Rink Notes: Barracuda’s Carpenter, Langlois and Lerg Among ‘Top Lines In The American League’
SAN JOSE — A laundry list of adjectives could be used to describe Roy Sommer’s way of speaking: blunt, honest, direct, candid and forthright.
The Barracuda’s head coach rarely dodges questions and he isn’t shy about dishing out criticism when necessary. Exaggeration, hyperbole and overpraise don’t mesh with his straightforward demeanor, which is why his assessment of the Ryan Carpenter-Jeremy Langlois-Bryan Lerg line should be taken seriously.
“I think it’s one of the top lines in the American league right now, the way they’re playing,” Sommer said after Barracuda practice on Thursday. “Every time that they’re out there something happens.”
If the AHL tracked Corsi numbers, Carpenter, Langlois and Lerg’s advanced stats over their last four games would be off the charts. The line produced 15 shots on goal and a tally in the Barracuda’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Bakersfield Condors on Wednesday. They racked up 10 shots and a goal against the San Diego Gulls on Friday, six shots and a goal in the rematch on Saturday and five shots and a goal against the Ontario Reign on Nov. 11.
In their last four games, the three forwards have collected a combined 11 points, scoring four of the Barracuda’s nine tallies. Langlois carried a four-game point streak into Wednesday’s game and Lerg held a five-game point streak prior to Saturday’s contest.
Carpenter currently leads the team in scoring with nine points (1g, 8a) in 13 games, Lerg is second with eight points in nine contests (6g, 2a) and Langlois is third with seven points (4g, 3a) in 13 outings.
“I played with Lergie last year, too, so we definitely have some chemistry,” Langlois said. “I think Carpie works really hard and he gets to pucks. We’re doing a good job of cycling on teams and making it tough for them to control us.”
Carpenter and Langlois developed instant chemistry on a line with Melker Karlsson when the Sharks 2014-15 rookie of the year joined the Barracuda for a pair of games on Nov. 7 and Nov. 8. They worked the forecheck, controlled possession and dominated the play every time they stepped on the ice.
But the line shifted from fifth to eighth gear after Karlsson was recalled by the Sharks on Nov. 9 and Lerg filled his spot alongside Carpenter and Langlois.
“I think they’re even more potent than when Melker was there,” Sommer said. “When Melker was there he was still finding his timing and Lergie has his timing, so it’s a really good product right now.”
Sommer said the combination of Carpenter’s play-making ability Langlois’ quickness and Lerg’s proficiency at getting the puck over the line makes the three players perfect compliments to one another.
“Carpie’s at the top of his game,” Sommer said. “Langlois’ last five or six games, he’s been one of the better players on our team. You have speed, you have Carpie making plays and Lergie’s a finisher.”
‘We’re Coming’: Wednesday’s matinee in Bakersfield was set up to be a perfect trap game for the Barracuda (5-6-2). After handing the Gulls their first two home losses of the season over the weekend, it would have been easy to snooze on a Condors squad that was playing without Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse and Andrew Miller, who are all up in Edmonton right now.
But the Barracuda maintained its edge against the Condors, extending its points streak to three games with a shootout loss. The only obstacle that stood between the Barracuda and two points was the otherworldly play of Condors netminder Laurent Brossoit, who made 37 saves in his team’s shootout win.
Prior to the contest, Brossoit had pitched back-to-back shutouts on home ice.
“I can see why he was able to shutout a pretty good team against Ontario,” Sommer said. “He’s really calm and finds pucks and there’s no rebounds. We had a couple of good boom-boom chances, but couldn’t get them to go.”
Lerg eventually snapped Brossoit’s home ice shutout streak of 191:49 at the 6:38 mark of the third period by deflecting a desperation shot from the wall by Carpenter.
Despite the shootout loss, the Barracuda managed to sustain the momentum it established in Southern California over the weekend.
“I thought we played hard from the drop of the puck all the way until the end and we pulled out a point,” Sommer said. “We’re coming. You can see it’s starting.”
Note: Forward Alex Gallant sustained an upper-body injury in Wednesday’s contest. He’s currently considered day-to-day.
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