STOCKTON HEAT (1-0-1-0) at SAN DIEGO GULLS (and 0-1-0-0)
7 p.m. PST | Broadcast: AHLTV, Spreaker, Fox Sports Radio 1280
Goals – Justin Kirkland/Walker Duehr/Jakob Pelletier (1)
Points – Adam Ruzicka (2)
Goals – Jacob Perreault/Vinni Lettieri (1)
Points – 6 Players (1)
PP – 1-for-4, 25.0% (t-11th)/PK – 5-for-6, 83.3% (t-10th)
PP – 1-for-2, 50.0% (1st)/PK – 2-for-4, 50.0% (31st)
1. HEAT INDEX
Let’s take this show on the road. The Heat, coming off a successful opening weekend that saw Stockton earn three of a possible four points against Tucson, head south to San Diego for a Friday night tilt at Pechanga Arena. Stockton comes in with a bit of a different look as captain Byron Froese and 2019-20 AHL All-Star Glenn Gawdin could be set to join the mix, adding to an already-potent forward group.
Stockton looks to continue its strong run in America’s Finest City, the Heat entering Pechanga Arena with an all-time mark of 12-8-0-3 on Gulls home ice.
2. THIS, THAT, THE OTHER
THIS… Ahead of the weekend, the Heat announced a leadership group consisting of captain Byron Froese and alternates Kevin Gravel and Matthew Phillips. Froese, in his third year with the Heat, has worn the C in every game he’s played with Stockton. Gravel is in his first year within the Flames organization but has more than 300 professional games on his tab, including 109 in the NHL, and Phillips is in his second year with an A. THAT… Tonight’s game will be the second time that Stockton has been San Diego’s opponent in the Gulls’ home opener, last coming in the 2019-20 season when the Heat spoiled the party with a 5-1 road win on October 18, 2019. Froese paced the Heat with a pair of goals while defenseman Zac Leslie and forwards Dillon Dube and Alan Quine also notched multi-point efforts. THE OTHER… Adam Ruzicka picked up where he left off from a year ago, the Slovakian centerman notching Stockton’s first multi-point effort of the season with two assists in Saturday’s win. Ruzicka, who in a small sample this season is at a point-per-game, led the Heat alongside Phillips with 21 points in 2020-21. With his two apples Saturday, Ruzicka hit 50 career AHL points.
3. PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat – Byron Froese
Froese feasted on San Diego in his first season in Stockton, finishing the season series in the shortened campaign with eight points (4g, 4a) in eight contests. While he did not factor into either of Stockton’s first two games of the season, he’ll look to make an instant impact.
Gulls – Buddy Robinson
A familiar face in Stockton, Robinson is in his first season within the Ducks organization. The big-bodied forward spent the entirety of 2020-21 with the Calgary Flames, and he posted 74 points with 32 goals in 110 games in a Heat sweater in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
4. MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- Byron Froese can reach 100 career AHL goals (currently 99)
- Glenn Gawdin can reach 100 career AHL points (currently 98)
- Luke Philp can reach 50 career AHL points (currently 49)
“It’s exciting that we get an opportunity to get on the road as a group. When you get on the road, you get to spend a lot of time with each other. Going into San Diego, it’s their home opener. It’ll be a raucous environment from what I hear. It’ll be a great challenge for our team.” – Mitch Love on Stockton’s first road game