Series Tied 0 – 0
Arena: SAP Center
Date: April 21, 2017
Time: 7:00 p.m. PST
Broadcast: AHL Live, Spreaker and iHeartRadio at 6:45 p.m. PST
REGULAR SEASON LEADING SCORER: STOCKTON: F Mark Jankowski (64GP, 27-29-56)
SAN JOSE: F Daniel O’Regan (63GP, 23-35-58)
The #4 seeded Stockton Heat open up their Pacific Division Semifinals series with the #1 seeded San Jose Barracuda tonight in their best-of-five series. Stockton went 5-5-2 this season against San Jose including a 2-2-2 record at the SAP Center. For Stockton it’s the first time they’ve qualified for the postseason.
The last time the Flames Top Affiliate qualified for the postseason was 2013-14 when the Abbotsford Heat qualified for the playoffs, The last time the Calgary Flames Top Affiliate won a championship was in 2000-01 when the Saint John Flames won the Calder Cup.
San Jose lost in last year’s Pacific Division Semifinal, losing to the Ontario Reign in four games. San Jose’s last championship of their top affiliate was back in the IHL days in 1991-92 when the Kansas City Blades led by Wade Flaherty and Arturs Irbe won the Turner Cup.
WHO TO WATCH
Call it a hunch but tonight the player to watch will be Hunter Shinkaruk based on his track record of success against the Barracuda. This year, Shinkaruk is second on the team in points against San Jose with nine in 11 games played, five of which were goals. In 15 career games against San Jose, Shinkaruk has 7 goals and 5 assists for 12 points.
Impressive though is his shooting percentage as he’s scored on just under 20% of the shots he’s taken (19.4%), including scoring on 16.7% of the shots he’s taken this year against San Jose.
For the Heat to get past the Barracuda, it’s going to take scoring, but it’s also going to take solid two-way play and Shinkaruk is tied for second on the Heat with Garnet Hathaway and Oliver Kylington with a plus-5 rating. No Barracuda player is above plus-4 against the Heat this season.
STREAKING INTO THE POSTSEASON
The Heat ended the season on a team record long 11-game points streak (7-0-3-1) dating back to March 24, which was the longest active streak in the AHL. Impressive end considering the Heat began the season 16-7-1-1 but fell on hard times from December 26 through February 18, with the Heat going 4-14-3-0 dropping them from first to seventh. During the tough stretch, Stockton played San Jose four times going 0-3-1.
However, from February 22 through the end of the season, Stockton went 15-4-3-1, a .739 points-percentage to end the season with the final playoff spot. During Stockton’s streak to the playoffs, the Heat played San Jose five times and went 3-1-1 against the Barracuda.
DONNING THE FLAMING C
This year a total of nine players were called up to the Calgary Flames including Goalies Jon Gillies and David Rittich, Defenseman Brett Kulak, Tyler Wotherspoon and Rasmus Andersson, along with Forwards Garnet Hathaway, Linden Vey, Hunter Shinkaruk and Mark Jankowski.
Gillies, Rittich and Andersson made their NHL debuts for the Flames at the end of the season while Mark Jankowski made his back on November 28. Compared to last year, the Heat had 16 players called up with five making their NHL debuts.
I AM IRON MAN
The Stockton Heat watched Ryan Lomberg skate in every game during the 2016-17 campaign, becoming the first player to play every game in Heat history and first for the Flames Top Affiliate since Garth Murray back in 2009-10 (ABB).
It was the 29th time a player has dressed in every game in a single season for the Flames Top Affiliate with Lomberg becoming the 13th rookie to accomplish the feat.
IT TAKES TWO BABY
With his 20th of the season on the regular season finale, Andrew Mangiapane joined Mark Jankowski as the only players to reach the 20-goal plateau. Jankowski and Mangiapane were the only pair of rookie teammates in the AHL this season to hit the 20-goal mark.
It’s the first time a pair of rookies skating for the Flames Top Affiliate scored 20 in a single season since Chuck Kobasew and Matthew Lombardi did it for the Saint John Flames back in 2002-03.
BETWEEN THE BENCHES
It’s the first time in the postseason for Heat Coach Ryan Huska, just missing out in his first two seasons as a coach in the AHL in 2014-15 and 2016-17, however he made the playoffs every year with the Kelowna Rockets seven seasons prior to becoming an AHL bench boss, including winning a WHL Championship and falling just short of winning the Memorial Cup, losing in the final.
As for the winningest coach in the AHL, Roy Sommer, he’s made the playoffs 10 times in his 18 seasons as the Sharks AHL bench boss but has failed to make it past the second round. He did win a Kelly Cup as coach of the Richmond Renegades in 1994-95, the only year in his 24 seasons as a head coach in pro hockey he made it past the second round.
Stockton has 311 combined games of postseason experience from 15 players including 185 AHL games, 53 NHL games and 73 in top European leagues in Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic. Captain Mike Angelidis leads with 59 playoff games, all in the AHL followed by Mike Kostka (41AHL+4 NHL) and Keith Aulie (18 AHL+1 NHL+ 17 FIN-1).
Coincidentally, the trio all won the Calder Cup in 2012 as members of the Norfolk Admirals who lost just three games en route to the Calder Cup. Brandon Bollig is the lone Stanley Cup winner on the Heat and he comes in fourth with 35 NHL games.
Besides his Calder Cup with Norfolk, Aulie has also won a gold medal at the World Junior Championships along with a Spengler Cup while representing Canada. The only other gold medal winner for the Heat at a prestigious international tournament would be new netminder Tyler Parsons, who took home gold with Team USA during this past year’s World Junior Championships.
At the college level, both Mark Jankowski and Jon Gillies won a NCAA National Championship with the Providence College Friars while Cam Braes recently won his third University Cup (CIS) with the University of New Brunswick in March.
In junior hockey, both the aforementioned Parsons and forward Hunter Smith have taken home the pinnacle of junior hockey, the Memorial Cup while also winning OHL Championships. The only other major junior champion was Tyler Wotherspoon who won a WHL Championship.
San Jose combines for 218 postseason games at the pro level with 130 games of experience in the Calder Cup Playoffs and the remaining 88 games from the top leagues in Sweden and Switzerland. Zack Stortini leads the way with 59 AHL playoff games followed closely by Tim Heed who played in 53 playoff games in the Swedish Hockey League and Noah Rod who suited up in 32 contests in the National League A of Switzerland.
A tight season series between these two clubs as the Barracuda outscored the Heat by two goals in the season series, 37 to 35. However, Stockton’s shooting percentage was higher, scoring on 11.6% of their 303 shots.
Stockton had their best success scoring in first periods against San Jose during the regular season series, scoring 14 goals on 104 shots for a 13.5 shooting-percentage. San Jose was nearly as good, scoring 16 goals on 137 first period shots for their highest shooting-percentage of 11.7% against the Heat.
Overall this season, Stockton was at their best in first periods, scoring 17 more goals then their opposition and scoring on 11.5% of their first-period shots. The Heat finished with 212 goals scoring on 10.5% of their total shots.
HEAT365 – WHERE IT’S ALWAYS HOCKEY SEASON
Heat365 is a new and exclusive all-encompassing membership that provides more value than ever. This membership not only includes your season tickets, but also a wide range of other benefits and year-round activities.
Fans will receive many exclusive perks like access to Member-only events with the team, early entry to Stockton Arena through a private entrance and even membership gifts, which will include a specially designed hat, blanket, collector pin and travel mug during the first season of the new initiative available only through Heat365.
Plus, new members signing up for their membership will receive tickets to the first round of the playoffs for FREE! Stockton hosts Game 3 on Friday, April 28 at Stockton Arena with the potential to host Game 4 if necessary.
For a list of all benefits and how to join visit StocktonHeat.com/Heat365 or call the Heat Front Office at 209.373.1500.