2021-22 Stockton Heat Leaders
Team Record: 11-2-2 (.846, 2nd Pacific, 2nd West, 3rd AHL)
The perpetual punishment of losing your best players when they’re hot hindered the Heat this weekend, as top centreman Adam Ruzicka was recalled to sit in Calgary’s press box. It was another split decision matchup, but the evaporation of Stockton’s offence is certainly a concern.
Dustin Wolf, still undefeated in regulation in his rookie AHL season, hopped between the pipes on Friday night to face the Colorado Eagles. The former thieves of the Kelly Cup sat at the bottom of the Pacific division, but brought their A game for a tough opponent in the Heat. The captain, Byron Froese, would silence the Eagles fans early, as Walker Duehr notched an assist in his return to the Heat after spending some time in Calgary.
Relentless forecheck ➡️ back of the net pic.twitter.com/KfHYGCFh2N— Stockton Heat (@AHLHeat) November 27, 2021
Colorado would go on to beat Wolf twice in the span of 46 seconds (this would be a theme in the second game as well) late in the second period to take a 2-1 lead. However, a late comeback was not in order as Glenn Gawdin potted his 3rd of the season on the powerplay within the first minute of the third period.
All even. pic.twitter.com/o00Rgow6S5— Stockton Heat (@AHLHeat) November 27, 2021
Overtime would be a short affair as well, as Jakob Pelletier cut to the net and buried his second OT goal of the season 2 minutes in. It was also his fourth game winning goal of the year, and both those stats lead the AHL. Dustin Wolf was outstanding with 30 saves, as he moved to 7-0-2, and sits second league wide in save percentage.
Pelts had places to be. pic.twitter.com/0TYddmrFg1— Stockton Heat (@AHLHeat) November 27, 2021
Game 2 was a bleak affair for Heat fans, as Colorado pelted former Eagle Adam Werner in a 5-1 loss. The game really fell apart in the final minute of the second period, as Colorado scored 4-on-4 with 56 seconds remaining, before Sampo Ranta scored his first of the season with just 2.6 seconds left. Martin Pospisil would pot the only Heat goal of the night early in the third. Stockton got into major penalty trouble in both these games, but their PK was huge, going 11/12. Werner made only 19 saves, and it was an ugly one from start to finish.
Anything is Posp-ible. pic.twitter.com/7Ma3oe2G1X— Stockton Heat (@AHLHeat) November 28, 2021
While the two rookies mentioned before are playing out of this world, some others are off to very slow starts. Ilya Solovyov and Yan Kuznetsov are both pointless through their first 7 and 12 games respectively, but more-so aren’t playing as solidly in their own zone as they have demonstrated in other leagues. Connor Zary has now already played 7 games since being activated from the IR, but boasts just a single goal and point to his name. Don’t forget, Zary had 7 points in 9 AHL games last season before being reassigned to Kamloops. While not a rookie, Dmitry Zavgorodniy has not improved his game from his dismal 4 point rookie season, as he has been a frequent scratch and sits pointless in 6 games.
It’s a short turn around in time for a three-game week at home, as the Heat will face Bakersfield on Wednesday, and then San Diego on Friday and Saturday, which will all be covered in Week 8 of the Heat Wave!