Arena: Citizens Business Bank Arena
Date: April 13, 2018
Time: 7:00 p.m. PST
Broadcast: AHL Live, Spreaker and iHeartRadio at 6:45 p.m.
LEADING SCORER: STOCKTON: LW Morgan Klimchuk (62GP 19-21-40)
ONTARIO: LW Michael Mersch (63GP 21-27-48)
Stockton looks to keep their playoff hopes alive as they play their final road game of the season against the Ontario Reign, which also completes the season series between the clubs. Stockton won their first game over Ontario on Wednesday, their first win over Ontario since March 1, 2017.
Catch all the action live on AHL Live by purchasing the single-game feed for just $7.99 and don’t forget to get your tickets for tomorrow’s Fan Appreciation Night at Stockton Arena. Fans can purchase our Final Four Pack, featuring four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and four Heat hats for just $44!
Purchase your seats and cheer on the Heat by visiting stocktonheat.com/finalfourpack.
LAST TIME VS. ONTARIO
After both teams scored 2-goals in under 60 seconds, Ryan Lomberg gave the Heat the lead heading into the second period and in the second the Heat added three goals, including a power-play and shorthanded marker, to take a 6-2 lead into the dressing room. Ontario got one final tally in the third period but that’s as close as the game got in Stockton’s 6-3 win.
WHO TO WATCH
Weeks ago, Heat Head Coach Ryan Huska said this time of the season is where you see guys raise their levels, or fade away. It wasn’t looking good for Emile Poirier weeks ago, as he was healthy scratched for two games on March 24 and 28, watching his team win on the 24th but falling big to Cleveland on the 28th. The message to the longtime member of the Flames organization? We need you to bring everything you got.
Poirier has really elevated his game, noticeable every game, not only on the scoresheet, but also with his speed, his tenacity, his physicality, and his play with an edge.
He’s a matchup problem for every defender in the league when he’s at his best, and in his last six games, recording 2 goals and adding 5 assists for 7 points since having to watch from the press box.
Of his seven games, two of them, including the last one, have been multi-point efforts for the Stockton Heat, and we think Poirier and his recent form continue tonight.
With bigger, slower defenseman on the Reign, look for Poirier to flex that patented speed in an attempt to get the Heat the win they desperately need tonight.
RAISING THEIR GAME
Despite returning Jon Gillies, Rasmus Andersson, Spencer Foo and Cody Goloubef on Wednesday, it was still the line of Emile Poirier, Mike McMurtry and Ryan Lomberg that stole the headlines, as they have in their last stretch.
All three players ended up with multi-point efforts and increased their respective point streaks (Lomberg- 3, Poirier-4, McMurtry-4).
Lomberg recorded his first career three-point night on Wednesday (2-1-3) and is 4-3-7 in his last five games. Centerman Mike McMurtry is 3-5-8 in his last six games and as mentioned above, after being a healthy scratch on March 24 & 28, Poirier is now 2-5-7 in his last six games.
WHAT’S THE SITCH
There are only two ways that the Stockton Heat can grab hold of the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division. First off, the San Diego Gulls must lose both games they have remaining (Fri/Sat @ TUC) in regulation.
Stockton must also win both of their games remaining (Fri. @ ONT, Sat. vs. SJ). Should they win all their games in regulation or overtime, the Heat would have 33 Regulation/OT Wins (ROW) to San Diego’s 32 ROW.
Stockton can still get in even if one game goes to a shootout as the team would go ahead of San Diego on the second tie breaker with a better record against SD (5-2-0-1) then the Gulls have posted against the Heat (3-4-0-1) this season.
FOOZIE EARNS HIS FIRST CALL, SCORES HIS FIRST GOAL
Since the calendar turned to 2018, Spencer Foo has been putting up the offense, having scored 14 goals and 25 of his 38 points in 2018 (65.8% of his entire offensive production).
With his goal on March 24 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 and made his NHL Debut on March 31 against his hometown team, the Edmonton Oilers at the Saddledome, following teammates Andrew Mangiapane, Ryan Lomberg and Morgan Klimchuk as Heat players to make their NHL debuts for the Flames as AHL call-ups this season.
He then tallied his first two NHL goals in his last two NHL games to end the season.
Stockton’s road portion of the schedule comes to a close tonight, and for the first time in team history, the team will be assured a winning record on the road for the first time. After starting play in the Pacific with a 10-21-1-2 record on the road and followed that up with a slightly improved, 13-17-3-1 road record.
This season through 33 road games so far, Stockton has posted a 17-12-2-2, ensuring themselves their first winning record away from home all-time.