Dustin Wolf will either save or damage this fanbase beyond repair if he doesn’t stop this hype train soon, and there’s no in between. Ready for his stats through his first 2 AHL starts this season? 1-0-1 with a 1.48 GAA and .957 Sv%. That’s thanks to a 2 game homestand against the Tucson Roadrunners on Friday and Saturday, as Wolf stopped 66 of 69 shots in a 1-0 overtime loss, and a 3-2 win the very next night.
Rookie Head Coach Mitch Love picked up his first career AHL win with the victory, and guided his team to two very strong performances on a not-easy-to-do doubleheader to begin the season.
The Heat were held scoreless in their home and season opener much to the dismay of Stockton fans, who’s arena hadn’t seen the Heat in over a year after the team played the 2020-21 season in Calgary.
Ivan Prosvetov stopped all 29 shots he faced, and Vladislav Kolyachonok scored the overtime winner, which stood as the lone offender of 35 shots to beat Wolf.
Not only for the aforementioned Love, but the 3-2 victory the next evening was a big night of firsts. First and least, Justin Kirkland opened the scoring for the Heat on the powerplay with 5 minutes remaining in the first period, for the team’s first goal of the 2021-22 campaign. It would be matched by the Roadrunners to notch the score at 1 going into intermission.
In a span of just 1:40 in the second period, both Walker Duehr and Jakob Pelletier notched their first AHL goals. Just 14 seconds after puck drop, Luke Philp dished a gorgeous cross-crease pass to Duehr, who seems to have kept his preseason scoring touch. Adam Ruzicka’s shot gave Jakob Pelletier an equally generous first career goal as he potted the rebound on the backhand past Josef Korenar.
Pelletier’s tally stood as the winner as Tucson added a second goal in the third period, but Wolf was superb again, stopping 32 shots for his first win of the season.
Andrew Shortridge backed Wolf up for both games with Adam Werner and Tyler Parsons unavailable, but Shortridge’s assignment to the Kansas City Mavericks today likely means Werner will be ready and should get a start this weekend.
Week 2 of the Heat Wave will cover the back-to-back on the road in San Diego and Bakersfield this upcoming Friday and Saturday.
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