Record: 29-16-4-3 (.625%), 3rd Pacific Division, 5th Western Conference
Byron Froese (18), Luke Philp (18), Glenn Gawdin (16)
Alan Quine (32), Glenn Gawdin (29), Zac Leslie (23)
Alan Quine (46), Glenn Gawdin (45), Byron Froese (38)
Jon Gillies (13-10-4), 2.60 GAA .910 SV%
Artyom Zagidulin (16-6-3), 3.03 GAA .899 SV%
It was a week that saw the team start as the Stockton Heat, and finish as the Lodi Crushers, and combine for a 1-2 record.
Stockton briefly took over sole possession of first place in the Pacific division, with a 4-1 win against the Tucson Roadrunners last Saturday. Tucson scored a powerplay goal early in the second period, and Darcy Kuemper (on a conditioning stint) shut down the Heat for two full periods.
The Heat finally solved Kuemper in the third, and didn’t look back. Austin Czarnik and Matthew Phillips scored powerplay goals just 3 minutes apart, and Glenn Gawdin and Adam Ruzicka added empty net goals to seal the victory. Corey Schueneman had 3 assists, and Jon Gillies turned in a very solid performance with 26 saves.
Stockton has struggled at times this season scoring even-strength goals, and for the second straight game got all their goals on special teams in this past Friday’s loss to the San Diego Gulls.
Luke Philp scored his team-leading 18th of the season on the powerplay to open the scoring, but San Diego added 3 unanswered goals over the course of the next two periods. Eetu Tuulola stopped the bleeding, rifling a shorthanded goal just 29 seconds into the third, for his eighth of the year. Anthony Stolarz locked the game down from that point on, and the Gulls added an empty-netter to seal the game at 4-2.
The Heat transformed into the Lodi Crushers for Saturday’s game against the Iowa Wild, in honour of Stockton’s proximity to Lodi, California, a notable winegrape producer. With the Heat’s future in Stockton in jeopardy, the organization has increased efforts to connect with the locals. Stockton has the worst attendance in the AHL by far, and it seems likely a relocation is imminent, possibly to Colorado Springs. The team fired CEO Brian Petrovek Friday, amongst these struggles.
The Crushers disappointed the fans as well, being shut out 2-0 by the Wild. Lodi has fallen to the Wild 4 times this season, going 0-3-1. Iowa only needed 17 seconds to bury the Heat, as Mike Liambas and Connor Dewar scored back-to-back on Artyom Zagidulin in the second. Kaapo Kahkonen recorded 35 saves for the shutout.
-The Heat are in the tightest playoff race in the AHL, as 5 out of the 7 teams in the Pacific are separated by 6 points or less
-Stockton has chosen a bad time to slow down, going 1-3-1 in their last 5 games
-Eetu Tuulola has come alive offensively, potting 6 of his 19 points over the last 7 games
-Martin Pospisil returned slowly from concussion protocol, but had his first pro goal and 3 points over the last 4 games
-16 out of the Heat’s final 16 games are against Pacific division rivals, as the Heat try to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016-17
Heat Player of the Week:
Jon Gillies 2 GP: 1-1-0, 2.03 GAA, .931 SV%
Up Next: Mar 6 vs. Bakersfield
Which Stockton rookie has impressed you most this season?
This poll is closed