Arena: Tucson Convention Center
Date: November 27, 2016
Time: 3:05 p.m. PST
Broadcast: AHL Live, Spreaker & iHeartRadio beginning at 2:45 p.m. PST
2016-17 LEADING SCORER: STOCKTON: F Morgan Klimchuk & Mark Jankowski (13GP, 5-7-12 | 13GP, 3-9-12)
TUCSON: F Brendan Perlini (12GP, 10-4-14)
Fresh off their first win over their newest Pacific Division rivals, the Heat look for their second win in the Arizona finale today. The Heat play Tucson three more times at Stockton Arena with the next meeting on December 28.
LAST TIME VS. TUCSON
After an emotional week, the Roadrunners came out firing on the power play, almost scoring on their first chance and actually doing so on their second opportunity thanks to Brendan Perlini. In the second, Perlini caught a stretch pass ahead of the Heat blueline to come in on Jon Gillies all alone and slide a shot five-hole to put Tucson up 2-0.
Things started to change for the Heat after that though, getting a goal from Mikkel Aagaard on the power play to pull within one before the second period ended.
It would be a three-on-two break for the Heat in the third that would finally tie the game up thanks to defenseman Rasmus Andersson who placed a wrister past Adin Hill’s glove.
The game looked destined for extra time but Tyler Wotherspoon at the point sauced a pass over a Tucson stick to Andrew Mangiapane in the high slot, but the forward didn’t shoot, instead, he found Linden Vey in the right circle who one-timed the puck past Hill with 1:58 left in the game to give the Heat their first win over the Roadrunners.
WHO TO WATCH
We’ll have to keep an eye on the leading point getter for the Heat against the Tucson Roadrunners in Linden Vey. In four games, Vey has scored 3 goals and added 2 assists against the Roadrunners including last night’s game winner, his first AHL winner since December 16, 2015 against the Rochester Americans while playing for the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate in Utica.
After receiving the call to Calgary, Vey is back on a line with Matt Frattin and Andrew Mangiapane, and while it took some time to get the mojo back, it appears that it’s starting to return.
Since Vey has two big goals against the Roadrunners this season, with the winner last night and a shorthanded tying goal in the previous meeting, we think there is still some magic left for one of the top forwards on the Heat.
ROOKIES LEAD HEAT TO FIRST VICTORY OVER TUCSON:
However you dice it, the rookies helped the Heat capture their first win over Tucson.
Jon Gillies was magnificent in his return, stopping 25 of 27 but a number of high quality chances, most notably a Michael Bunting breakaway which could have put Tucson back up in the third.
Mikkel Aagaard scored his first AHL goal after scoring four with the Adirondack Thunder (ECHL) and Rasmus Andersson scored his first pro goal and recorded his ninth point. Andrew Mangiapane’s smart pass to Linden Vey would win the game for the Heat.
Mangiapane ranks tied 12th in the rookie scoring race with 11 points while his roommate Andersson ranks fourth among rookie defenseman with 9 points, four of which (1-3-4) have come against the Tucson Roadrunners this season, the second most among Heat skaters.
A CHANCE TO TAKE FIRST:
For Stockton there is a chance for the club to take over the first placed spot in the division tonight against Tucson, but it does require the Heat to win in regulation.
With the win, Stockton would move to .700 Points% and drop Tucson to a .692 Points%.
A single point surrendered to Tucson would keep the Roadrunners in first place. It’s obviously early but earning the first placed spot on the road would be a moral victory for the club who are .500 on the road this season and have insured nothing less than going .500 on this four-game road trip.
HEAT SPECIAL TEAMS
The Heat found the back of the net on the power play in back-to-back games for the first time since November 5 and November 11 games against San Diego and San Antonio, going 1 for 3 on the evening.
Meanwhile the league’s best power play, which was firing at 30.4%, was held to just 1 goal on five chances, dropping their percentage nearly an entire percent to 29.5%.
Not only did the Stockton Heat hand Tucson netminder Adin Hill his first loss in regulation but the team also had their first come-from-behind victory of the season when trailing after 40 minutes of play. The first time that happened last season was the first game of 2016 when the Heat came back to beat the Texas Stars in the shootout.