STOCKTON HEAT (11-16-1-0) at MANITOBA MOOSE (13-11-2-1)
5 p.m. MT | 4 p.m. PT | BROADCAST: AHLTV
Points – Adam Ruzicka (21)
Goals – Adam Ruzicka (11)
Points – Nathan Todd (24)
Goals – Jeff Malott (12)
PP – 18-for-95, 18.9% (15th)/PK – 80-for-102, 78.4% (21st)
PP – 21-for-99, 21.2% (8th)/PK – 61-for-76, 80.3% (16th)
1. HEAT INDEX
Some wins feel better than others, and for the Stockton Heat, Monday’s game was as cathartic as they come.
The Heat were reeling – losers of five straight – and facing a team who was on the upswing with five consecutive victories, including a pair over the Heat that culminated in a shutout win Saturday.
Two times Stockton fell behind. Two times they answered the bell. Behind a heroic effort from Andrew Shortridge, who made a career-best 38 saves, and a multi-point effort from Adam Ruzicka, the Heat rallied and eventually went on to win the game in a shootout.
“It (does feel) pretty good,” said Cail MacLean following the win. “It’s been a rough stretch for the guys, and coaches included. We’re certainly fired up. It was a bit of a battle to get through it. We had some rough moments tonight, but certainly found a lot of resilience from the guys. We got some big performances from the guys, too. I was really happy with that. Things weren’t going our way and guys found a way to fight back, so that was great.”
2. THIS, THAT, THE OTHER
THIS… The Heat were looking for a better start, and that’s exactly what they got. While the game went 0-0 into the first intermission, they took a good step forward with a 13-10 shot differential in the opening 20 minutes, compared to Manitoba edges in the category of 17-3 on Saturday and 12-4 on Thursday. The strong play helped set the tone in a game that snapped Stockton’s skid. THAT… Stockton has had rock solid goalie play in back-to-back games, with Andrew Shortridge’s 38-stop performance piling onto Garret Sparks and his 43 saves Saturday. For Shortridge, it was his first win in the AHL since December of 2019, and came after he spent nearly two full months on the Heat roster without earning a start. THE OTHER… Looking for a Stockton win over Manitoba? The final score will be a one-goal game. In the Heat’s four wins against the Moose, all have been by one goal, two have come in overtime and one has come in a shootout. It’s a series that, at least for Heat faithful, requires some cardiac fortitude.
3. PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat – Adam Ruzicka
Ruzicka had a great game on Monday, leading the way for Stockton’s comeback as he had a hand in each regulation goal then found the back of the net in the shootout. Stockton is now 6-0-0 on the year when Ruzicka records a multi-point game, and he’ll look to continue his pattern of scoring in streaks when the puck drops Tuesday.
Moose – Cole Perfetti
Perfetti is tied for the Manitoba lead with seven points against Stockton this season, and he’s found his way onto the score sheet in each of the three games of the current series with two goals and three assists.
4. UPCOMING MILESTONES
- Luke Philp is three points away from 50 in his AHL career
- Adam Ruzicka is two points away from 50 in his AHL career
- Matthew Phillips is eight points away from 100 in his AHL career
“It’s nice to get rewarded. We play pretty hard every day. It’s nice to get rewarded with a win. It’s a boost in confidence for the next couple games to ride out the regular season.”– Adam Ruzicka on the win Tuesday