STOCKTON HEAT (10-16-1) at MANITOBA MOOSE (13-11-2)
12 p.m. MT | 11 a.m. PT | BROADCAST: AHLTV
Points – Matthew Phillips (20)
Goals – Adam Ruzicka (10)
Points – Nathan Todd (23)
Goals – Jeff Malott (12)
PP – 18-for-94, 19.1% (14th)/PK – 77-for-98, 78.6% (21st)
PP – 20-for-95, 21.1% (8th)/PK – 60-for-75, 80.0% (16th)
1. HEAT INDEX
Digest it and move on.
That’s the task for Stockton after being stifled Saturday against the Manitoba Moose, a contest in which the home team brought the fight to the Heat in a 3-0 shutout. Manitoba outshot Stockton 46-13 on the afternoon in a game that was kept close behind a heroic performance from Garret Sparks between the pipes.
“We ask our guys to compete harder and to make sure we’re playing the right way,” said Cail MacLean. “We have a lot of guys that are competing and they’re falling short, bottom line. As a group we have to own that. In order for us to win, we have to control the play more. It doesn’t mean you’ll control the puck all the time, but you have to make better decisions in where you’re putting the puck in order to put yourself in a position to win it back.”
The Heat now have three games remaining in the regular season, with any play beyond that not guaranteed this season. In a split 3-3 tie on the season set with the Moose, no time like the present to shake out of the slump and string together some wins.
2. THIS, THAT, THE OTHER
THIS… The penalty kill has been a bright spot for the Heat through the first two games in Winnipeg, Stockton going 7-for-8 when down a skater against the dangerous Moose power play that is clicking at 21.1-percent on the year. Stockton’s PK has allowed five goals on 22 chances against Manitoba on the season series but will look to keep improving that figure as the Heat put the clamps down. THAT… How do you Duehr? The rookie forward skated in his second pro game after signing an ELC with the Calgary Flames and led the Heat with three shots on goal in a game in which the Heat were limited to just 13 pucks on net. The winger played alongside Luke Philp and Matthew Phillips, two of Stockton’s top three scorers on the season. THE OTHER… Saturday’s game was Cail MacLean’s 150th as head coach of the Stockton Heat. The bench boss, who has graduated players such as Andrew Mangiapane, Dillon Dube and Juuso Valimaki to the Calgary Flames, has a career record of 71-64-9-6 as head coach of the Heat. MacLean is in his eighth season within the Flames organization, previously serving as an assistant with the Abbotsford Heat, Adirondack Thunder and Stockton Heat before taking his current role.
3. PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat – Alex Gallant
With the play getting a bit chippy on Saturday, that’s right where Alex Gallant thrives. The forward will be skating in his 200th AHL game and will look for a memorable performance in the milestone contest.
Moose – Cole Perfetti
The rookie has had a blistering start to the series with two goals and two assists, and he’s a plus-4 in the past two contests.
4. UPCOMING MILESTONES
- Luke Philp is three points away from 50 in his AHL career
- Matthew Phillips is eight points away from 100 in his AHL career
- Alex Gallant is will play in his 200th AHL game
“We need to keep our composure and we need to realize there’s much more at stake here than guys choose to believe. We need to understand that these three games, no matter how talented a player you’ve been throughout your career, these could be defining moments for people going forward. These could be the last impressions that you’re able to leave on the staff around you. I think it’s just important. It’s important that we play to the best of our own personal abilities as a team. We’ll have more success and more joy by focusing less on the result and focusing more on the process these last three games, and I’d like to see us do that.” – Garret Sparks on the last three games of the regular season