Stockton continues their three-game road trip with a two-game set in Loveland, Colorado against the Eagles. Tonight is the first of eight meetings between the two clubs, as Stockton looks to get their offense back on track, in hopes of starting the road trip 1-1. Colorado comes into tonight’s game on a two-game losing streak. Stockton sits in seventh place of the Pacific division with eleven points in thirteen games, while Colorado sits in fourth place in the Pacific with fourteen points.
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
Going to go off the board a little bit, here.
Morgan Klimchuk is playing in his third game in the last five days after missing four straight games due to injury. A less than desirable start for Klimchuk’s fourth season in Stockton, as he just has one goal and three points through nine games. Klimchuk’s role on this team extends far past his ability to score. He is looked at by his teammates and coaching staff as a leader that can play in all situations. That versatile, veteran presence is something for this group to lean on heading into tonight.
The Heat know they have not been playing their best hockey of late with just eight goals in the last four games, yielding to only two of a possible eight points. These two games are pivotal for both Klimchuk and the Heat to try and kickstart their offensive attack and get back to their winning ways.
GET THE POWER PLAY GOING
Stockton’s power play has been the most consistent part of their game to start the 2018-19 campaign. However, the last four games their greatest weapon has been neutralized, going just one for their last 16 attempts. Stockton started the year going 10 for 38, operating at 26.3%. Offense in general has been a struggle over the last four games, but not converting on timely power plays has been the difference in winning and losing games for Stockton.
Following Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Ontario, Cail MacLean stressed the importance of capitalizing on special teams chances, especially early in the hockey game. That will once again be a point of emphasis for this group.
Through thirteen games, Stockton is clearly a team that is much more comfortable playing with a lead. They continue to show they are a tough team to beat when scoring first with a record of 4-1-1. Conversely, Stockton has only earned one win in their seven games when conceding the first goal.
After being shutout in eight games to start his first full season pro, Matthew Phillips finally broke free offensively on Friday night, recording his first point of the season, an assist, on Alan Quine’s opening goal, but followed that up with his first pro goal, which would also stand as his first game winner, in the first period on Friday night.
Phillips had played 215 WHL games in his career and recorded 136 goals and 281 points in his career, so getting his first goal should lead to some boosted confidence going forward.
Although Phillips was held pointless on Sunday, his speed continues to be a big factor for Stockton. In the last two games, Phillips has more shots, seven, than he did in his first eight games of the season.
STICK IT TO CANCER
With this month being Hockey Fights Cancer and the Heat have played their signature cancer event, Stick it To Cancer on November 3. After the game as jerseys were being auctioned off to the fans, the players on the Stockton Heat elected to chip in and bid on Adam Ollas Mattsson’s jersey, who tragically lost his mother to cancer six years ago.
Ollas Mattsson also was able to wear the “A” on his chest during the team’s cancer game, his first time serving as an alternate captain for the Heat.
Dating back to Stockton’s ECHL playing date, the Thunder were 14-20 all-time vs. Colorado. The last meeting between the two clubs was February 15, 2015 and the last meeting in Colorado at the Budweiser Events Center was on January 7, 2015. Another interesting fact is that former Stockton Heat defenseman, Brett Kulak played nine games with the Eagles against the Stockton Thunder that season.
Stockton’s last win vs. Colorado is February 14, 2015. The Heat will look to kick off their eight game season series with the Eagles with a pair of wins in Loveland.