Arena: Valley View Casino Center
Date: January 11, 2016
Time: 7:00 p.m. PST
Broadcast: AHL Live, Spreaker & iHeartRadio beginning at 6:45 p.m. PST
LEADING SCORER: STOCKTON: F Linden Vey/Mark Jankowski (26GP, 8-16-24) / (28GP, 9-15-24)
SAN DIEGO: F Corey Tropp (29GP, 7-17-24)
Stockton has begun the New Year on a high note with back-to-back wins but face a difficult, three games in four nights stretch all on the road beginning in San Diego.
Counting tonight, Stockton has two games remaining against the Gulls this season but have already wrapped up the series win having already posted a 6-0-0-1 record. They have not lost at the Valley View Casino Center this season as well.
LAST TIME VS. SAN DIEGO
On the Gulls Teddy Bear Toss night, the team struggled to score as Jon Gillies was magnificent, making big save after big save to keep Stockton on top.
The offense came from Morgan Klimchuk and Austin Carroll in the first period, followed by a Hunter Shinkaruk tally in the second. Sadly, Gillies shutout bid would end with just 20 seconds left thanks to Keaton Thompson but Gillies ended the night stopping a career high 48-saves.
WHO TO WATCH
Last suiting up for the Heat back on December 20 in San Jose, Oliver Kylington is expected to be back in the lineup tonight in San Diego after missing six games with the Heat during the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships.
Loaned to Sweden on December 21, Kylington played 7 games for Team Sweden, picking up 4 assists and finishing the tournament as the tied sixth best defenseman in points.
One thing that should improve with Kylington back will be the power play, as since he’s been gone the Heat have scored 3 goals in their 20 opportunities (15%) without their starting “quarterback” on the blueline.
Not only that but Kylington has picked up big points against the Gulls this season, scoring 2 goals and adding 4 assists in 7 games against the SoCal rival.
The Heat are 28.1% on the power play this season against San Diego and we think “Ollie” will help kickstart the power play tonight in his return to AHL action.
STAYING PUT IN STOCKTON – TRADING PLACES IN SAN DIEGO
A couple moves announced in the last 24 hours has impacted the dynamic of the Heat team and their opposition for tonight’s game. First off news broke earlier this morning of Keith Aulie, the veteran defenseman for the Stockton Heat, released from his pro tryout contract and signed an AHL contract with the club, making sure he’ll be staying put in Stockton.
As for the opposition, the Anaheim Ducks made a trade last night, acquiring goaltender Jonas Enroth from the Toronto Maple Leafs and assigned the tender to San Diego.
Goaltending has been a problem for San Diego this season as they lost Matt Hackett back on November 26 and most recently lost Dustin Tokarski who has missed the last four games for the Gulls.
Since then it’s been Kevin Boyle getting the starts with former Heat try-out earlier during the 2016-17 preseason schedule, Ryan Faragher, backing him up. Boyle has been pretty solid in that stretch though, going 3-1-1 in that stretch and even picking up a 22-save shutout against Texas on December 29.
As for Enroth, he was sent down from the Maple Leafs to the Toronto Marlies back on December 5, eventually suiting up for 3 games with the Marlies, posting a 2-1-0 record, a 3.03 goals-against-average and a 0.904 save-percentage. He was made expendable when the Leafs claimed former Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney off waivers
HEY NOW, YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR
Mark Jankowski is set to follow in the footsteps that Derek Grant walked last year as the second ever Heat player to be named to the AHL All-Star game.
Jankowski is tied for the team lead with 23 points, which is also among the top point getting rookie skaters in the AHL. He is one of 13 first-year players to receive the All-Star nod and one of six among the Pacific Division team. Since 1995, 93% of All-Star Game participants have gone on to compete in the NHL, which bodes well for Jankowski as he made his NHL debut with Calgary back on November 28.
A day after being named to the All-Star game, the Heat’s star centerman scored the OT game winner just 1:04 into the extra session, his second game winner of the season.
SLAMMING THE DOOR SHUT
Saturday was a scheduled start for Jon Gillies, a day after playing very well and getting the OT win over Tucson but he fell ill just before the game.
That thrusted David Rittich into action in what would be another special night in the career of Stockton’s Czech netminder. Rittich made all 35 saves he needed to earn his fourth shutout of the season, second most in the AHL. He also broke the tie between he and Gillies for the most shutouts all-time for the Heat.
Jamie Devane has done some special things this season and recently, Devane finds himself on his second three-game point streak of the season dating back to December 31 (1-2-3). That also ties his career long, which has now been accomplished three times by Devane. In his last eight games, Devane has 2 goals and 4 assists for 6 points.