’ll remember, being at SAP and in the Bay Area and getting to win it here, Sommer said. “That’s special. I’ll remember all the guys in the room.”

Barracuda captain Bryan Lerg felt sorry for Sommer because his team had taken so long to get Sommer his win. The team had been playing tighter, desperately trying to get that win, so much so that it probably made his wait longer.

Why did his team push so hard? Lerg and the rest of the team has seen much more of Sommer than the yelling that most fans observe from the sidelines. “He’s obviously a great coach, but most people don’t get to know how great of a person he is,” Lerg said. “That’s the best part about him. He has a great family and fits in great with us, and lets us have our fun. When you’re winning with Roy, it’s a great time. That’s why guys play hard for him.”

Now that the long, drawn-out chase is over with, Sommer said he’s going to go home wearing that hat and have a well-deserved beer. But after that, in typical Sommer fashion, it’s “back to business.”

Barracuda drop another in Ontario

By: Eric He

photo credit: San Jose Barracuda–

The Ontario Reign have been the San Jose Barracuda’s kryptonite this season, as the Barracuda dropped their second consecutive to the Reign, 3-2 on Saturday night.

The Barracuda finish the season winless in six tries in Ontario, with just one win overall against the Reign.

In this game, San Jose jumped ahead early, but Ontario answered with three consecutive goals. The Barracuda took a 2-0 lead into second period after Ryan Carpenter and Ben Smith recorded first period markers with two goals in less than a minute.

But it didn’t take long for the Reign to seize the momentum. Michael Mersch put Ontario on the board just 42 seconds into the second period. Late in the period, Ontario also tallied quick back-to-back goals. Jonny Brodzinski finished off an odd-man rush to even the score at 2-2 with under four minutes to play in the period, and then just 16 seconds later, Justin Auger punched in what turned out to be the game-winner.

A scoreless third period sealed another defeat for San Jose, its eighth in nine games. The Barracuda wrapped up a five-game road trip with just one win and will head home to play the Reign again on Wednesday to kick off a three-game home stand.

Barracuda shut out by Ontario in road loss

By: Eric He

photo credit: San Jose Barracuda

The San Jose Barracuda suffered their seventh loss in eight games after a 1-0 shutout at the hands of the Ontario Reign on the road Friday night.

A first period goal by the Reign’s Michael Mersch was enough for Reign goaltender Peter Budaj to secure his AHL-leading eighth shutout of the season.

The Barracuda put 17 shots on net in the third period in an effort to even the score, but Budaj was equal to the task, as he made 22 saves on the night to seal the victory.

San Jose failed to score on its three power plays and had a season-low one shot on the goal in the second period.

Head coach Roy Sommer stays at 636 wins and remains tied with Fred “Bun” Cook for most career AHL wins as the Barracuda fall to 1-4-2-0 this season against Ontario. They were shutout for the sixth time this season.

The Barracuda will try again on Saturday in a re-match against the Reign.

Sommer Makes History with Barracuda Win

By Joe Lami

photo credit: San Jose Barracuda–SJ Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer becomes winningest coach in AHL history on Friday night in San Antonio

San Jose Barracuda head coach, Roy Sommer made AHL history on Saturday night in San Antonio, recording his 636th career win as the ‘Cuda toped the Rampage 4-3. The win also snapped a six-game losing streak for San Jose forcing Sommer to sit on win 635 for the past two weeks.

Sommer, now in his 18th season behind the bench as the San Jose Shark’s minor league coach tied Fred Cook as the all-time winningest coach in AHL history. He has also coached the most games at the AHL level with 1,385 under his belt. Sommer hasn’t been wanting to make too much of a big deal about the impressive record, setting his eyes more on how the team is doing in the standings, currently third in the Pacific division with 46 points in 41 games.

San Antonio jumped on the board early and often, taking a 2-0 lead within the first seven minutes of the contest thanks to goals from Brandon Gormley and Marc-Andre Cliche.

However, the Barracuda answered with four straight up their own. Three of which came on the power play, a season high total for San Jose. Ryan Carpenter scored his ninth of the season with just over six minutes remaining in the opening frame.

John McCarthy kicked started the second with a power play marker just .21seconds in. Ryan Carpenter picked up his second point of the night on McCarthy’s fifth goal of the year. Ben Smith scored his first goal as a member of the Barracuda three minutes into the third period to give San Jose a 3-2 lead.

Petter Emauleson scored the game-winning goal with six minutes remaining in the contest. Emanuelson’s sixth of the year was the only even-strengthed tally of the night for the ‘Cuda. Ben Smith also earned an assist on the goal to give him a multi-point night.

Aaron Dell stopped 23 pucks on his seventh win of the season.

Sommer hopes to become the winningest coach in AHL history, as he goes for 637 on February 4th, as the Barracuda come off of the All-Star break against the Ontario Reign.

Barracuda drop sixth straight in road defeat to Rampage

By: Eric He

photo credit: San Jose Barracuda–SJ Barracuda loses sixth straight game in San Antonio Fri Jan 29, 2016

The San Jose Barracuda could not snap out of their losing streak on Friday night, falling to the San Antonio Rampage 2-1 on the road to extend their losing streak to a season-high six games.

All of the game’s goals were scored in the first period, with the Barracuda striking first at the midway point on Ryan Carpenter’s eighth goal of the season. Carpenter tipped in a wrist shot by Patrick McNally, who recorded his first career point with an assist.

But the Rampage answered with a pair of late goals Dennis Everberg, who beat Troy Groesnick twice in a three-minute span and San Antonio took a 2-1 advantage into the second period.

After a scoreless second period, the Barracuda could not find a way to even the score in the third despite having four power plays. Rampage goaltender Roman Will stopped 29 of 30 shots to send the Barracuda to the showers with yet another loss.

The defeat yet again prevents head coach Roy Sommer from tying Fred “Bun” Cook atop the all-time wins list in the AHL. Sommer has 635 career wins, one short of Cook.

He will get another chance Saturday night when the Barracuda face the Rampage again in San Antonio.

Barracuda shut out by Stars to kick off road trip

By: Eric He

photo credit: San Jose Barracuda–The Texas Stars pitch a shutout 3-0 against the SJ Barracuda on Wednesday night in Texas

The San Jose Barracuda saw their road trip begin on a sour note with a 3-0 loss to the Texas Stars on the road on Wednesday night.

It was the Barracuda’s season-high fifth consecutive loss and once again prevented head coach Roy Sommer from recording his 636th career win tying Fred “Bun” Cook in the record books for most wins by an AHL coach.

Texas got into the driver’s seat early with two first period goals. Curtis McKenzie put the Stars on the board with a little more than six minutes gone by in regulation, and Brett Ritchie connected on a late power play with a one-timer to give Texas a 2-0 lead heading into the second period.

McKenzie provided an insurance goal in the third period after neither team was able to connect in the second period. He pocketed the second power play goal of the night for the Stars, scoring on a rebound to put the Stars ahead 3-0.

Aaron Dell recoded 33 saves in a losing effort for San Jose. The two teams were relatively even on the shot clock — Texas had 36 to San Jose’s 35 — but the Stars’ Maxime Lagace was perfect in net, recording the shutout.

The Barracuda will look to snap their losing streak on Friday when they head to San Antonio to play the Rampage at 5:30 PM PST.

Reign Shuts Down San Jose 2-1

By: Joe Lami

photo credit: San Jose Barracuda–SJ Barracuda edge the Ontario Reign 2-1 at SAP Center Saturday

SAN JOSE, Calif.- For the second night in a row the San Jose Barracuda fall to the Pacific division leading Ontario Reign. On Saturday night, the Reign prevented head coach Roy Sommer from tying the all-time AHL wins record with a 2-1 victory in San Jose. The loss also creates six points of separation between first and second in the Pacific.

The Reign jumped out to an early 1-0 lead at 12:31 of the first period. Kurtis MacDermind netted his third of the season on a shot from the left point that dinked off the left post and in. Nic Dowd picked up his first of two assists on the play.

San Jose found the equalizer four minutes later. Trevor Parkes scored his ninth of the season going five-hole on Peter Budaj, who picked up his 22 victory of the season.  The beautiful play was set up by Bryan Lerg, who handed the puck to Parkes in the slot. Jeremy Langlois earned the other assist on the lone goal for the ‘Cuda.

“A lot of it has to do with their goalie. When he needed to make a save he did,” Sommer commented.

Sean Backman scored the game winner with just .49 seconds left in the first period. Michael Mersch and Dowd picked up the helpers on the goal.

Ontario played stellar defensive hockey the rest of the way, especially in the third period where they allowed just two shots from San Jose. “They really lock it down. That’s a fact. They know how to protect a lead and give credit to their coach, but we got to find a way to beat them,” said Lerg.

Ben Smith played his second AHL game of the season after being sent down by the Sharks on Friday. He cleared the waivers process in time to suit up for the Barracuda. Smith finished a -2 in the contest, playing with Nikolay Goldobin and Scott Timmins. Smith, however, was just happy to get back on the ice and play and hopes to get his game where in needs to be to get back to the NHL, “I want to play and just control what I can control right now. Getting my game back to where it needs to be and tonight’s a start. I’m just looking forward to getting more ice time, more shifts and more games in,” he added.