As the Stockton Heat begin to wind down their 2017-18 campaign, the meaningfulness of each game has only increased as they’re in a tight playoff battle with two other teams in their division.
The Heat currently sit in fifth in the AHL’s Pacific Division and a big reason for that is they’ve felt the strain of losing their top two goaltenders and some of their top forwards to the Calgary Flames this season. Stockton has played a whopping seven different goalies this season.
The top four teams in each division make the playoffs in the AHL and here’s a look at the standings at the conclusion of play on Saturday.
With the points-percentage based system, the Heat are approximately 2 wins out of a playoff spot as things stand. They’ll play 66 games in total this season along with San Diego and Ontario, while Texas plays 76.
Stockton should expect to receive a boost with Jon Gillies returning to Stockton.
Last Week’s Games
Sunday: San Diego Gulls 4 @ Stockton Heat 5 (SO)
After falling behind 3-0 in the first eleven minutes of the game, the Heat rallied back with goals from Andrew Mangiapane, Morgan Klimchuk, Tyler Wotherspoon, and Brett Pollock to force extra time against San Diego. After overtime solved nothing, the Heat went to a shootout where Hunter Shinkaruk scored the winner in Round 6. Heat goalie Ryan Faragher had a decent night, allowing one goal on nineteen shots after relieving Tyler Parsons.
Wednesday: Ontario Reign 3 @ Stockton Heat 1
The Heat struggled to manufacture any offense against Ontario as they fell in an important divisional contest. Ryan Lomberg scored the only goal of the game for Stockton.
Friday: Stockton Heat 3 @ Bakersfield Condors 1
For the third time in three games the Heat fell behind early but this time managed to battle back against the Condors and get the win. Spencer Foo led the way with a pair of goals for the Heat, giving him 10 points in the last eight games. Ryan Faragher made 33 stops for the victory.
This Week’s Games
Sunday: Cleveland Monsters @ Stockton Heat
Wednesday: Milwaukee Admirals @ Stockton Heat
Friday: Tuscon Roadrunners @ Stockton Heat
Saturday: Tuscon Roadrunners @ Stockton Heat
Goals: 21 - Andrew Mangiapane, 18 - Morgan Klimchuk, Spencer Foo, 15 - Hunter Shinkaruk
Assists: 29 - Rasmus Andersson, 25 - Andrew Mangiapane, Tyler Wotherspoon, 24 - Oliver Kylington
Points: 46 - Andrew Mangiapane, 36 - Rasmus Andersson, 34 - Morgan Klimchuk, Spencer Foo
Stockton has a record of 28-20-5 on the season and need to keep pushing as every single game will matter down the stretch. Like the Flames, the Heat will need a good run to close out the season if they are going to make the playoffs.