Playing their first road game of the season, the Stockton Heat recorded a hard-fought victory Wednesday night, besting the Texas Stars 1-0 on the outskirts of Austin.
Deadlocked with Dallas’s AHL affiliate for much of the game, the Heat broke through with 4:42 left in the third period when centre Freddie Hamilton netted a power play goal from the wing via assists from left winger Ken Agostino and defenceman Kenney Morrison. The game-winner was Hamilton’s second goal of the season.
Jon Gillies made 36 saves for the Heat, earning his second professional shutout and win. Gillies shut down multiple breakaway opportunities for the Stars and denied four shots from reigning AHL Player of the Week, Devin Shore. His efforts earned the netminder first star honors.
"He got better as the game wore on and was more confident," head coach Ryan Huska said of Gillies. "There are some nights when you just feel like he’s going to keep every shot out of the net and tonight was one of those nights, the third period in particular."
Although Stockton eventually produced on the power play, it was clear that the line featured a different look in the absence of point man Jakub Nakladal, who was recalled by Calgary only moments before puck-drop. The defenceman, along with centre Derek Grant, was leading the Heat with three points prior to the transaction.
Six skaters, including Markus Granlund, had three shots for Stockton. The Finnish centre played in his first game since being reassigned by the Flames on Tuesday.
The Heat improve their record to 2-1-0 and will remain in The Lone Star State for a Saturday evening tilt with the Colorado Avalanche’s AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage.