Finally, after numerous opportunities, Roy Sommer has broken the record. After dropping two straight against the Ontario Reign, Sommer and the San Jose Barracuda broke through with a 4-2 victory on Wednesday night as Sommer surpassed Fred “Bun” Cook with 637 career wins in the AHL.
It’s quite the accomplishment for Sommer who has more than paid his dues over the years. Sommer has spent the past 18 seasons as the bench boss for the San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate, and he has seen his fair share of highs and lows.
Those ups-and-downs were on display this past week as the Barracuda dropped a pair of games in Ontario, top affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, before San Jose rebounded with the win at SAP Center.
Aaron Dell was the tough luck loser as the Barracuda began their post-All-Star break schedule with a 1-0 loss against the Reign. Dell made 29 saves between the pipes, but his teammates couldn’t find a way to find the back of the net against his counterpart, Peter Budaj. Michael Mersch scored the lone goal of the game, a power-play tally in the first period that stood up the rest of the way.
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The next night, Sommer appeared poised to break the record as San Jose jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes behind goals from leading scorer Ryan Carpenter and Ben Smith. Unfortunately, Ontario responded with three goals of their own in the middle frame as they eked out another one-goal victory over the Barracuda.
San Jose took the early lead with a pair of goals 51 seconds apart as Carpenter fired home his 10th goal of the year, before Smith scored his second with the Barracuda with a power-play strike. Troy Grosenick made 21 stops for San Jose, but a pair of goals in a 16-second span proved the difference in this one.
The Barracuda returned home last night for wrap up their three-game stretch against the Reign by seizing control in the first period again. San Jose received goals from captain Bryan Lerg, Gus Young and Barclay Goodrow to take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission. Goodrow’s goal was his team-best 15th tally of the season as he continues his turn around in the AHL.
This time, the Barracuda were able to finish the job as Smith found the back of the net for the second straight game and Dell stood tall between the pipes. Dell would make 50 saves in this one as Ontario would outshoot San Jose by a 52-26 margin.
It was a big win for the Barracuda as they finally got the monkey off Sommer’s back and also secured a much needed two points. As it stands now, San Jose sits in third place in the Pacific Division with 48 points and a points percentage of .545.
The Barracuda return to action this weekend with a pair of afternoon contests against the San Antonio Rampage, top affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, and the Bakersfield Condors, top affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, at SAP Center.