The puck (finally) drops again (for real) as the Stockton Heat visit the Bakersfield Condors for the regular season opener! This is the first time the Heat have opened the season on the road. However, last year Stockton and Bakersfield met in the opener back in Stockton, resulting in a 4-1 win for Stockton on home ice, behind big nights from Andrew Mangiapane and Mark Jankowski. Tonight marks a fresh start to the season, but Stockton and Bakersfield are already becoming familiar with one another, as the two clubs split a preseason home and home series, and truthfully throughout rookie camp and main camp, many of these players played against one another as the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.
The Heat are 3-0 on games opening the season having beaten Bakersfield last year 4-1, San Jose during the 2016-17 season 3-2 and the Rockford IceHogs 7-0 in the team’s first ever game during the 2015-16 season.
Watch all the action on AHLTV tonight as it’s FREE to all fans during opening weekend from October 5 through October 8! Be sure to download the new Stockton Heat App and check out the VipR camera as well for a unique and interactive experience!
Want a more social experience watching tonight’s game? Head over to Channel Brewing Co. in Downtown Stockton as the brew pub will be serving up delicious craft beer and pizzas while the Heat take on the Condors on their TV’s at 110 N. San Joaquin Street!
FIRST GOAL SCORERS
In 2015 it was Derek Grant who scored the first ever goal in Stockton Heat history, then in 2016 it was Matt Frattin who put the Heat up for the first time in the season.
Last year, it’d be red-hot Andrew Mangiapane, who would end up winning the CCM/AHL Player of the Month in October, and his point production, and goal production, got the Heat on the board to start the 2017-18 season. Who will add their name to this list tonight?
IT’S PARTY TIME TOMORROW AT STOCKTON ARENA
That’s right, hockey is back at Stockton Arena for the Heat’s home opener tomorrow against the Ontario Reign! Puck drops at 6:00 p.m. but that doesn’t mean you can’t come early and enjoy the fun!
Our Heat Zone pregame party starts at 4:00 p.m. and doors open at 5:00 p.m. There will be live music, DJ’s, award-winning food and interactive games inside and outside of Stockton Arena for the pregame party and in-game entertainment.
- Galvanized Yankees will be playing Heat Zone from 4-5 p.m.
- YC Catering and Classic Dog will be serving food in the Heat Zone!
- Burgess Brothers BBQ will be at the arena serving their award-winning food!
- DJ Marvelous Marvin Williams will be spinning music in the Arena throughout the night!
- Stockton Kings dancers will be here between 5-7 p.m. for photo opportunities with fans!
- Limitless Escape will have their Hot Seat on the concourse for fans to try out!
You can also go to the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel and enjoy the Delta Bistro’s pregame buffet before the game tomorrow!
Inside the Arena, you can try out some of the new concessions from Burgess Brothers and Bella Vista along with food on the Puck Drop Party Deck from the Nacho Cart, Dippin Dots, Totally Nuts and Savor Corner.
Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office, online at ticketmaster.com. To save money when you buy your tickets call/text the Stockton Heat at 209.373.1500 or visit stocktonheat.com/tickets for more information.
Be reminded of SMG Stockton’s new security standards which started last Sunday for the preseason game:
SMG Stockton will be implementing a new security standard at the Stockton Arena. All guests attending an event will be searched and wanded before entry to the Arena as we migrate into Walk Thru Metal Detectors. This new security standard has been implemented for the safety of all guests.
Due to new security standards, SMG Stockton strongly encourages all guests to plan on arriving early and we thank you for you patronage as we work to ensure a safe event environment. For any questions regarding this new policy, please call 209-373-1400.
As a reminder, large bags/purses must be 14” x 14” x 6” or smaller and backpacks and duffle bags are prohibited in the facility. Please visit StocktonLive.com for a detailed list of prohibited items.
LAST TIME VS. BAKERSFIELD
These teams met last Sunday night at Stockton Arena for the Heat’s preseason finale. Tyler Parsons shined for Stockton in the 4-3 loss, stopping 45 of 48 shots. Albeit preseason action, Parsons was tremendous in goal, keeping the game close throughout. Tyler Graovac scored twice in, but in the end Stockton’s took too many penalties late in the game that kept Bakersfield on the offensive for a good portion of the contest, scoring the game winner in the last seconds of the game.
A lot has changed for the Condors since last season as the team only return a handful of players familiar to Heat fans including Mitch Callahan, Braden Christoffer, Josh Currie, Joe Gambardella, David Gust, Keegan Lowe, Brad Malone, Evan Polei, Patrick Russell and Ryan Stanton.
With so many new faces on the Edmonton Oilers farm team, they’ll want to make a good impression on new Condors Head Coach Jay Woodcroft, just as the new faces on the Heat will want to leave a lasting impression on the Heat’s new bench boss, Cail MacLean.
WHO TO WATCH
There are almost too many names to choose from with so much roster turnover this year, but we will go a little off the board for this one. Not necessarily a name that will jump off the page, but maybe it should. 25-year-old forward, Tyler Graovac is a solid addition to the Heat’s depth down the middle. Known for his 200-foot, defensive game, Graovac showed he can light the lamp as well, scoring twice in Sunday’s preseason game.
“I wanted to show was my offensive side. I’m not just that third/fourth defensive center and I want to show everything I have,” said Graovac following his two-goal effort.
Graovac spent last season in the Capitals organization, playing in five games with the big club. With their farmhand, the Hershey Bears, he recorded 29 points in 53 games. That steady production out of a big, mature forward will be a welcomed addition to a talented group of forwards up top for the Heat.
COUPLE MILESTONES ACHIEVED TONIGHT
There could be a number of milestones achieved tonight by the Stockton Heat assuming these players are dressed for the opening night game.
Glenn Gawdin would be suiting up in his first pro game while Alan Quine would be playing in his 200thAHL game tonight. Rasmus Andersson is just 1 assist from 50 in his AHL career while Andrew O’Brien is just 1 point away from 50 in his AHL career while Kerby Rychel is 1 assist away from having 100 in his AHL career.
Finally, it’ll be Heat Head Coach Cail MacLean’s first game as a bench boss in the AHL.
Jon Gillies will begin his fourth season in Stockton with hopes of earning a full-time spot up in Calgary. Gillies is knocking on the door with the big club and will be eager to get the season underway, fully aware that eyes will be focused in on him to start the season.
Gillies, however, should have some competition in goal with highly touted prospect, Tyler Parsons. The 21-year-old goalie has high expectations for himself and Heat fans could be in for a fun year if Sunday’s preseason game is any indication. Parsons stopped 45 of 48 shots in the preseason finale and arguably looked his most confident in any pro start.
Over the year, Heat fans have been accustomed to a goaltending battle between Gillies and Flames’ backup David Rittich. Now enters Tyler Parsons, proving the strong organizational goaltending depth.
Keeping the Gillies theme going, should he get the nod tonight in net, did you know Jon Gillies is the ONLY goalie to ever play an opening night game for the Stockton Heat?
That’s right, Gillies was in the crease in his first ever pro game back in 2015 where he’d pick up a 19 save shutout over Rockford, stop 28 of 30 in 2016 en route to the win over San Jose, then it was a 41 of 42 save performance that lifted the Heat over Bakersfield during last season’s home opener.