2020-21 Stockton Heat Leaders
Team Record: 13-2-2 (.824, 1st Pacific, 1st West, 2nd AHL)
It’s tough to find just a couple storylines to talk about after yet another phenomenal weekend by the Stockton Heat. With a postponement to the Wednesday game against Bakersfield, the Heat would have to wait until their weekend matchup with the San Diego Gulls to return home after 4 straight on the road.
They treated the patient fans to a dominant performance over the Gulls, as Connor Mackey put forth an all-time performance. He began his night off by gathering the primary assist on Martin Pospisil’s opening tally 12 minutes into the first, but that would be the least noteworthy point of the night. Zary joined the Connor party with his second of the season early in the second period, as Mackey momentarily lost the spotlight.
More like Connor Scary (for opponents when he's on the side of the net). pic.twitter.com/zhD3v7pGu9— Stockton Heat (@AHLHeat) December 4, 2021
Cut to just over a minute remaining in that same period, and that changed. A short-handed rush by Luke Philp saw him feed Mackey in the high slot for a greasy one-timer, but it found it’s way through to open up a 3-0 lead.
Third period is about to start, so let's get the ✨vibes✨ going with Mackey's goal pic.twitter.com/5Gm9FCEiMD— Stockton Heat (@AHLHeat) December 4, 2021
Danny O’Regan would finally solve the red-hot Dustin Wolf 3 minutes into the third period to end a potential shutout bid. It would be the only shot that did, as Wolf ended the night with a tidy 23 save performance.
Oh did you forget about him? Well Connor Mackey still wasn’t done, as he’d pot his second goal of the game, this time on the powerplay. That would be his third point of the night at three different strengths, in a Lemieuxian effort from the d-man. Juuso Valimaki recorded the primary assist on his second goal, as he made his Heat debut after being sent down. Stockton won 4-1 and rebounded nicely from a regulation loss in Ontario last week.
It was an amazing performance to be sure, but by backing that up with an equally solid one the very next night, Mackey would earn himself AHL Player of the Week honours. With the cancelled game and some shaky recent performances from Adam Werner, Dustin Wolf got his first back-to-back start of the season. He would prove to be an even bigger factor than in round 1, as he was forced to stop 36 of 38 shots in yet another victory.
It was the same suspects at work early again Saturday, as Mackey and Valimaki set up Glenn Gawdin for a wide open snipe with some nifty passes on an early powerplay. A rarely surrendered shorthanded goal to the Gulls would leave this game tied at ones through one.
Sike. Connor Mackey. A beautiful tip from the defenceman shorthanded yet again, and the Heat took a 2-1 lead to intermission.
Second period's about to get going, so here come the ✨vibes✨ pic.twitter.com/xURzrwpvsV— Stockton Heat (@AHLHeat) December 5, 2021
Glenn Gawdin added an empty netter for his second of the game, and of course Mackey and Valimaki got the assists on that one as well. San Diego added one of their own in garbage time, but the Heat hung on for yet another perfect weekend to retake the Pacific and Western Conference leads.
Connor Mackey potted an insane 3 goals (two of which were SHG) and 2 assists in just 2 games, while Juuso Valimaki had 3 assists in his first AHL action of the year. Dustin Wolf is still undefeated in regulation, and with 11 starts now it is becoming very clear that it’s no fluke. He has the third best GAA in the AHL, and is tied for the second best save percentage. He is tied for the league lead with 9 wins. Jakob Pelletier is third in AHL rookie scoring, and tied for seventh league wide.
Are you at all concerned with Connor Zary’s production through 9 games (2 goals, no assists)?
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