STOCKTON HEAT (5-0-1-0) vs ABBOTSFORD CANUCKS (3-2-2-0)
7 p.m. PST | Broadcast: AHLTV, Spreaker, Fox Sports Stockton 1280
Goals – Adam Ruzicka (6)
Points – Adam Ruzicka (10)
Goals – Sheldon Dries (5)
Points – Sheldon Dries/Sheldon Rempal (7)
PP – 5-for-20, 25.0% (t-5th)/PK – 19-for-23, 82.6% (13th)
PP – 5-for-25, 20.0% (t-13th)/PK – 27-for-34, 79.4% (17th)
1. HEAT INDEX
The Heat is on, and it’s cranked up to high with Stockton riding a five-game win streak into Friday’s tilt against the Abbotsford Canucks, the first-ever meeting between the teams. Stockton comes in a rested team, having played only four games over the past two weeks, most recently with a pair of victories, a 6-3 win over the Colorado Eagles and on Saturday and a 4-1 victory Wednesday at San Jose. Adam Ruzicka has paced the Heat with a pair of three-point efforts, a hat trick against Colorado followed by a two-goal, one-assist outing in the midweek tilt against the Barracuda.
2. THIS, THAT, THE OTHER
THIS… It’s been 2,393 days since the AHL affiliates of the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks last met, with current Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom playing between the pipes for Utica on April 18, 2015. Tonight’s game is the first of eight meetings between the Heat and Canucks this season. THAT… Never too high, never too low, Glenn Gawdin has supplied a steady presence for Stockton since breaking into the AHL in the 2018-19 season. Since coming down from Calgary early in the campaign, Gawdin has been steady as can be – with six assists in four games, at least one in every game. The centerman has recently helped spark Luke Philp’s scoring with a pair of primary assists, perfect feeds to set up tap-ins for Philp in the past two games. THE OTHER… Don’t look now, but Martin Pospisil has quietly assembled a three-game scoring streak with four points and two goals in the past 180 minutes of hockey. He’s coming off his first multi-point effort of the campaign, with a goal and a helper Wednesday at San Jose. Pospisil was off to a strong start in the 2020-21 season before undergoing season-ending surgery and appears to be finding his stride after the first few games in 2021-22.
3. PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat – Adam Ruzicka
Ruzicka is looking to pull the same trick he did a year ago, when he set a Heat first with four consecutive three-point outings from games three through six. He’s coming off back-to-back three-point efforts and is looking for his third in a row.
Canucks – Sheldon Dries
Abbotsford’s leading scorer is no stranger to seeing Stockton, having skated against the Heat in six games between the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons while he was a member of the Colorado Eagles. He has five points in those meetings, two goals and three assists, and brings a three-game point streak with him into Friday’s tilt.
4. MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- Byron Froese can reach 100 career AHL goals (currently 99)
- Matthew Phillips can reach 100 career AHL points (currently 97)
“I’ve been through this before. The whole team has stayed mentally sharp. We’ve had practices. Even though a game got canceled, we were able to go on the ice as a group and keep that continuity after starting off the season really well. We haven’t missed a beat as far as the layoff. You like to be in that mode where you’re playing (more often), but that hasn’t happened. It’s been a lot of practice time, a lot of development. It’s been good.” – Don Nachbaur on the lighter workload over the past two weeks