Arena: Raley Field – West Sacramento, CA
Date: December 19, 2015
Time: 4:30 p.m. PST (Doors at 3:30 p.m.)
Broadcast: AHL Live, Spreaker & iHeartRadio beginning at 4:10 p.m. PST
Leading Scorer: STOCKTON: F Freddie Hamilton (20 GP, 6-8-14)
BAKERSFIELD: D Brad Hunt (23GP, 4-16-20)
After a rainy Friday night forced the game to be postponed, the Stockton Heat and Bakersfield Condors will be back at Raley Field in West Sacramento, California tonight at 4:30 p.m. to try on hopefully a drier night in Northern California.
It’s the first time, a minor league hockey game will be played in the middle of a baseball diamond in California.
The team took to the Raley Field ice for the first time two-days ago enjoying a skate that looked to test the ice and get a feel for the new home of the Heat (for the day) before switching gears to a more lighthearted skate that saw the families of the Heat strap on the skates and head out on the ice.
Pageantry aside, an important two points is up for grabs against Bakersfield who look to move up the Pacific Division standings with a win. The Heat will try and pull closer to that .500 mark after falling in two straight contests.
DID YOU HAVE TICKETS AND/OR PAY FOR PARKING ON FRIDAY?
If you had tickets to the game and/or paid for parking and plan on coming in to Saturday’s game at the field, your ticket and parking stubs will be honored tonight at Raley Field.
If you are unable to make the game today, you are entitled to a full refund from your original point of purchase. For people who are unable to make the game tonight who purchased their tickets from the Stockton Heat, feel free to contact us on Monday afternoon when we will return to the offices.
LAST TIME VS. BAKERSFIELD
The two squads met up for a mid-week clash at Stockton Arena on Wednesday night with the Condors getting one-up on the Heat in the first period when Kale Kessy picked up a puck the Heat were unable to keep in the offensive zone, skated down the left wing side and snapped a shot past Joni Ortio to put the Condors up by one.
Later in the second period, it’d be Anton Slepyshev who bursted into the offensive zone and wrapped a shot around the net and past the goalie to put the Condors up by two.
Despite outshooting Bakersfield just over 2 to 1 in the first two periods including a number of Grade-A scoring chances, the Heat didn’t have anything on the scoreboard to show for their efforts.
However it wouldn’t stay that way.
With under five minutes left in the game, Derek Grant scored after finding the loose puck in the crease to put the Heat up on the board and just as Grant has been accustomed to do this season, he put in his second of the night just minutes later on a deflection past goalie Ben Scrivens.
Sadly the comeback effort stalled there though as a late penalty put the Condors on the power play and they too would find a loose puck in the crease and jam it in. Matthew Ford’s late goal gave the road team the 3-2 win.
WATCHING THE WEATHER
While the weather impacted the ability to play the game last night, today, according to the Weather Channel, we should be able to play.
The best chance to see rain at the field today is during the 5 o’clock hour as there’s currently a 70% chance of rain in Sacramento. Before and after that hour it appears to be a 5-15% chance of rain.
As long as a downpour like last night for a lengthy time occurs, tonight’s game should be good to go!
WHO TO WATCH
Certainly the weather is one thing we’ll have to be keeping an eye on tonight but we’re also playing an important hockey game with some great players going on either side. For the Heat, no player is hotter than forward Derek Grant.
Grant once again has sparked the Heat offense near singlehandedly after scoring two goals in the last game against the Condors on Wednesday. His first may have been a dirty, grind-em-out goal in the blue paint, but his second showcased his hand-eye coordination after he deflected a Dustin Stevenson shot home for the tying goal.
This season the talented centerman has been scoring in bunches, leading the team with four multi-goal games.
There was supposed to be 718 days between the last AHL outdoor game and tonight’s contest at Raley Field, but the rain has forced that to 719 days between outdoor contests. The last game occurred at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan on December 30, 2013 between the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Toronto Marlies. Grand Rapids would win that game as the home team with the 4-3 decision.
In the previous seven contests the home team has won four of the contests. In addition, there have been four games that have gone to overtime or the shootout. Most recently it was a December 13, 2013 matchup between the Rochester Americans and Lake Erie Monsters that was decided by the shootout at Frontier Field in Rochester, New York.