STOCKTON HEAT (11-17-1-0) at MANITOBA MOOSE (14-11-2-1)
3 p.m. MT | 2 p.m. PT | BROADCAST: AHLTV
Points – Adam Ruzicka/Matthew Phillips (21)
Goals – Adam Ruzicka (10)
Points – Nathan Todd (25)
Goals – Jeff Malott (12)
PP – 18-for-98, 18.4% (17th)/PK – 83-for-105, 79.0% (19th)
PP – 21-for-102, 20.6% (9th)/PK – 64-for-79, 81.0% (15th)
1. HEAT INDEX
Sixty minutes is all that remains.
The Stockton Heat will wrap up their 2020-21 regular season on Thursday with a 3 p.m. MT, 2 p.m. PT puck drop at the Bell MTS Iceplex, concluding their nine-game season series with the Moose and 30-game slate.
Stockton looks to bounce back from a 3-1 setback on Tuesday, a game in which the Heat outshot Manitoba for the first time in the season series but were stifled by netminder Eric Comrie, who earned first star honors with 32 stops on the evening.
“The guys battled pretty hard,” said Cail MacLean. “We couldn’t find a way to solve (Eric) Comrie early. But despite being down 2-0 we found a way to stick with it pretty well, gave ourselves a chance at the end. I didn’t like the way we ended up there, but the guys managed their way through some big penalty kills and managed to stay in a tight game. We just couldn’t find that extra one.”
Comrie has since been recalled to the Winnipeg Jets’ taxi squad along with Ville Heinola, Marko Dano, David Gustafsson and Dominic Toninato prior to the series finale Thursday.
2. THIS, THAT, THE OTHER
THIS… The Heat have historically been a strong road team, entering the 2020-21 campaign having winning road records in three consecutive seasons. The 2019-20 edition was the best road team in Heat history with a .667 point percentage and plus-17 goal differential away from home ice. Today, Stockton enters the season finale with an even 9-9-0 record in road games and a 50-50 goal differential. THAT… With playoff format still undetermined, today’s result could potentially carry significant weight should the Canadian Division proceed with a postseason. After Monday’s win, the Heat jumped to fourth in the standings – traditionally a playoff spot – but fell back to fifth following the regulation loss on Tuesday. THE OTHER… Stockton will look to shake out of a tough historical precedent heading into the season finale, the Heat carrying an all-time record of 0-4-1 in the final game of the regular season into today’s contest. In those five games, the Heat have been outscored by a 24-12 margin.
3. PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat – Emilio Pettersen
He’s tied for the Heat team lead with seven points in eight games against Manitoba and he’s found his way onto the score sheet in back-to-back games, most recently with a highlight reel goal against Eric Comrie.
Moose – Cole Perfetti
Another game, another point for Perfetti against the Heat. He’s up to eight points in eight games versus Stockton on the season and has a seven-game scoring streak overall.
4. UPCOMING MILESTONES
- Matthew Phillips is seven points away from 100 in his AHL career
- Adam Ruzicka is two points away from 50 in his AHL career
- Luke Philp is three points away from 50 in his AHL career
“I came in with an open mind. It’s always a big adjustment coming from a different league. I came out of the gate producing offensively, so obviously that was a good confidence boost for me coming to this level. Like any season, you have walls and you have to break out of them. The team’s been on a slump, but all in all, my first year pro went well.” – Mark Simpson on his rookie campaign