Arena: AT&T Center
Date: March 31, 2018
Time: 5:00 p.m. PST
Broadcast: AHL Live, Spreaker and iHeartRadio at 4:45 p.m. PST
LEADING SCORER: STOCKTON: LW Morgan Klimchuk (59GP 18-18-36)
SAN ANTONIO: LW Andrew Agozzino (66GP 19-20-39)
The Heat continue a big stretch of games, taking to a three-game, seven-day road trip through the Lone Star State with the final meeting against San Antonio at the AT&T Center tonight.
Stockton is chasing the Texas Stars for the fourth and final playoff spot, and were surpassed by the Rampage last night in the standings.
LAST TIME VS. SAN ANTONIO
A couple of early turnovers and mistakes led to the Rampage holding a 4-1 lead on the Heat, but the blue collar Heat squad wouldn’t go off quiet.
Darren Nowick led the charge and helped get the Heat back into the game through his effort and hard work, eventually capping off in two assists that helped get the Heat within one.
However, Stockton couldn’t find the tying goal and would surrender the empty netter in the 5-3 loss.
WHO TO WATCH
You’ve heard Heat Head Coach Ryan Huska say it time and time again, the Heat are at their best when they outwork opposing teams, and last night there was no question that the hardest working man on the ice was none other than Darren Nowick.
Nowick always brings a pep in his step, but last night may have been his best game in a Heat sweater. Sure he picked up a pair of assists, which matched the most points he’s had in a single game in his AHL career, but more importantly, the work ethic he displayed brought his team back from the depths.
Stockton’s second goal resulted entirely because of Nowick’s hard work:
Step 1: Get puck past center ice
Step 2: Dump
Step 3: Chase
Step 4: Win a Puck Battle
Step 5: Find a teammate
It’s hard to see Nowick flying down the ice and playing hard on pucks and not be a member of the Heat and not notice it. No question Nowick brought his team back and tonight, we want to see more of it. When he has his legs moving like last night, there’s not much stopping the California-bred player.
BACK ON THE BOARD BABY
With some of their key offensive threats gone, Stockton needed to get the offense from the entire cast, and for a couple of them, it snapped lengthy goal scoring droughts.
Stockton’s captain, Rod Pelley, scored his second goal this month and third of his season when he struck just moments into the game. Then it’d be Emile Poirier, who snapped a 16-game goalless drought who’d get back on the board before finally Brett Findlay, who’d seventh player on the Heat to record 10 or more goals this season (Mangiapane, Foo, Klimchuk, Shinkaruk, Hrivik and Hathaway).
For Findlay, it was his first goal since February 10, snapping a 10-game stretch without one.
FOOZIE EARNS HIS FIRST CALL
Since the calendar turned to 2018, Spencer Foo has been putting up the offense, having scored 14 goals and 24 of his 37 points in 2018 (64.9% of his entire offensive production).
With his goal on Saturday against Manitoba, Foo became the third rookie in Heat history, and just the seventh rookie player for the Flames AHL affiliate since 2005-06 to record a 20-goal season (Dustin Boyd-27, Mark Jankowski-27, Markus Granlund-25, David Moss-21, David Wolf-20, Andrew Mangiapane-20).
Foo earned his first NHL call-up to Calgary during Thursday’s travel day and is set to follow teammates Andrew Mangiapane, Ryan Lomberg and Morgan Klimchuk to make their NHL debuts for the Flames as AHL call-ups when he suits up in the Battle of Alberta tonight.
PICKING UP A PRO
Yesterday the Heat announced the call up of rookie defenseman Cliff Watson along with veteran forward Brodie Dupont, the captain of the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals for the second straight season and the fifth leading scorer in the ECHL having posted a point in each of his 68 games this season. He is also second in the ECHL with 47 assists.
Dupont has played 385 AHL games with Hartford, Connecticut, Milwaukee, Bakersfield and now could make his Heat debut as early as tonight.
Things have gone well for the Heat against the two teams that call Texas Home. Stockton is a combined 20-6-1-3 all-time against the Rampage and Stars combined, including a 8-4-0-2 while playing on the road in the Lone Star State.