Stockton concludes their three-game road trip with finale in Loveland, Colorado against the Eagles. Tonight is the second of eight meetings between the two clubs, as Stockton looks to carry the momentum gained from last night’s thrilling come-from-behind effort.
Or, you can head over to Channel Brewing Co. in Downtown Stockton as the brew pub will be serving up delicious craft beer and pizzas with the Heat on their TV’s at 110 N. San Joaquin Street!
WHO TO WATCH
After being a steady hand through the final 20 minutes and into overtime, tonight we’re going to think that Nick Schneider is in line for his first start of the season, and will undoubtedly be the player to watch tonight for the Heat.
Schneider has appeared in back-to-back games for the Heat, but only for the third periods of Sunday’s loss to Ontario and last night’s big win over Colorado, stopping 10 of a possible 10 shots through his playing time with the Heat this season. While Sunday he didn’t record a decision, Schneider picked up his first AHL win since April 16, 2016 when he finished out the season appearing in 9 games for the Heat during his amateur tryout with the club. During that stint in 2015-16, Schneider went 4-5-0-0 as a 19-year-old, impressing as Kevin Poulin finished the season injured.
In his first full season as a pro, Schneider began the year in Kansas City with the Mavericks, going 2-1-0 to start before earning the call-up after Tyler Parsons suffered his upper body injury. While we’re only assuming he could be in line to get the start, it could be a safe bet after he could’ve been argued as a catalyst for last night’s comeback win.
Should he get the nod in goal tonight, expect the 21-year-old to play calm, cool and collected between the pipes.
SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED THE WIN
Called up and signed to a pro tryout just yesterday, Rob Hamilton recorded his second career AHL game winner as his shot in OT beat Pavel Francouz to give the Heat the win. Hamilton had suited up in 12 games for the Manchester Monarchs this season and had recorded just 1 assist before last night’s heroics.
In comedic fashion, Hamilton joked about not even knowing all of his new teammates’ names after the game, but his coach knew that he could trust the defenseman while the stakes were high.
“I think credit goes to Rob for earning overtime ice,” Heat Head Coach Cail MacLean said after the game. “I watched him play the game, I thought he was solid, I thought he was evasive, he skated well, he moved the puck well. It wasn’t a big question to give him a shot out there [in overtime].”
Last night was Hamilton’s 40th AHL appearance having suited up for parts of the last two seasons with the Springfield Thunderbirds and earning a brief call-up to the Laval Rocket last season. In his AHL games, Hamilton has scored 2 goals (both of which are game winners) and has recorded 14 career points. The defenseman’s numbers in the ECHL are similar as well, having played 41 games over the last three seasons with the Manchester Monarchs, having scored 4 goals and 17 points.
BACK IN THE DAY
While this is the first meetings between the Stockton Heat and Colorado Eagles, this is not the first meeting between a Stockton hockey team and the team that calls the Budweiser Events Center home.
The Stockton Thunder (ECHL) faced the Eagles in 34 games with the Thunder going 14-20-0-0 in those games including 7-13-0-0 in Loveland. The last meeting between the clubs was back on 2/15/15 and the last win for the Thunder was a day earlier on 2/14/15 in Stockton.
The last win for the Thunder against the Eagles in Colorado came on 2/23/14 in a 5-4 win over the Eagles. The Heat are now 1-0-0-0 against the Eagles after last night’s win.
Coach MacLean used the word relentless to describe last night’s crazy game that saw three lead changes and the Heat scoring the golden goal in overtime to win the game. It might also be crazy to you that five of Stockton’s six wins have come when the score is decided by just a single goal. Even crazier, the Heat are 4-0-0-0 when games are decided by one goal on the road.
But the word relentless goes deeper than that. Last night was the first win the Heat have this season when tied after the first period and the second come-from-behind win this year when trailing after 40 minutes of play. Both of those wins have come on the road as well!